President Museveni on Saturday attended the 18th graduation ceremony of Kampala International University at its main campus in Kansanga, Kampala.
Museveni who started by congratulating all the graduands on this key milestone in their professional lives revealed that then the NRM government got to power, Makerere University, the only public university then, was admitting 1,000 freshers annually citing that these intakes were tied to government sponsorship.
“He said in one year, 11,000 students had minimum university entry qualification but Makerere took only 1,000. I wondered where the other 10,000 would go. They missed out because of a narrow formula. That is when I decided to root for private universities. When Idi Amin was still in government, he wanted to start an Islamic university. When we kicked him out, I was in the cabinet of Prof Yusuf Lule, where everyone was saying we did not need an Islamic university.” He said.
Museveni further narrated that in 1986, after NRM got power, he raised the issue. Again, the same sentiments came up. But was reasoned that Muslims were part of our society citing that learnt that admission would be on merit and non-discriminatory.
“I then made the decision that we allow the Islamic University in Uganda to operate. I even offered them Nkoma SS in Mbale as a starting facility. Once Muslims started, then Catholics came. I gave them Nkozi TTC, and they started the Uganda Martyrs University. Shortly after, the Church of Uganda also came, starting the Uganda Christian University in Mukono. Then Basajjabalaba also came, saying he wanted to start a university.” Museveni narrated.
He however emphasised the meeting of the minimum set standards citing that all universities must adhere to and satisfy standards set by the regulator, the National Council of Higher Education.
“For those running universities, know that we shall assess the success of your institution by employability of your graduates. If your graduates just walk the streets, then you would have failed. If they cannot get jobs then they must be able to be entrepreneurs.” He added.
Museveni climaxed “I must commend Mr Hassan Basajjabalaba, the proprietor of this university. He has multiplied his talents. He is generally restless, always trying out something new. Sometimes he fails, at times he succeeds. He is a good entrepreneurial example for young people.
Again, I congratulate the graduands and I urge you to listen to the counsel of your vice chancellor. He said, keep alive. Be disciplined and do not get ruined by alcohol, sex, food, etc.”