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IUEA Urges Gov’t To Provide Uniform Relief Package To All Universities

IUEA wants to focus on technology to deliver superior learning

The Vice Chancellor of the International University of East Africa (IUEA), Dr.Emeka Akaezuwa has called on Government to provide a uniform Covid relief package to all universities whether private or public.

Akaezuwa said that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the need to elevate information infrastructure and make it a national priority to ensure equitable access of education and this can be done by viewing technology as part of that infrastructure.

“With the impact of the pandemic, governments must rethink how they assist educational institutions and in this sense, government cannot make a distinction between public and private universities because universities provide the same things, they train the next generation policy makers and the more the country has sklilled labour and technology, the better the country’s success,” Akaezuwa said.

He made the remarks during the 8th graduation ceremony of IUEA at its  main campus in Kansaga where 517 students graduated,  with 387 of them attaining Bachelors, while 75 graduated with diplomas. 55 students attained their masters degrees.

The University that boosts of students from over 20 nations across Africa intends to cement its footprint in Africa’s education sector by introducing two course: Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Science and Bachelor of Science in Mining and Engineering.

Some of the graduands

Akaezuwa’s call comes at the time Uganda Bankers Association (UBA) recently asked Parliament to compel Government to set aside a USD300m equivalent to Shs1.082Trn to cushion private schools that have been battered by the pandemic.

The Association informed Parliament that the loan portfolio for private schools is around Shs2Trn and of this loan portfolio, Shs557Bn was loaned to schools, Shs594Bn went to teachers of private schools while Shs600Bn was lent to owners of educational commercial buildings like hostels and all these loans have had an interest rate accrue to a tune of Shs126Bn.

The Bankers proposed that if private schools are to open smoothly in January 2022, Government needs to set up an education sector recovery fund where schools that will require 8-15 years to repay back this money.

George Mutekanga, Commissioner Private Schools and Institutions at the Ministry of Education and Sports thanked the University for championing online learning and when the pandemic struck Uganda and education institutions were closed to contain spread of the deadly virus, IUEA transitioned to digital education and called on other institutions to emulate the University.

“We need to go back and re-plan and re-strategise on how best to handle the challenges that are covid. This training should be real on how to manage online lessons, how to get feedback from students,” said Mutekanga.

Ambassador Moses Sebunya, who represented the University Chancellor  Prof. Emmanuel Mutebile urged the graduands to use the skills they have acquired to make the world a better place, and cautioned them to sharpen their independent thinking skills, saying the pandemic has ushered in an era of remote working that requires independent thinking.

“You have been empowered with knowledge to be independent thinkers with innovative and creative minds in order to be able to find solutions to the problems facing the business world. You are encouraged to be able to have your own opinion and stand by it,” said Ssebunya.  

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