Makerere at 100: Museveni emphasizes need to focus on science
Thousands of people have today gathered at Makerere University to celebrate the institution’s 100 years of existence.
The centenary celebrations have been held under the theme: “Leveraging the 100 Years of Excellence in Building a Transformed Society“
Established in 1922 with only 14 students, Makerere has over the years grown to become one of the most prestigious Universities in Africa and around the World.
Speaking at the event, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the Vice Chancellor, said that nobody would have predicted that something that began with 14 bare feet students in grass thatched huts would evolve into what we have today.
“I pledge total commitment to Makerere University to ensure that our institution remains on the path to nurturing graduates and producing research responsible for national development,” said Prof Nawangwe.
Speaking at the ceremony, President Museveni who has been the chief guest emphasized his call on Makerere University to focus mainly on science and research to help solve the country’s problems.
The president explained that whereas other continents have made great strides towards development, African has remained behind because of failure to embrace science and technology as a key to growth and development.
“If we are to survive in modern world we must deal with issue of prosperity of society. You can’t be prosperous unless you produce more goods and services of all types and with science, there has been some good progress. With science, we have moved a bit and now going to move more decisively,” said Museveni.
Although he maintains his stance on paying scientists better than their arts counterparts, the president urged their social sciences counterparts to have something to show of their efforts to solve the country’s problems.
“Social scientists and economist should be talking of economic integration. For social scientists, let’s get time and talk .If Makerere has survived 100 years, what has not been done will be done.”
“I congratulate Makerere especially the science branch (for a job well-done). The faculties of medicine, agriculture, engineering, food science and ICT have done well and I encourage you to continue,” said Museveni.
In her speech delivered by the state minister, First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Kataaha Museveni described the attainment of 100 years by Makerere University as historic.
“As we commemorate the significance of the past 100 years, we must leverage the vast experiences to spur national development. We need to restore what has been broken to set new path for future generations. I challenge Makarere to step out of the past and intentionally seek to provide solutions to society’s needs. As government we are committed to supporting you in this endeavor,” said Janet Museveni.
Among the notable Makerere University alumni are several presidents and prime ministers including Joseph Kabila (Democratic Republic of Congo), Julius Nyerere and Benjamin Mkapa (Tanzania), Mwai Kibaki (Kenya), and Milton Obote and Ruhakana Rugunda (Uganda).
Writers such as Ngugi wa Thiong’o from Kenya and David Rubadiri from Malawi, scholars and political activists such as Stella Nyanzi and Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine are also Makerere alumni.