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Cuban applicants fail to meet minimum requirements at Kyambogo University

FILE PHOTO: Kyambogo University

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The proposal by Kyambogo University to recruit Cuban lecturers has hit a snag following the failure by ten applicants to meet the minimum requirements.

The University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ely Katunguka – Rwakishaya, says while their plan was to recruit between 10 to 15 Cuban lecturers, none of the applicants had a PhD.

Each of the Cuban professors would earn Shillings 7 million each month like a local professor. Earlier this year, Kyambogo University council entered into an agreement with the Cuban government seeking the importation of Science experts to lecture in the Engineering department.

This was in a bid to improve the academic mobility and the quality of human resource at the university. It was also in line with a requirement by the National Council for Higher Education – NCHE for the university to be able to run graduate programs.

It is this desire to meet NCHE requirements, according to Prof. Katunguka that pushed them to recruit PhD holders. He says they sent out calls in attempt to recruit PhD holders locally but didn’t receive sufficient response prompting Council to advise management to try outside the country.

“One of the areas we looked at was Nigeria and Cuba. So we made a visit to Cuba around February and we came to a conclusion that Cubans were highly trained and competent and we could recruit some especially in areas of science,” Prof. Katunguka said.

Following the visit, Kyambogo entered a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Higher Education in Cuba. Under this arrangement, it was agreed that Kyambogo receives Curriculum Vitae (CVs) of interested professors and both governments agreed on the terms offered to Cubans, an equivalent of what a Uganda University Professor gets.

However, Prof. Katunguka says the University Appointments Board rejected 10 candidates that expressed interest due to lack of PhDs.

Prof. Katunguka says they have contacted Cuba to identify more candidates for consideration.

As per NCHE standards, a university should have at least 60% of its staff as PhD holders and less than 10% is unacceptable. Statistics from Kyambogo show that the university has two full professors and 16 Associate Professors.

According to National Council guidelines, each department in the university should have two full professors and two Associate Professors. Kyambogo establishment has close to 40 departments meaning that close to 80 professors are required if the university is to be fully equipped with human resource necessary for masters and PhD programs.

Despite the streamlining of promotional criteria for professors, Prof. Katunguka contends the institution has not managed to attract them. He has appealed to government to establish a scheme to support students up to PhD level.

In November last year, government vouched for hiring of Cuban medical specialists as an alternative to striking local doctors. The medical workers during their three-week’ strike nade a number of demands including improved salaries, provision of housing and transport allowances.

Kadaga then directed that Kania to appear before Parliament on Tuesday next week with legal documents backing the passport issuance. It came after the Minister requested for more time to appear before Parliament and explain the basis of the passport.

Six aspirants have intensified campaigns to unseat the incumbent Member of Parliament for Katikamu North constituency Abraham Byandala.

The aspirants include Ronald Ndawula, the current LC 5 Chairman Luweero district, Denis Ssekabira former MP Contestant for Nakaseke South Parliamentary seat and Charles Ssebyala former LC 3 Chairperson of Luweero town.

Others are Ssewa Ssali a local businessman, Ronald Kizza Ssenyange and Gaddafi Nasur the National Resistance Movement Youths League chairperson.

The aspirants are in stiff competition to make cash donations to churches, football clubs and other projects to win the hearts of the electorate.

Ndawula has so far injected millions of shillings and personally oversees the construction of seven churches that include St Jude Kyegombwa Catholic church, Balita Lwogi Church of Uganda, Kakinzi COU, Gulama CO U, Kakinzi and Kiyenje Seventh Day Adventist churches among others.

He has also sponsored digging of over 60 fish ponds to promote fish farming, donated tractors to farmers and cash to SACCOs located in Katikamu North among others.

Ndawula says that the incumbent Abraham Byandala has overstayed and is old to lobby for services to the constituents.

Ssekabira has organized fundraising drives to buy street lights, sponsoring electrification and constructing shelters to vendors operating along roadside markets in Luweero.

Ssekabira has on the other hand frequented mosques and other social functions where he makes general contributions as he mobilizes for support.

He was recently arrested by the Police and charged of inciting vendors to settle in ungazetted market in Luweero town. He insists he was fighting for economic rights of the vendors.

Ssebyala says that although he has declared interest to contest, he is not willing to spend money and those involved risk running bankrupt before the general elections.

Ssebyala adds that his election will be based on capacity and past record rather than monetary benefits. He blasted his rivals for commercializing the early campaigns.

Ssali and Nasur the other aspirants are also sponsoring football tournaments whereas Ssenyange has already printed and distributed posters asking people to vote him in 2021.

But Abraham Byandala who joined Parliament in 2006 insists that he will seek re-election in 2021 and the aspirants have no capacity to unseat him.

He, however, blames Ndawula of diverting district resources to one constituency with a view of challenging his legacy of service delivery leaving other parts of the district yearning for services.

Sam Mulwana the Political Assistant of Byandala says that the presence of many aspirants is a blessing to the incumbent.

Some residents are however divided on who to vote with section of them accusing MP Byandala of failing to ensure Luweero town council is elevated to municipal status and Luweero Health Center IV to hospital status.

Edward Mukasa, a resident of Gulama village says that he will vote a leader who has caused development in the community.

Others see the early campaigns as an opportunity to solicit money and services from aspirants.

Joseph Kakooza a resident of Luweero town council says this is only opportunity they can benefit from the aspirants because when elected, they don’t return to constituents.

When Jotham Taremwa the Electoral Commission Spokesperson asked for time to comment on early campaigns.

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