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Makerere university posts record number of doctoral graduands

Some graduands pose for a group photo at the 71st Makerere University graduation ceremony.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  Makerere University has posted a record number of doctoral graduands, with 108 degrees to be conferred during the 71st graduation ceremonies which started today. Out of the said PhD graduates, 38 are female representing 35 per cent while 70 are male. 

Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, the University’s Vice-Chancellor says that over the years, the highest number of PhDs conferred at a single congregation was 75. He, however, is optimistic that the increase  is a positive step towards their objective of transforming Makerere into a research-led university.   

A sizeable number of PhD graduands this year are members of staff at the university mostly supported by partners through bilateral agreements. Nawangwe says that Makerere is looking at increasing the number of students in this category to at least 200 per year after an increase in enrollment currently standing at 600 students.   

Doctoral graduates are an essential part of the knowledge economy. They are involved in vast things including creating fresh knowledge, discovering new things (innovation and invention), and developing new skills not to mention their role in teaching at universities. However, due to shortages of funding for students and institutions; low institutional capacity; diversity and duplication of programmes, and poor quality supervision, many universities are still lagging in producing students at this level.     

Nawangwe equally acknowledges that previously, Makerere could not produce PhD graduates, because it did not have enough manpower to supervise students which at times saw several doctoral candidates taking longer to complete their respective programmes.    

In the same development, a total of 1,160 graduands are bound to receive Masters degrees in different disciplines with over 11000 graduands obtaining undergraduate awards.   

Meanwhile, during graduation, several students have shown their dissatisfaction with the universities’ failure to avail them of their transcript. Nicholas Mutahi who has graduated with a bachelor of science in and petroleum geoscience and production says the delay is costly on many students. Mutahi points out his case has is bound to miss out on a scholarship in China.     

But, the university management says that there weren’t able to produce the transcripts on time due to the effects of COVID-19.  Nawangwe says that much of the required material is imported from the United Kingdom. He, however, adds that in the previous days the university has been able to obtain blanks and printing will soon commence.    

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