15 January 2013

Uganda: Mukere to Award Sh1 Million to Best Journalism Student

Makerere University is to award sh1m to the best student of the Post Graduate Diploma in Investigative Journalism, a special donor-funded course introduced in 2011.

The course was introduced to improve journalists' analytical and investigative skills following complaints that the quality and number of investigative stories were deteriorating in Ugandan media.

The sh1m ward to each of the best male and female students was promised by Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba when he was still the vice-chancellor.

However, his predecessor, Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu, said it was prudent to fulfill the pledge because such awards encourage hard work among students and improve the quality of graduates.

"I am going to ask my personal assistant to follow up this issue and it should be this week," Ddumba, who promised to carry forward Baryamureeba's programmes at his swearing-in, last year, said.

However, the department of journalism and communication has declined to identify the best student until the graduation day.

The course is sponsored by the Deepening Democracy Programme (DPP) in Uganda to the tune of sh550m.

Some of the pioneer 20 students, who enrolled in 2011, are slated to graduate next week during the university's 64th four-day graduation ceremony. The university is to pass out over 10,000 students this year.

The project offered 50% tuition scholarship for 20 students per annum for two years.

The Vision Group also topped up the tuition fees for four of its journalists while more others enrolled for the second intake this year.

Speaking at the launch of the programme on August 18, 2011, Vision Group Editor-In-Chief Barbra Kaija said the course was timely since most senior journalists were leaving newsrooms for better jobs.

"The journalism profession does not pay (well enough) for journalists to become rich; most have left for greener pastures yet investigative journalism calls for skilled and experienced journalists," she remarked.

The Danish deputy ambassador in Uganda, Henrik Larsen, said the course would strengthen the capacity of journalists to research and communicate in-depth information.

"Investigative journalism is vital for a healthy democracy. it contributes to the watchdog role of the media, holding those in authority to account by exposing wrongdoing and standing up for the public interest," Larsen stated.

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