The pride of every university is to see off its students in an honorable manner.
Yesterday, Makerere University held her first segment of the 63rd graduation ceremony, with a total of 3,676 graduands from four colleges of - Health Sciences; Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity; Humanities and Social Sciences; and Natural Sciences.
A total of 12,422 candidates are expected to graduate with degrees and diplomas by Friday. Out of this number, 47.1% are female and 52.9% are male. Some 61 former students will graduate with doctorate degrees in the different disciplines, of whom 18% are female and 82% are male.
Speaking at the ceremony yesterday, Vice Chancellor John Ddumba-Ssentamu applauded the graduating students and urged them to use their first degrees as a foundation to achieve more.
"Remember that the degrees you are being awarded are mere foundations on which to build your future," Prof Ddumba-Ssentamu cautioned, adding that one's future performance does not depend on the class of degree alone but innovativeness of the person.
He was, however, worried about the rising student population that does not match the current number of staff members. According to Ddumba-Ssentamu, there is a ban on recruitment of new staff due to budget constraints. For the past six years, the number of academic staff has remained static at 1,400 and this has affected performance amongst all students.
"The staff ratio is unacceptable by all standards. I am appealing to the government to lift the ban on recruitment in Makerere University," he said.
He also appealed to the university community to support the collegiate system to ensure reforms in different academic disciplines. Meanwhile Jessica Alupo, the minister of Education and Sports, encouraged graduates to complement their degrees with vocational skills, if they are to get the necessary jobs.
"The jobs are there but only for the skilled Ugandans," the minister said.