Residents and leaders in Sebei Sub-region have said the establishment of Uganda Christian University (UCU) campus in Kapchorwa Municipality will improve access to higher education and literacy levels.
The campus, located at Sebei Diocese headquarters in Central Division, was launched on June 1 and is scheduled to start classes in September.
The sub-region, which comprises three districts of Kween, Bukwo, and Kapchorwa, has not had any university.
Ms Mary Chebet, the Kapchorwa District inspector of schools, said the establishment of the university is long overdue.
"We have so many of our sons and our daughters who do not have the capacity to study out of the district due to other costs involved," she said.
She said the National Teachers Policy requires teachers to be graduates but many in the sub region had failed to upgrade because most of the universities are far away.
Mr Micheal Kusuro, the vice chairperson Kapchorwa District, said they are happy because the number of graduates in the region will also improve.
"It will impact on our people in various ways but most importantly the numbers of our children enrolling for university courses will improve," he said.
Mr Fred Soyekwo, the Bukwo District councillor, however, said the presence of UCU campus will not deter them from demanding for a government aided university.
"The presence of UCU campus should not take away a right for Sebei to have a public university," he said.
Mr Abdi Chemaswet Fadhil Kisos,MP for Soi county in Kween, reiterated that they are still pursuing an agenda of having a public university in Sebei. "The public university is cheaper but we thank UCU for bringing university education closer to our people,"he said.
However, Mr James Chepkurui, a businessman in Kapchorwa municipality, said the government has long neglected the people of Sebei.
"We should appreciate UCU management for the sightful leadership but we had been ignored by the government," he said.
UCU speaks out
Rev Paul Kiptoo Masaba, the Bishop of Sebei Diocese, said the idea of establishing a UCU campus was first initiated by late Rev Augustine Salimo, who was the inaugural Bishop of Sebei, serving from 1999 to 2015.
"It was the vision of the late Bishop Salimo but it did not happen because UCU Mbale campus then was not a constituent college, so it did not have the mandate to open a campus," he said.
UCU Mbale campus became constituent college in 2018 and the idea of starting up a campus in Sebei was later rejuvenated.
Rev Masaba said the university will focus on, among others, teaching of sports science, tourism, agriculture, hospitality, and public health.
"The niche of our university is sports science because the Sebei region is now a hub for athletes. English is also priority because most of our athletes do not speak English well," he said.