Government through the Ministry of Education has officially taken over the Mountains of the Moon University in Fort Portal.
Parliament in September last year approved a motion for the takeover, four years after the university private administration had written to government to turn the university into a public institution after citing a number of hurdles including the high costs of running the university.
On Thursday, the Ministry of Education signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the board of trustees of the Mountains of the Moon University as one of the finals steps for the official take over by government.
The State Minister for Higher Education, John Chrysostom Muyingo who witnessed the signing ceremony described it as a momentous occasion in the development of higher education in the country.
"This can now be counted among the achievements made by this government. The commencement of full operations as a public university will be on June,1,2022 . This is to enable all the critical remaining processes to be concluded smoothly,"Muyingo said.
He noted that with the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement, the authority of the private university ceases and everything is now taken over by government, including the staff.
"The Mountains of the Moon transition task force will remain as the interim authority to facilitate the constitution of the university council and acquisition of the board status among other. It is stipulated within the MOA that the current staff of the university will be notified of all the arrangements and that they will remain operating under the terms of the existing contracts issued by the private university until they have been validated by the new university council of the public university."
According to the minister, the staff will soon be considered as employees of the public university, adding that gazetting of the institution is to be done by the Attorney General soon.
Underscoring the advantages of taking over the university, Minister Muyingo said government is going to put in place structures to see the university is run well.
"To the people, they now have a public university in their region and will enjoy everything associated with such a privilege. Development will now extend nearer to them and will become faster because government will now come in with a big bang," he said.
The chairman board of trustees for the university, Col Tom Butime hailed government for accepting to take over the privately-owned university.
"The university you are taking over is not an incumbered university. There have not been cases of corruption, no cases of conflict of interest, no cases of influence peddling and sectarianism. You are taking over a clean university and I can assure you that you are going to have a smooth ride,"Butime said.
The chairperson of the university's transition task force, Prof. Dr. Pius Coxwell Achanga said they were among others asked to see if there could be a name change but noted it was recommended for the name to remain.
"My appointment was also to determine whether the name Mountains of the Moon University stands or be altered and we did 75consultative engagements in the entire Rwenzori region. In every discussion, we were told to retain the name. The name will therefore not change," Prof. Dr.Achanga said.