Agaba overcomes financial challenges to earn First Class Degree

By Eriah Lule
Tough. Tense. Lucky. Diligent. That is how one would sum up the educational journey of Douglas Agaba, an October 2021 Uganda Christian University (UCU) graduate with a First-Class Degree in Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance.

Agaba, who was among the more than 3,000 graduates at UCU’s 22nd award ceremony on October 22, 2021, attributes hard work as the main factor in his attainment of a 4.5 of 5.0 Cumulative Grade Point Average.  The best student at the graduation, Sore Maureen, obtained 4.78.

While Agaba is jubilant about his success, the 26-year-old had rough patches in his education journey. Agaba was orphaned at an early age, resulting in his move from one relative’s home to another.  He struggled through school. Yet, each time when he was just about to lose hope, luck smiled on him.

For instance, because of his good academic performance, Agaba earned himself a high school sponsor. He attended Kisugu Primary School, Tropical High School and, later, Buloba High School – all these in central Uganda.

As he sat his Senior Six examinations, one thing was clear to Agaba. He would have no sponsor willing to foot the high tuition fees at a university. While working hard on his studies, he looked for a window of government sponsorship for the best students.

When the results of the admission shortlist in the public university – Makerere – were out, Agaba’s name was not among those who were to study on government sponsorship. He was despondent. As he waited for the next move, a retired Ugandan accountant who belonged to Agaba’s church learned of his dilemma.

Catherine Katwe did not hesitate to offer to meet the cost of Agaba’s university education. In 2017, he was admitted at UCU to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance course.

His tenacity, excellent leadership and resourcefulness is lauded by both classmates and teachers. Agaba was a class representative all the three years of his undergraduate study. He occasionally stepped in to hold academic group discussions for his classmates, to break down course units that his fellow students found too tough for them.

Nixon Katusime, Agaba’s former lecturer, credits his former student for being “ambitious and selfless.”

“He used to help me discuss some topics for his colleague students during online studies,” Katusime said.

Agaba’s strong desire to equip himself with all the marketable skills in the accounting field awakened the overwhelming talent in him. In a bid to supplement on his pocket money, Agaba started holding online private tutoring sessions in his field of study and, he says, many students even from other universities to receive his services.

He also engaged in research and filing tax returns for businesspeople at a fee. With the experience he has acquired, Agaba hopes to register a company to carry on with the services he has been offering.

As a student at the university, Agaba created time to teach at a secondary school on a part-time basis. He says much as he earned sh120,000 (about $35) per month, his passion for sharing knowledge kept him on the job.

At one point, Agaba also worked the night -shift at a filling station, a place he believes he learned the virtues of good customer care, self-discipline and willingness to work even in tough conditions.

Agaba believes that the high moral Christian virtues that UCU stands for is responsible for the success of many of its graduates and he has faith that it is just a matter of when he will also be a recipient of that success in his next job after school.