BY MARIA EYORU AND
The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church has suspended the creation of new universities in dioceses.
The Archbishop-elect of the Church of Uganda, Dr Stephen Kazimba, told The Standard in an interview last week that the bishops had agreed that no more universities should be created in that line.
This was in relation to the fact that some dioceses were creating their own universities that were competing with Uganda Christian University, the university of the Province.
Kazimba said: “The discussion required that no more universities are created until the church decides otherwise. These ones that are already in existence will continue running and working together since they are all church-founded. But UCU will be the main one.”
UCU was established by the Province of the Church of Uganda in 1997 and all the dioceses agreed to support the university financially and otherwise. However, overtime, dioceses started creating their own universities such as Ndejje and Bishop Stuart University, which created unnecessary competition for students and other resources among the universities.
Some bishops even started supporting their diocesan universities against UCU.
In the interview, Bishop Kazimba, the next chancellor of UCU, also spoke about the UCU Sunday, the ongoing process of appointing a new vice chancellor to replace Dr John Senyonyi and youth unemployment in Uganda.
About the UCU Sunday, the prelate criticised church leaders, who do not want to surrender the money collected to support the university through the UCU Sunday collection.
“This money is meant to assist the university and when it doesn’t reach, you are failing the university plans,” he said. “When you take money that is not yours, you don’t get blessed.”
The UCU Sunday commemorated annually at the last Sunday of September was initiated by the Church of Uganda to help support and promote the Provincial university. During this Sunday service, all the collections are supposed to be channelled to the UCU. Further more the university’s staff members move around the country creating awareness about the institution.
Recently, however, the outgoing University Chancellor, Stanley Ntagali, said there were churches that had refused to channel the money collected during the UCU Sunday to the university, something that runs counter to the House of Bishops’ ruling.
Kazimba urged the university administration to reconnect with the Church if it is to harness more from the dioceses. “UCU Sunday should not be about collecting money, but also telling people about the university. We want the university to be felt in the churches by the local person. This will allow them know what they are contributing towards,” he said.
On the election of a new vice-chancellor, Kazimba noted that the committee that was set up to spearhead the process had currently narrowed down to a few candidates whose names have already been presented to the Archbishop. Later Dr Aaron Mushengyezi was appointed.
“I hope that whoever is appointed will be guided by the Lord and will be a good leader,” he said.
Kazimba added that he also looks forward to becoming the chancellor of the university and to lead it to further heights in growth while maintaining its Christian values. By policy and law, whoever becomes the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda is automatically the chancellor of UCU.
“I am grateful that God has given me the opportunity to serve in my own university. I am an alumnus of UCU. I would love to see to it that it continues to keep her name by continuing to produce students with integrity,” he said. Bishop Kazimba urged the government to support the private universities in the country.
He observed that private universities rely on tuition fees from the students and donations from the church and other organisations which results in high tuition charges for students.
On unemployment, he promised that as soon as he takes office, he will engage President Yoweri Museveni on how to promote skills development among the youth.