UCU reboots to boost freshmen class in post-pandemic era

By Israel Kisakye
Uganda Christian University (UCU) is the best postsecondary choice in East Africa for its emphasis on character, academics, real-world relevancy and more.  

Under the leadership of UCU Church Relations, that’s the message being delivered to Ugandan secondary schools with an outreach goal to touch roughly 2,000 of the 3,000 sites with an emphasis on those with Anglican Church connections. In the aftermath of Uganda’s Covid-related, education shutdown, it is hoped that visits to church-founded/church-sponsored secondary schools will sway students into applying for courses that the university offers when they complete Senior Six. Because of very few Senior Six graduates due to the shutdown, Ugandan university first-year classes in September 2022 are sparse. 

One recent visit in the UCU post-pandemic reboot was to Kisowera Secondary School in Mukono district. The Rev. Richard Mulindwa, manager, UCU Church Relations, led the team to the school.  

Dinah Grace Nakabuye (left), headmistress of Kisowera Secondary School, during the career guidance sessions at the school.
Dinah Grace Nakabuye (left), headmistress of Kisowera Secondary School, during the career guidance sessions at the school.

“One of our main objectives is to popularize UCU to schools under the Church,” the Church Relations manager said. Mulindwa, a former student of Kisowera Secondary School, where he studied A’level from 2007-2008, used the visit to encourage students to work hard if they want to succeed in their professional life. He added, “With education, you can be everything you want in life.”

During the interaction, a couple university students shared career nuggets of wisdom with the secondary school students.

Ecora Faith Akile, a student of Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Science and Entrepreneurship, shared information on how agricultural production can be improved through innovations, especially to benefit commercial farmers. 

“The days of using a hoe to dig have long ended,” she said.  “Today, there are new innovations in farming that must be used to speed up production.”

The students and teachers of Kisowera told the UCU team that they were honored to have hosted the UCU team.

The Rev. Richard Mulindwa, manager, UCU Church Relations, discusses the value of UCU

Deborah Nantume, the school’s head girl, said the interaction inspired her to work hard so she can meet the academic requirements to pursue her desired course at UCU. 

Dinah Grace Nakabuye, the school’s head teacher, explained that the visit had paved the way for them to know that they are much valued by UCU and also establish a relationship between the two institutions.

Mulindwa said that UCU will engage other secondary schools in a move to inspire more students to join them. 

“We have been to other different church-founded schools, including Makerere College and Mengo Senior School in Kampala; many others will be reached,” Mulindwa said. The Church Relations Office is mandated to link the Province of the Church of Uganda to the university.

The move to drive sensitisation activities in secondary schools comes ahead of the annual UCU Sunday, where each and every congregation in the province receives a representative of UCU who is given time to speak about the university. Congregations are given time and opportunity for prayer and financial support to the university.

On the UCU Sunday, every Anglican church is expected to make financial collections to help in the running of the Church-founded institution. This year’s UCU Sunday will be celebrated on September 25.

Some of the collections that were made at last year’s UCU Sunday went towards the funding of the construction of an apartment section for the ordinands and the clergy who will be resident students at the university. UCU Vice Chancellor Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi said last year that sh400m (about $113,000) had already been secured for the project that is estimated to cost sh1.5b (about $424,000).