Sunday, 15 June 2008

Summer Break

I am now back in the UK until August. I will resume posting blogs about life at Makerere University then. 

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

New Vision: Why would a British student choose to study at Makerere?

The New Vision got in touch asking for an interview for their education section and this is the result. It is basically the same content which appeared on the BBC World Service/Website. Below is an extract and you find the full version online here:

"Every year, thousands of African students leave for western universities, but it is not a one-way traffic. Arthur Baguma writes...

JAMES Taylor, 25, had the leeway to go to a university anywhere in the world, when a scholarship opportunity came his way. The Canadian had up to five choices. “My first choice was Makerere,” he says, before adding “It could have been Oxford or Cambridge, but Makerere stood out as offering the experience I was looking for.” Taylor lives in an apartment in Kamwokya, a Kampala suburb. He says his passion to see a different perspective of international development led him to Uganda. “There are people back home who speak authoritatively about countries they have never been to. That to me is wrong, which is why I came here to be able to understand issues on the ground. When I go back I will be talking from an informed view,” Taylor, a student of International Relations and Diplomatic studies, explains, . Taylor is among the international students pursuing different studies at Makerere University. He is the minister of Information and Public Relations of the Council of Graduate students at Makerere. “Some of the teachers I have are the best I have had in the history of my education. I wanted to study somewhere with rich culture and history,” Taylor says.

Joe Powell, a 23-year-old student pursuing a master’s degree in International Relations, echoes these views. Instead of choosing a university at home in the UK, he came to Uganda. He says he will consider taking up a job opportunity in Uganda after his course. “I came here because I like the reputation of Makerere. Despite its problems, the university is still held in high esteem internationally,” he explained. “Life here is totally different from anything I would get in the UK,” Powell explained in an interview. This trend is a silver lining on the problems that have dogged the university. There is congestion in the lecture rooms. In halls of residence, rooms that were designed for two occupants accommodate more than three. But despite this, students from the West are forking out about twice the fees their local counterparts pay to study at the university. Foreign students pay up to $4,000 (about sh6.6m) per year..."