Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Higher Education Minister Slams Makerere

Mr. Mwesigwa Rukutana has been Minister of Higher Education for a little over three months, however he has already begun the baiting of Makerere which is a favourite hobby of most NRM politicians. At a conference of African business academics I attended last week he delivered a highly disingenuous speech of which the following are some highlights:
  • Many universities in the Third World countries turn into opposition agents.
  • In Uganda dons attack the government, condemn the government and castigate the government but make very little contribution in terms of policy.
  • Ugandan academics need to come down from the clouds and live here on Earth with us or they will remain irrelevant.
  • When did practical ideas ever emanate from Makerere?
  • Where are the Makerere professors? I only ever hear from Mamdani and Mazrui.
Of course the reality is that there are plenty of ideas coming out of Makerere but they are ignored if they fail to conform to the narrow political agenda of the government. For example Dr Augustus Nwagaba has publicly argued that Uganda's rapid population growth is likely to harm the country's attempts to reduce poverty, which is contrary to the President's position that it is actually a good development for Uganda. There are countless more cases like this.

It would also help if the line minister focused more on getting the university the resources it desperately needs rather than repeatedly criticising the place.

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