Vice Chancellor’s speech on the 30th Graduation Ceremony at MUST

Prof. Celestino Obua
  • The Chancellor, Prof Charles Mark Lwanga Olweny
  • Hon. Dr. Chrysostom Muyingo, State Minister for Higher Education, Representing Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni, Minister of Education and Sports
  • Honorable Ministers
  • Your Excellencies, Members of Diplomatic Corp
  • Dr. Warren Naamara, Chairman of MUST Council
  • Members of MUST Council
  • Hon. Members of Parliament
  • The Executive Director, NCHE
  • Vice Chancellors and Representatives of Sister Universities
  • Deputy Vice Chancellors, MUST
  • Religious, Civic and Local Leaders
  • Members of Senate, MUST
  • Teaching and Non-teaching staff
  • Parents, Guardians and Sponsors
  • Graduands and Students
  • Distinguished Guests
  • Ladies and Gentlemen

I welcome you to Mbarara University of Science and Technology, and especially to the 30th graduation ceremony of the University.

In the same vein, I congratulate you our dear Graduands. Today is your day of celebration, and I thank you for the hard work, a testament and evidence that you have not disappointed your lecturers, parents, and guardians who have come to be part of the ceremony today.

This would not have been possible without the protection and providence of the Almighty God, to whom we give glory and thanks.

Mr. Chancellor Sir, Hon. Minister, we continue to thank The President, H. E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the Minister of Education and Sports, Hon Janet Kataha Museveni, the Education State ministers, the Parliament of Uganda, the entire Government of Uganda and Development Partners for the support and guidance so generously given to MUST. We are especially indebted to Government without whose support MUST would not attain the kind of successes being celebrated today.


As we celebrate today, let us remember our staff and students who passed on during the year:

  • Staff: Mr. Kelly Tumwine – Technician FAST
  • Students: Dr. Rukia Abura – Mmed Anaethesia FoM, and

Ms Naphtali Leila Faith – HEAC FoS

Besides those listed above, some members of staff lost loved ones (parents, children and close relatives). On behalf of the MUST community, I extend our deepest condolences to each and every one of them for the loses. May we take a moment of silence in memory all the deceased! May their souls rest in peace!

University Council

Mr. Chancellor Sir, Hon Minister, on the 1st July 2023, the 8th MUST Council was appointed. We are grateful to the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Hon Janet K. Museveni, who graciously inaugurated the 8th Council at Statehouse Nakasero on 20th September 2023.  May I request Members of Council present to standup for recognition when I call out their names: Dr. Warren Naamara (Chairman), Mrs. Sarah Nyachwo Mwaka (Vice Chairperson and Chairperson Legal, Rules and Privileges), Dr. Stevens Kisaka (Chairman Appointments Board), Mrs. Agatha Achom Mutenyo (Chairperson Finance Planning and Development), Mr. Hannington Ashaba (Chairman Audit and Risk Management), Eng. Denis Galabuzi (Chairman Estates and Works), Haji Muzamil Mukwatampola (Chairperson Students Welfare and Disciplinary). Other members include: Mayor Robert Mugabe Kakyebezi, Dr. Henry Mwebesa, Mrs. Claire Nduhura, Dr. Medard Bitekyerezo (Convocation), Mr. Ambrose Murangira and Mrs. Stella Dusabe Byrugaba (PWD Reps), Prof. Nixon Kamukama and Assoc. Prof. Charles Tushabomwe Kazooba (DVCs), Prof. Grace Kagoro Rugunda and Assoc. Prof. Joseph Ngonzi (Senate representatives), Assoc. Prof. Robert Bitariho and Dr. Pius Ariho (Academic Staff Reps), Mr. Vincent Mkwatapora and Mr. Charles Kakuru (Staff Reps), and Mr. Musa Kiyemba and Ms. Daisy Arinda, (The Guild Reps), and Mr. Melchior Byaruhanga – University Secretary and Secretary to Council, and ofcourse the VC. Thank you very much for the service, guidance and oversight you provide towards the improvement of governance at MUST.

Academic Developments at MUST

Mr. Chancellor Sir, the student admission statistics has been rising since 2014 to nearly double currently. The slight dip in 2022/23 academic year is attributed to when there was no UACE in 2021 occasioned by the pandemic, but still we were able to attract a substantial number of mop-up students. As such, the student numbers have steadily grown from 3681 to 5034.

Mr. Chancellor, keeping a tab on registration numbers is our biggest challenge as students do not register in time except near examinations, however the number of graduating students have progressively risen from 983 in 2014 to now 1470, with substantial PhDs. We should note that the increase in PhDs has been due to active/research funding of PhDs, and are a testament that MUST has potential for growth as a research-led institution.

  1. Enhancement of the University’s eLearning Capacity.

In a bid to increase access to market-responsive education and training, we have embarked on improving the ability to deliver quality online teaching with the aim of decongesting the limited physical lecture space. Under this initiative, the Cyberschool Technology Solutions and Mastercard Foundation are providing material and technical support to the University through:

  • Setting-up of a Regional Digital Content Studio/eLearning Support Centre, with video/audio recording equipment located at the Faculty of Applied Sciences and Technology, Kihumuro; This facility will be commissioned in a few weeks’ time.
  • Training of academic staff in digital pedagogy, instructional design and content development.
  • Provision of affordable computing devices to staff and students. For starter – students with disabilities have already received free assistive computer devices and software, and 10 academic staff have received free laptops to enhance their digital content development processes as a pilot.
  •  Enhancement of network/internet access for staff and students at the university and,
  •  Enhancement of the university’s Learning Management System

Importantly, Cyberschool Technology Solutions has also provided 2 Digital Learning Technical staff to MUST for 3 years, to build the technical expertise of MUST staff in online education.

I thank the Deputy Vice-Chancellor- Academic Affairs and the ICT Services Department for coordinating this initiative.

  1. Industrial training: In order to boost MUST capacity for Industrial Training, we signed several Memoranda of Understanding, in 2023; with the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI), the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT), StartHub Africa, HOWEST Belgium, and the Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA). These MOUs will allow placement of our students during their industrial internships. Furthermore, supported by the UNESCO-China Funds in Trust Project, the Centre for Innovation and Technology Transfer (CITT) in partnership with Faculty of Applied Sciences and Technology (FAST) and Faculty of Computing and Informatics (FCI), organized an annual innovation week for engineering and computing under a theme “Linking the Youth-Led Engineering Innovations with Industry and Labor Market Demands for Increased Employability” from August 07 to 11, 2023. The event aimed at bringing the industry closer to the University and Vise-Versa in responding to the labor market demands for increased graduate employability and addressing the skilling gap.
  1. Students-Community Twinning Project (STP) is a community-based service learning course offered to allow students combine learning goals and community service delivery. The main objective of this program is to create a formidable cadre of graduates with an interdisciplinary mind-set that appreciates and utilizes development resources within their immediate environment that prepares them for working effectively with communities thus ensuring their future employability and self-reliance.
  2. Other developmentsThe University Council in December 2023 approved the establishment of Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) Holdings Limited. The MUST Holdings company goal is to become a business hub that develops, implements, manages and governs all MUST commercial activities so as to generate income for the University through optimization of her resources and assets. The CITT is leading the establishment of the holding company, and to date the name has been reserved, and efforts are being made to register the company.
  3. PartnershipsMr. Chancellor Sir, Hon Minister, in a special way I would like to thank the very many international and national institutions that are partners and collaborators with MUST. I want to believe that we are successful because we all aim for excellence between and within our institutions.MUST endeavors to engage in partnerships that add value to our name and image, and sometimes with organizations that are not necessarily academic institutions. As such MUST has a partnership with a charitable organization, the Lions Clubs International, District 411 B, Uganda, where through the current District Governor, Dr. Stanley K. Bubikire, the partnership aims to put up recreational facilities, establish a hub for medicinal trees for training and research purposes, and greening to mitigate climate change effects at MUST in Kihumuro Campus. Thank Lions Club International.Additionally, we continue to appreciate the partnership between Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) for the annual recognition and award to the best graduating student in accounting. This is perhaps the best motivator for the students to perform well, and hopefully the award translates into ready employment.Prof. Celestino Obua

    University Funding

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Hon Minister, allow me to state that the University continues to experience budget cuts with severe adverse effects to our workplan. We however continue to remind Government, that under these adverse funding conditions, we are severely constrained to fully deliver on our mandate. A fact that is repeatedly highlighted by the Auditor General in his annual audit report.

    We are however hopeful that the Parliamentary Committee on Education and Sports, in a recent meeting to review the 2024/2025 education sector budget, gave a ray of hope to Public Universities that this time round they want to make sure Government does something to improve funding to Public Universities. I thank the Hon Chairperson and Hon members of the committee for these efforts.

    Students’ Guild

    Mr. Chancellor Sir, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize Mr. Musa Kiyemba who is the current and 34th Guild President and his Deputy Ms. Daisy Arinda Kankiriho.

    I congratulate you Mr. Kiyemba and Ms. Arinda, and your entire Cabinet for your leadership and the very cordial and engaging relationship with the University Management. Thank you.


    Appreciation – Parents, Guardians and Sponsors

    Mr. Chancellor Sir, I would like to thank all the sponsors and funding agencies for the support provided to our students especially to the graduating class of today. Your generosity has made a difference to the lives of these young people soon to be graduates.

    To our dear parents/guardians, thank you for the sacrifices you have made towards the success of today’s graduands. Thank you for believing in MUST, an institution where success is not an option but “A MUST”.

    Mr. Chancellor Sir and Hon. Minster, in celebrating the graduation of the students we implicitly celebrate the hard work done by our lecturers and staff. To the Teachers, we appreciate your dedication in mentoring these young people in to better citizens. I thank you all.

    MUST Graduates 2024To the Graduands

    To the graduating class, once again congratulations to you. You have done us and yourselves proud by completing you study cycle in time. We now wish you well in the real world of work. Stay safe, put God in your plans and all will be well.

    Once again congratulations and thank you for listening to me.


    Prof. Obua introduces Mrs. Obua
    Prof. Obua introduces Mrs. Obua

    God Bless us all!

    Succeed we MUST!