Over 300 candidates who pursued online education under the Makerere and Indian universities agreement have been Awarded Diplomas and Degrees at a colourful ceremony that was held at the College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS).

The ceremony held on 14th April 2023 was presided over by the Principal CoCIS Prof Tonny Oyana on behalf of management and attended by his Deputy Dr Peter Nabende and Dr Kyanda Swaib who represented the Dean School of Computing and Informatics Technology.

In 2018, the Government of Uganda and the Government of India signed an MoU geared towards the implementation of the e-Vidybharati and e-Aarogyabharati (e-VBAB) projects in Uganda. To promote the activities, of this project Makerere University was chosen to serve as a regional centre to advance Tele –education in the East African region.

The current running MoU between Amity University, and  Makerere University College of Computing and Information Sciences was negotiated in the year 2018 and, is renewable after five years while the e-VBAB project MoU was signed in 2019 for five years, and is still running until the end of 2024.

The e-VBAB Network Project set up an e-Learning Centre at the College of Computing and Information Sciences(CoCIS) well equipped for use with a modern video conferencing laboratory with two programmes namely, Amity –Makerere University MoU and the e-Vidybharati and e-Aarogyabharati (e-VBAB) Makerere project.

The primary goal of this partnership was to espouse online teaching and learning as well as offer degree and postgraduate degree programmes at affordable tuition fees rates devoid of functional fees.

Under both the e-VBAB project and the MoU between Amity and Makerere University several students were enrolled on various courses offered by premier Indian universities offering a number of programs including tourism management, French, Business Management, physical science engineering, IT, Financial literacy, Human Resource, Business analytics.

A total of 2,100 students have been enrolled under both   Amity- Makerere MoU and the e-VBAB programmes. Of these, 1346 students were enrolled on 100% scholarship under the e-VBAB project since 2020 to date, spread across 28 Indian universities. Under the Makerere -Amity University MoU, a total of 754 students were admitted under partial scholarships of up to 70% since 2018 across ten intakes.

Another section of graduands posing for a group photo with the college management

Under these MoUs, the college churned out 339 graduates of these, 185 are under the Makerere –Amity University agreement and 154 under the e-VBAB project.

The virtual graduation ceremony for the cohort of students who enrolled on programs offered by the mentioned universities was held for different groups since 2019 in India.  A total of 381 students from Uganda were awarded Master, PGD and Ordinary  Diploma qualifications.

Speaking during the award ceremony Prof. Tonny Oyana thanked the parents and spouses of the candidates for being supportive. He recognised the Indian government and taxpayers for offering scholarships and subsidised education

Prof. Tonny Oyana making his remarks

Prof. Oyana credited members of the faculty, the head CIPSID and the e-Learning coordinator for a job well done.

He told the congregation that the college organised the Degree Award ceremony to celebrate this milestone and academic brilliance.

“Education is not an easy journey. I thank you all for your endurance. Many times when you are beginning it is exciting. When a lecturer announces a test, your heart starts to beat and some people drop off during the process, but you are strong-hearted, the strong-willed and you have endured thank you for staying in the course and that is why we are celebrating here”. He added

The Principal further advised graduands to be kind and loving as they move out of the gates of Makerere and always to remain humble as they advance in their careers.

Prof. Oyana implored parents to motivate their children adding that the celebration starts at nursery school.

Speaking on behalf of the Academic Registrar Makerere University, Prof. Oyana thanked all, for sparing their valuable time to witness the graduation.

The Deputy Principal CoCIS, Dr Peter Nabende congratulated the graduands upon this achievement noting that the degrees attained are just a beginning and that, there was more learning to do.

“Your degrees have come through online learning. It means that already there is a skill you have acquired and take further”

Nabende appreciated the Indian government and all stakeholders for supporting the candidates in their academic journey.

The tele-education coordinator Ronald Mwanje described the day as special not only for the graduates but also for the institutions and the world as a whole.

“We are here to celebrate the achievements of the students who have worked hard over the years to complete their studies successfully. I want to congratulate each and every one of you for your dedication and commitment to your studies, which have brought you to this milestone. Your hard work, perseverance, and determination have paid off, and you can now stand tall, proud of all that you have accomplished”. Mwanje said

The tele-education coordinator Ronald Mwanje speaking

Mwanje also recognized the efforts of the faculty members who have worked tirelessly to support and guide the students throughout their academic journey, noting that their expertise, guidance, and mentorship have been invaluable in shaping the students’ careers and ensuring that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in their chosen fields.

He said the partnership between Amity University and the EVBAB project has been instrumental in providing quality education to the students in Uganda. Since its inception in 2018, the project has aimed to create a sustainable model for higher education delivery in East Africa. The project has collaborated with Makerere University’s CoCIS to provide high-quality education, leveraging technology and modern teaching methods.

Through the EVBAB project, Amity University has been able to share its expertise in online and distance education with students in Uganda, providing them with an opportunity to access quality education that may have been otherwise impossible. This project has also enabled the students to develop global perspectives and enhanced their employability, contributing to the growth of the local and regional economies.

“The partnership between Amity University and Makerere University’s CoCIS has been fruitful, resulting in the successful completion of various programs, including Bachelor’s, Diplomas, Master, and PG Diploma. The students who have completed these programs are well-equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to contribute to their fields and society as a whole”, he stressed

Online education according to the coordinator has revolutionized the method of teaching and learning by making education more accessible, flexible, and cost-effective and also opened up opportunities for students to learn from top universities around the world, regardless of their location, and provided a platform for students to engage with diverse perspectives and

As the e-learning coordinator for this project, Mwanje said he has witnessed first-hand the students’ dedication and hard work in completing their studies, seen them overcome various challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted education worldwide exhibiting resilience, adaptability, and a commitment to their studies, which have enabled them to complete their programs successfully.

“The graduates of today are a testament to the success of the e-VBAB project, the partnership between Amity University and Makerere University’s CoCIS, and the commitment of the students and faculty members. You have worked hard to reach this milestone, and I am confident that you will go on to achieve great things in your careers and personal lives”

“As you graduate today, I want to remind you that your education does not stop here. It is only the beginning of a lifelong journey of learning and personal growth. You have gained knowledge and skills that will serve you well in your chosen fields, but there is still much to learn and achieve. I urge you to continue to seek knowledge, explore new ideas, and be open to opportunities that come your way”. He advised

Graduands advised being Compassionate, Courageous and Creative

Mayonza Bob speaking on behalf of the graduands.

Representing the graduating students, Mayonza Bob reminded students that education is the most powerful weapon that can transform their lives, the communities and the world at large adding that once with great power comes with responsibilities, and they must use their education not only for their benefit but for the benefit of society.

“As we embark on our journey into the world, I urge you to remember these three Cs that is, Compassion, Courage and Creativity. Compassion is the foundation of a just and equitable society. The ability to understand and share the feelings of others and to act with kindness and empathy. In a world that is increasingly divided by politics, religion and ideology, we need more compassion than ever before”, Mayonza advised.

Mayonza described courage as the fuel that drives progress, the willingness to take risks, to speak truth to power and to stand up for what is right even when it is unpopular or difficult. As they navigate the challenges and obstacles that lie ahead, Mayonza implored fellow graduands to remember that courage is not the absence of fear, but, the triumph of it, so they must be brave and courageous.

Creativity according to Mayonza is the engine of motivation, the ability to think outside the box and see things in a new light and imagine a better future. As they embark on their careers, Mayonza advised that whether in business, science, art or any other field, they should remember that creativity is not a gift installed upon the few, but a skill that can be learned and cultivated, so they should be cautious.

“It means creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and respected, where the voiceless are heard and where their contributions are recognised. It means investing in education and training programmes that help individual owners and organisations to stand tall against all odds and representing communities to develop skills of their unprivileged and networks that help nations and communities.”

Mayonza also advised graduands to embrace diversity in all forms and to be agents of change in their communities and workplaces whether they have or are pursuing a career in business, management a degree, or a postgraduate.

Fact File about Mak-Amity-e-VBAB programs

Prof. Buyinza’s speech

Compiled by

Jane Anyango

Principal Communication Officer CoCIS.