BY TIMOTHY MURUNGI
Uganda Christian University (UCU) on March 4 passed out Uganda’s first petroleum graduates in Masters of Oil and Gas.
Four people graduated with Masters of Business Administration in Oil and Gas Management. These were: Walter Gachau, Emmanuel Katufu, Robert Namanya and Celestine Nkabalema.
The others, who acquired their Masters of Law in Oil and Gas, are: Adellah Agaba, Bruce Atwijukire, Moses Nkengi Oscar and Richard Okallany. The eight were part of the 494 graduates at the university’s fifth phase the 16th graduation ceremony at UCU recreational grounds, Mukono.
The Minister of State for Minerals, Peter Lokeris, who was among the guests, commended the country’s first ‘managers’ of the oil and gas sector.
“People are beginning to appreciate and get involved in the oil and gas sector. Now in some areas we have our own people; geo scientists, miners, and now the managers are coming up,” he said.
He added that the government would reserve positions in the National Oil Company and Petroleum Authority for Ugandan professionals.
“We have been depending on foreigners. Soon we will be depending on our own people. When the national oil company takes off, these are the people we shall employ. And even in the petroleum authority, these are the people who will be there to give advice,” he said.
The graduates were the pioneer class of oil and gas courses, which were introduced at UCU in 2014.
Dr John Senyonyi, UCU’s Vice Chancellor, said the first batch of students doing master’s in oil and gas studies was in conjunction with the Institute of Petroleum Studies, Kampala (IPSK).
The guest of honour at the graduation ceremony, bishop John Charles Odurkami, implored graduates to be mindful of the times with high unemployment and a graduate-saturated Uganda – not to waste too much time searching for jobs. He instead challenged them to be creative.
“Do not waste the knowledge you have acquired. This knowledge should be translated into tangible goals and so use it as effectively as possible to do something for yourself,” he advised.
Odurkami, who paid tribute to Bishop Tucker School of Divinity and Theology for training him, called on the graduates to remember supporting the university.
He asked parents not to “immediately terminate” support gto the graduates, but carry on with them for a little while as they find their feet after graduation”.
Dr Senyonyi counseled the graduates to not only tame their ambition, but also work hard, patiently. “Young graduates who seek to amass wealth in a short time usually sell their soul to the devil first. Be hard working and conscientious. It is better to start small with integrity than to prosper through wicked wealth,” he added.
Eight graduates were recognised for achieving first class degrees, the highest level of academic excellence at the university degree level.
Uganda Christian University (UCU) is organizing the first-ever pre-campus summer camp. The four-day event is aimed at preparing senior six vacationists for life at campus. The camp is being organized by the Communications and Marketing office.
Speaking to The Standard about the event, the Deputy Vice Chancellor for development and external relations, Mr. David Mugawe, said this was an innovation that will not only market the university, but contribute to society.
“Many of these students have spent much of their student life in highly controlled environments,” he said.
Topics to be discussed include dealing with senior six results, which will focus on helping students discover the various options they can pursue with their Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education, dealing with the transition from secondary school to campus life as well as relationship advice.
Other topics will include time management, which will help participants learn how to plan their time at university as well as faith matters.
“This will be a very hands-on camp, and students will hear from lecturers from various faculties, career counselors and professionals,” Ganzi Isharaza, the Communications and Marketing Manager said.
Brac Uganda has already confirmed the participation of some of the students it sponsors while other organizations such as Watoto have been contacted.
“We are aiming for about 300 students this time round as we grow,” Isharaza said.
The fee has been set at Shs150,000 and will cater for participants’ meals, accommodation, activities, speakers and other logistical expenses.
The camp will start on Thursday, April 28 and end on Sunday, May 1.
UCU finishes 6th at CFA competition