Career outreach programme bears fruit

How did you get to know about Uganda Christian University? (Graph by Career Development and Placement office)


Eleven percent of the first-year students that joined the university this semester found out about it through the career outreach programmes, a survey carried out by the Uganda Christian University (UCU) Career Development and Placement office at the main campus, Mukono, has said.

The career development office has been conducting outreaches in secondary schools countrywide since 2014. Although none was conducted in 2015, they resumed in 2016 between March and August. The survey was done to find out the impact of the programme.

“From a sample size of 500 first-year students who were asked a series of questions including howtheyfoundoutabout UCU, it shows that the outreaches impacted 56 of the 500 test subjects to come to UCU,” reads the report from the Career Development and Placement Officer, Connie Musisi, in part.

“Career outreach and exhibitions came in fourth place to other sources like friends and relatives, students and staff of UCU; and the media (radio, television and newspapers) respectively,” the survey says.

Ms Musisi informed The Standard that the outreach was a success.

“Given that the careers office has been in place for three years and we have done only two outreaches, the fact that we captured that many students is a bigsuccess for us,” she said.

Mr Alex Taremwa, one ofthecontributorsto the university outreach programme, said that the programme is aimed at improving the corporate social responsibility endeavours of the institution by extending career guidance to students in upper level secondary schools.

“The 2016 outreach ran under the theme ‘Making Hostilic Career Choices’ in different districts around Uganda such as Arua, Koboko, Bushenyi, Mbarara,Kabale,Gulu, Oyam, Lira, Mbale, Kapchwora, among others,” Taremwa said.

Some of the topics covered included drug abuse, sex education, health and hygiene, career development and academics. The Standard has learnt will be launched next topics than the previous that the next session of year. This will be one, in a bid to reach more the outreach programme packaged with more students countrywide.

The place of a great institution in career choice



Have you ever imagined what it would mean to associate with history? Do you even know that attending a great institution or school airlifts one’s status to greater heights in professional practice? How much does the history of the institution you intend to join matter to you?

Let us first take a look at the following facts: the oldest, existing and continually operating educational institution in the world is the University of Karueein, founded in 859 AD in Fez, Morocco. The University of Bologna, Italy, was founded in 1088 and is the oldest one in Europe. The Sumerians had scribal schools or É-Dub-ba soon after 3500BC. In Uganda Makerere is the oldest university, established in 1922. 

Uganda Christian University (UCU) was founded in 1997 by the Anglican Church of Uganda, upgrading from the premier Bishop Tucker Theological College, which was established in 1913 and named after the pioneer missionary Bishop Alfred Robert Tucker.

UCU’s chancellor is the Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali and the vice chancellor, Dr. John Senyonyi. The university was the first private one to be chartered in 2004 by the National Council for Higher Education.

UCU aims at producing graduates with a difference, as reflected in its grand mission of “A complete education for a complete person”.

There is hardly a company or institution that will not prefer a UCU graduate for employment given the opprotunity to choose.

I have traversed the country with the career team offering free career guidance to students in secondary schools as a way for UCU to give back to the community. Throughout these journeys, I was humbled by vibrant alumni that are found holding various offices across the country, serving the nation in their respective capacities.

This is the beauty of selecting UCU as a study institution. Lecturers and tutors go the extra mile in shaping the destiny of learners. 

Learners are equipped with communication skills and critical thinking is a key priority for the UCU teaching staff targets. Above all, the students are prepared to serve the world from a Christian perspective.

There is no doubt that Jesus continues to be the greatest prophet ever. He was so great yet humble in service.

This philosophy is enshrined in the UCU motto, “God the Beginning and the End.” This continues to provide a mirror through which our alumni and staff view and shape themselves in service delivery.

When you study at UCU your life will never be the same again. You will experience a life revolution that will impact your career dream for the better. Furthermore, your spiritual, social, economic as well as political empowerment shall be infinite, watering your life to eternity.

The writer is a lecturer at Foundations Studies Department 

Reaching out to over 100 schools countrywide

Since the beginning of March, Uganda Christian University (UCU) has been conducting free career outreach programmes across the country. The Standard’s ALEX TAREMWA  followed the team and he writes. 

Prim Tumuramye, the UCU public relations officer addressing students at Immaculate Heart Girls School in Rukungiri district. (Photo by Alex Taremwa)

The programme, which kicked off in West Nile, was organised by the Career Development and Placement Office under the theme: “Making Holistic Career Choices.”

Although the outreaches were also geared towards marketing the university, they primarily centred on helping secondary school students shape their career paths through attaining holistic education and guidance. This is part of the university’s efforts to give back to society.

In two months, over 100 schools were visited countrywide. During the visits, emphasis was placed on discipline, academic excellence, scholarship opportunities and the UNEB recently adopted grading system.

Elgon region 

During the month of March, UCU took to Eastern Uganda and traversed the districts of Mbale, Soroti, Kumi, Serere, Kapchorwa, Bududa, Manafwa, Tororo in close collaboration with Mbale University College.

While there the team combed the Elgon region with the vigour of a hungry lion, and covered 54 schools in eight working days.

In Kumi, Soroti and Kapchorwa districts, the team was tasked to explain why the university was hesitant to put a study centre in the districts.

This complaint was often re-echoed by parents and teachers who argued that Mbale was very distant for them to have a convenient work and study arrangement although they would have loved to upgrade.

Mrs Prim Tumuramye, UCU’s public relations officer, acknowledged the need for a study centre, especially in Kapchorwa District, whose geographical location she argued, was unlike Kumi and Soroti, not cost-friendly.

“The Mbale administration should benchmark and consider this very viable option and take advantage of the demand before competition acts faster. There are already three other university campuses in Mbale, a university in Soroti, and Sebei is fertile ground for an institution of higher learning,” she said.

Despite the transportation and weather challenges, the Eastern Uganda outreach covered a wider population area than the rest.

According to Ms Connie Musisi, UCU’s Career Development and Placement officer, some of the districts that were initially mapped for visiting were left out due to scarcity of resources.

“We have not visited Budaka, Kibuku, Amuria, Butaleja due to meagre resources but efforts will be made later to see that these districts are also covered,” she told The Standard .

Ms Musisi cautioned staff members, especially in the academic office, who often drag their feet in dealing with student inquiries and complaints without regard to how far they have come to join the university adding that such reckless use of office should be stopped.

“We get these students from very far and they go through a lot to get to university. They really deserve to be handled with care because they are our primary clients,” she added.

UCU Mbale Campus, which was last year elevated to constituent college status, had been a contentious institution in the Elgon region, with most taking advantage of its new name (Mbale University College), to argue that it was no longer an affiliate of UCU but was now a ‘mere college’.

The author, Alex Taremwa, talking to students at St. Joseph’s Vocational School, Mbarara where he also studied back in 2004. (Photo by Doreen Kajeru)

This was a source of discouragement to many who had plans of joining the campus. This confusion was, however, put to rest by the Academic Registrar, Ms Lillian Gimuguni who appreciated the much needed boost that the main campus offered to resolve the marketing crisis.

Mr John Vianney Ahumuza, a lecturer in the Foundation Studies Department, noted that the number of schools in Eastern Uganda and their enrolment presents a great opportunity for UCU at both Mbale and the main campuses, and this should be exploited.

“You find a school with 2,000; if 500 of them are in Senior Six, even if we tapped only 50 from each school, that would be immense for the university,” he noted.

 Western Uganda 

After the Easter break the team headed off to the western part of Uganda. We pitched camp in the western capital of Mbarara, for two days and visited some of Uganda’s most renowned schools: Mary Hill High School, Mbarara High School, Ntare School, St Joseph’s Vocational School, among others.

Mbarara was cosy and the reception for the team was warm in schools and even warmer after the radio talk show hosted by Vision Radio 89.1 FM. By the morning, the PRO, Ms Tumuramye, had received over 100 phone calls, all inquiring about courses and application letters to join UCU.

Snake in the hotel 

The team proceeded to Bushenyi District where they visited some of the best-performing schools in the region such as St Agnes Girls High School, Plus Two High School, Bweranyangi Girls.

Bushenyi proved tricky in terms of hotel accommodation and lodging as the traditional district from which three more districts were sliced offers little boarding choices.

The first hotel the team checked into was too close to a discotheque – a no-go area for an already exhausted team that was looking forward to much needed sleep. The place we checked out next had enough rooms and was really quiet. When the caretaker opened the door to the first room, Ms Connie Musisi was quick to book it. “I am taking this one,” she shouted.

When the next room was opened, the caretaker was the first to bolt away, screaming like she had seen a leopard. 

The team then ran from the scene as fast as their legs could carry them even though they didn’t know what they were fleeing from.

When I gained the courage to peep into the room, there lay a huge snake on the floor. After that no one was brave enough to stay at the lodge.

Not even I; and so the quest went on until we settled for a fifth class motel before heading off to Rukungiri.

This is Patrick Lugemwa, a lecturer in the Education faculty. Students loved him for the gestures and vigour with which he delivered his talks. Here, he was talking to students at Makobore High School, Rukungiri district.

South Western Uganda 

After spending the day visiting most of the schools on the way to Rukungiri, we arrived into the South Western Uganda town famous as the home of the FDC presidential flag bearer Dr Kiiza Besigye, at around 8 pm.

We settled into a fairly good hotel, grateful that even though it was devoid of warm water, at least it had no snakes resident there.

The team visited Immaculate Heart Girls, St Gerald’s High School, Makobore High School, and Kinyasaano Girls before moving on to the studios of Rukungiri FM where another radio talk show was held.

After munching the goats’ meat that an alumnus was generous enough to provide, the team proceeded to the ‘W’ part of the map of Uganda: Kabale and Kisoro. The weather was surprisingly warm in Kabale and the undulating hills.

The team was boosted by reinforcement from Bishop Barham University College (BBUC), UCU’s first constituent college. In total, 15 schools were visited in Kabale and eight in Kisoro.

It was noted that a lot more schools could have been visited had BBUC’s public relations officer informed them prior as the case was in Arua and Mbale.

 Northern Uganda 

After a few days of much needed rest, the UCU career team took off to the northern Uganda districts of Lira, Oyam, Gulu and Kitgum. Most of these districts had for decades been held back by the war against the Lords’ Resistance Army (LRA) rebels of Joseph Kony and the scars of this war are still visible.

At St Mary’s Girls School in the village of Aboke village in Kole District, 25km west of Lira Municipality, one cannot help but shed a tear and mumble a prayer at the sight of the monument built in remembrance of the over 150 girls the rebels abducted on October 10, 1996.

Although Sister Rachele, the headmistress at the time, and one John Bosco Ocen, followed the rebels into the Gulu bushes and negotiated for the release of 109 of the girls, 30 had initially remained but 25 of them have since returned. Four have been confirmed dead but one is still missing.

The same horrific stories are repeated in Gulu and Kitgum, where Kony’s massacre grounds are said to have been located.

In spite of the experiences, the people have organised themselves, rebuilt their towns, livelihoods and schools. 

In fact, schools like King James and Dr Milton Obote College, St Katherine in Lira, Pope John Paul II, St Joseph’s College Layibi, Sacred Heart Girls in Gulu and Kitgum High School, have all a school enrolment of over 1,500 students.

The countrywide schools outreach was made possible by the highly motivated, dedicated and determined UCU team that comprised: Mr Geoffrey Kirya (driver), Ms Prim Tumuramye (public relations), Mr Patrick Lugemwa (education), Mr Jonah Waiswa, Mr Timothy Tenywa (admissions), Ms Connie Musisi (career development), Mr John Vianney Ahumuza (Foundation Studies), Mr Joseph Omonya (Academics), Mr Rodgers Tayebwa (Civil Engineeering), Ms Annet Musiimenta (Education), Mr. Nicholas Mpairwe (Academics), Doreen Kajeru (The Standard) and the author.

The UCU career team pose for a photo at the sculpture of Sir Samuel Baker, a British explorer after whom Sir Samuel Baker Secondary School, Gulu was named. Baker is credited for abolishing slavery in northern Uganda during the colonial era (Photo by Alex Taremwa)

Their hard work reminded me of what Mr Andrew Mwenda told me late last year that, “the ideal gift to ever give is yourself. It may not seem that expensive or sound very novel, but believe me, it works every time.

It is one of those gifts that has great value but no price tag – it cannot be lost nor will it ever be forgotten.

What if I don’t end up in my dream career?

John Vianney Ahumuza addressing students during an outreach in Western Uganda. (Photo by Alex Taremwa)


The Uganda Christian University career outreach team recently traversed northern Uganda districts such as Lira, Oyam, Gulu, Pader, Kitgum and other neighbouring areas, to guide learners and teachers on making holistic career choices.

As every learner begins the long journey of pursuing your dream career, the subjects offered at O-level define the ladders to be followed in realizing that dream. Then comes two years of A-level pursuit, defined by choice of the selected combination

This stage is very critical in defining a career choice. The way one performs at A-level will usher one into a particular course at a tertiary institution. That decision of course eventually catapults the student into future professional practice and for some that will be their dream career realized.

In short for many, life begins and ends with knowing and realising a dream career. Short of achieving this may result in low output at work, frustration and grumbling.

This semester brings to UCU yet another cohort of new students. To some it is the first step on the journey of their dream career. For others it may be total frustration because they are undertaking a course contrary to their dream.

As a young student, my dream was to become a lawyer. I ensured that the back covers of my primary and secondary school books were decorated with this ambition. But at the end of my A-level, the story changed.

I was admitted to a Bachelors of Arts with Education degree. So I quickly changed my mind to focus on yet another dream of joining the military. In fact I stayed in the hostel an extra three weeks waiting to be recruited.

Every week the reporting dates were postponed. One week later, though I was called to report at home for some urgent assignment, by the time I came back all my friends’ phones were off and the rooms closed. I had missed recruitment (both my friends are captains in the air force now).

It is then that I realised that God wanted me to serve him the biblical Jonah way. I have since devoted my life to the teaching profession. This is a calling I do wholeheartedly. I am sometimes convinced that God inspires us to our dream career.

D e t e r m i n a t i o n , good performance and discipline are key. Remember, at university level degrees are classified according to performance. This is not different from shortlisting candidates for interviews!

My advice to new students is that your life is bigger than your imagination; follow your dream and live it.

The writer is a lecturer in the Foundation Studies Department

UCU combs West Nile in Career outreach

Vianney Ahumuza speaking to students of St.Joseph’s College Ombachi in Arua


Arua District in West Nile sub-region is home to Uganda Christian University (UCU)’s study centre started as a rural trade School in 1959 by the African Inland Mission at Ringili.

Later in 1960s, the school became a Lugbara language lay readers training college, before graduating into a priests ordination centre in 1978.

For 25 years, the institution, then called St Paul’s Theological College, trained Anglican Church leaders until 2003 when it was elevated to a university campus, admitting students for degree and diploma programmes in several fields.

Some of its 800 students study at Mvara Mission in Arua Municipality due to a shortage of facilities at the main campus.

In light of this development, the UCU Career Development and Placement Office organized, as a way of giving back to the community, a seven-day career outreach programme, targeting mostly secondary schools.

The outreach, done under the theme “Making Holistic Career Choices,” reached out to thousands of students and parents in 27 secondary schools and 12 churches in a bid to awaken the spirit of responsibility in order for the two to make sustainable career choices.

The team, led by Connie Musisi, the university’s career development and placement officer, also combed the sub-region, marketing the university in order to boost the fast falling student admission numbers that UCU and its constituent campuses are currently faced with.

The outreach started on March 6 with a visit to St Andrew’s Church, Jinja, before embarking on the 12-hour journey to Arua.

By midnight, the team was touching down, ready to leave no stone unturned on its mission. The Academic Registrar, Arua Campus, Mr Ambrose Bakwasiibwe, indeed admitted that the enrolment would even have been bigger had there been a marketing strategy for the university in the region.

“If you asked me what this campus and gallant university of ours needs, I would say three things: marketing, marketing, marketing,” he told The Standard .

Indeed, a walk around the campus is ample exemplification of the desperate need for marketing as the classes seemed grossly empty and only four students we found reading in the library. Some students who preferred to speak off the record told in this writer that the university numbers were fast dropping.

In fact, Mr. Mawa Bashir, a parent, told The Standard that because of some alleged management scandals at the campus, he was forced to pull out his daughter from the campus after just one semester.

“It was a very serious issue. It was the talk of town and I knew that it was not good academically for my daughter. So I had to find her another university,” he explained.

During a talk show on Radio Pacis, the host asked one of the panelists to explain the alleged corruption scandal but since most of the team members from the main campus did not know much about the said scandal, the answers were not as absolute.

Mr John Vianney Ahumuza, a lecturer from the Foundations Department, a member of the team, told The Standard that the marketing and communications office should come out and clean the seemingly tainted university image in the area.

That notwithstanding, the outreach which stretched to three districts of Arua, Koboko and Maracha started out successfully at St Joseph’s College, Ombaci, a boys school on the outskirts of Arua town.

Other popular schools visited included Muni Girls Secondary School, Mvara Secondary School, Vurra High School at the Congolese-Uganda border and St Charles Lwanga in Koboko.

Throughout the outreach, the speakers who included Connie Musisi, Prim Tumuramye (Public Relations Office), Rodgers Tayebwa (Faculty of Science and Technology), Joseph Omonya (Admissions office), Annet Musiimenta (Education), Gilbert Adrapi (Business Administration Arua Campus) and Alex Taremwa (The Standard), explained to the students the need for a purpose driven life and how best they can achieve it.

The students were challenged to think critically about where they were coming from, where they were and where they needed to go next.

Other key points like discipline, the fear of the Lord, the need to revive a competitive reading culture were also tackled.

At most of the schools, the head teachers appreciated the outreach, some even extending invitations to the university to come back.

The students similarly expressed keen interest in UCU courses and asked particularly about the requirements for enrolment, the intakes, the scholarship opportunities and most importantly, the tuition fees that most feared as too high.

“The university has the obligation to reduce unemployment and provide skills training for future responsible citizens,” Rev. Fanuel Onzima, the vicar and archdeacon of St. Phillips Church of Uganda who also is the acting director of Arua Campus, told a congregation during an early morning service.

The country-wide career outreach programme is the precursor of the UCU Open Days that will be held on June 24 at the main campus for Mukono and Kampala campuses, July 8 for Bishop Barham University College, Kabale and July 15 the for Arua campus. Mbale University College will have theirs on July 22.