SOROTI: Soroti University, which has just installed Prof. Francis Omaswa as its Chancellor, is struggling to operate amidst funding gaps that have delayed the commencement of some planned academic programmes.
The university is currently running only three out of seven accredited academic programmes. The academic programmes currently running are Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery, Bachelor of Nursing Science, and Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics and Computer Engineering.
However, four other academic programs were accredited but not offered due to space constraints: BSc. with Education (Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Economics, Biology, Computer Science, and Physical Education), BSc. Mathematics (Major and Minor), BSc. Economics (Major and Minor), and BSc. Accounting, Finance, and Computing.
Prof. John Bosco Ikoja, the University Vice Chancellor, says that they have funding needs that limit admissions of medical students in 2022. Ikoja says that the university needs more funds to build, hire staff, run the university activities, maintain students and pay for services that include teaching equipment, supplies and chemicals.
According to Ikoja, the university needs 15 billion shillings to complete an anatomy block and another 25 billion for the construction of the administration building, which he notes is urgent. He adds that medical students are in need of a teaching hospital while other academic programs like the school of engineering, library, and students’ residence need to be prioritized.
Soroti is the ninth public university and is located seven kilometers from the heart of Soroti City, along Moroto Road. It was established on a directive by President Yoweri Museveni in 2011 and the university opened its gates for its first student cohorts in 2019.
At the moment, Soroti University has an enrolment of 326 students managed by 144 lecturers and support staff.
Prof. Ikoja says that the three buildings currently in use at the university were meant for science education but have instead been turned into a school of medicine, engineering, and accommodation, including the library block.
Last week, Prof. Francis Omaswa was installed as the first Chancellor of Soroti University.