Janet Kataha Museveni, the Minister of Education and Sports, has pledged to address the salary disparities among Makerere University staff during the institution’s 74th graduation ceremony at Freedom Square.
The Minister, represented by State Minister for Higher Education John Chrysostom Muyingo, acknowledged the human resource challenges at the university and assured that the government is committed to enhancing salary harmonization for staff.
“As you are aware, the auditor General took a Special Audit of the Government payroll. During that time, the Government put a hold on salary enhancements, recruitment, and promotions. The Auditor General Completed the Special Audit and handed over the report,” said the Minister.
She mentioned that the government had temporarily put a hold on salary enhancements, recruitment, and promotions due to a special audit of the government payroll. Museveni urged the staff to be patient, assuring them that they had not been forgotten.
For a considerable time, Makerere University staff have been advocating for salary harmonization with counterparts in other public universities. The Minister’s statement comes after the staff called off a planned strike, allowing the government to address the salary disparities issue.
The staff argues that it is unfair for individuals with similar qualifications to receive varying salaries. The graduation week, starting with ceremonies for the College of Natural Sciences, the College of Health Sciences, and the School of Law, marks the 74th graduation ceremony. A total of 12,913 graduates will receive different degrees during the week-long event.
The Minister also highlighted the need for the university to address the decreasing number of male graduates compared to their female counterparts. Additionally, three individuals received honorary degrees during the ceremony: Professor Leif Abrahamson, Hon. Betty Oyella Bigombe, and Hon. Justice Egonda-Ntende.
Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, the Vice Chancellor, emphasized the university’s goal of producing 200 PhDs per year in response to the World Bank’s call for at least 100,000 PhDs for Africa over the next 10 years.
He also confirmed the commencement of the second phase of the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program for the next ten years, providing scholarships to academically talented youth with economic hardships.
Several graduates expressed their joy at completing their courses and their commitment to utilizing their knowledge to impact society positively. Tonny Muwonge, who earned a master’s degree in public health, discussed his research on teenage mental health in Uganda and the shortage of psychiatrists for adolescents. He believes his research will contribute to future policy development to address the issue.