Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES)  on 24th February 2021 held the freshers orientation that attracted over 400 new university entrants.

The ceremony was held at the Forest gardens located at the School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences.

College management and administrative staff advised students on academic, social, health, security  and  financial matters and the rules and policies that underpinning the teaching and learning at the  university.

The ceremony was presided over by the Principal CAES, Prof. Bernard Bashaasha and his deputy Assoc. Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga. The function was also attended by heads of Departments, School deans and heads of administrative units.

Prof. Bernard Bashaasha addressing students

Prof. Bernard Bashaasha took the freshers through the Makerere university colleges and management and also cautioned them to be careful with unsafe   places especially those staying in hostels surrounded by less secure places than those in campus.

The professor urged students to take the COVID-19 situation seriously and to always sanitize and wear a mask for the safety of others and themselves.

He said the College provides conducive conditions of learning including laboratories, lecture halls, and other facilities and was trying to improve those that are quite substandard.

“Work hard because your being here is the get-way to the world. There are plenty of opportunities. Look beyond Makerere and beyond the  first degree. Aim high and get a first class, and once you get a first class we will be talking to you to stay around then people will be talking to you about studying Masters and PhDs. That opens much more opportunities than you can imagine”, the Principal advised.

Prof. Bashaasha urged students to be good ambassadors of Makerere university. “It is the best university in Uganda. Don’t behave like students from those other universities. When you go back ,be change agents and  influence your communities”, Prof. Bashaasha added.

Assoc. Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga speaking to freshers

The Deputy Principal CAES, Assoc. Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga welcomed freshers to Makerere University and to the CAES describing freshers  as a special breed  who are going to be  leaders of people left behind and those that  did not get the opportunity to join Makerere.

Dr. Nabonaga pledged that everybody in the college was ready to help students understand the dos and don’ts. Using her 30 years of her academic career, employment and successes, the Deputy Principal warned students against wasting energies on changing courses but to settle and concentrate on the offer to the best. “When you settle down, a lot of things come your way. The first day in class sets the pace of what you want to be. If you fail to attain 75% in an exam, it will  be an uphill task to get a first class”, Dr. Nabanoga said.

Nabanoga told students that excellence opens enormous opportunities for scholarships and employment. “I am sharing my journey because if you utilize your opportunities once you enter university, there are a thousand plus ways of achieving a purpose. There are opportunities and it is what you make of situations that leads to what you want to do”, Said the Deputy Principal.

Dr. Nabonaga said the CAES was one of the best colleges in the university in terms publications, research and academic performance. She reported that the college in the previous two years, the CAES presented the best overall science students.

She said, CAES students have never failed to get  jobs or getting self-employed. She described education as a stepping stone adding that who they are and how they utilized time will determine the negative or positive exit from the gates of Makerere.

Speaker after speaker congratulated freshers upon securing a place  Makerere university and welcomed them to the CAES.

Dr. JB tuhairwe talking to students

The Head Department of Agricultural Production Dr. JB Tumuhairwe  thanked God for the good  health and life noting that the freshers   should have been here by August 2020.

“Time has allowed and you are here with us. We thank the President for allowing staggered opening of the university. We congratulate and welcome you to Makerere. We welcome you as our Guests of honor. Congratulations for going through prior education system and making it to the premiere university”, Dr. JB Tumuhairwe said.

Dr. JB urged students to strive for excel, take studies seriously, target at attaining a first class degree and never to compete with local people but internationally.

“Take your health serious, COVID is still here. HIV AIDS is still there tired of the old people and has come for the young people. You have the freedom here and the energy to explore but do it cautiously. Be wise if you must, be protected. I encourage you to be disciplined because success comes after discipline”, Dr. Tumuhairwe advised.

Prof. Johnny Mugisha advising students

The Dean School of Agricultural Sciences Prof. Johnny Mugisha explained the difference between the school deans and the overall university Dean of students and their respective roles, the former being leaders  of academic affairs  and the latter for student welfare.

Prof. Mugisha tasked the freshers to make a contribution to the greatness of Makerere saying the current university image was built by the alumni.

The dean told freshers that irrespective of the school they went to, the university has no boundaries and provides access to all resources available including academic staff  for teaching and learning.

“Maximise your time here right from day one. You are starting from a clean plate no matter what you scored. So commit to work for a first class. It is you to decide to get it or fail. There is no bad programme at Makerere. It depends on how much time you invest in it. There is 100% freedom here and whatever you want to  get in future, start  working on it now”, Prof. Mugisha advised.

Dr. Gorettie Nabanoga (2nd) takes satff and students through short relaxation exercise before delivering her remarks

Prof. Mugisha  informed students of the off campus sites and farming communities that school operates in urging them to get interested.

He also informed students on university structure of the semester separated by short holidays with academic activities such as recess term, and field attachment to practice their academic abilities.

“Excellence to final award begins with tests. Don’t disregard any test or quiz because it counts to your final degree award. You also have an option of cheating but in SAS, we have agreed that whoever is found cheating, the smallest punishment is expulsion”, The dean warned.

Dr. Abel Atukwase speakng to students

The Dean School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bioengineering Dr. Abel Atukwase informed freshers that they have joined a diverse college endowed with a number of resources.

“…you have joined a rich college when you see the infrastructure that is around because if you do not have infrastructure, it becomes very hard to operate. I want to congratulate you for joining such a rich college. Whichever engineering you do, there is no doubt you are going to be very successful”, He said

Representing the Dean School of Forestry Environmental and Geographical Science, Dr. Edward Mwavu who is also head Department of Forestry, Biodiversity and Tourism  cautioned students to be aware of conmen  and to seek information from the right sources. Dr. Mwavu advised students to concentrate on the courses they have been offered.

Dr. Edward Mwavu speaking to students

“Some of you will be lamenting this is not my course, it’s my parents whose chose it and  you take a lot of time thinking about that and the whole year will be gone. If you have been given a course start on it now, concentrate, get high marks because a first degree is a foundation. Stop thinking its only doctors and lawyers who are successful. Everyone can be successful, it is you who can make it”, Dr. Mwavu advised adding :

“You are in university now. You have lecturers. There is a difference between teaching and lecturing. Manage your studies like a mature person. There is a policy that you have to attend 75% of the lectures for a particular course unit before you sit for exams.

All facilities are accessible if you are a fully registered student. You need to qualify to access the resources.  Show respect to all categories of staff you meet. In the school, the department comes first, your matters will be reported first to departments and departments have course coordinators”.

Mr. Dan Kidega Assistant Registrar School of Forestry speaking

The Team Leader CAES  Ms. Joseline Biganja  informed students that they were expected to pay 60% of the university fees and all functional fees  before getting full admission.

“Pay 100% if you have all because of the risks associated. Some students invest their fees in mobile money, betting and joining relationships which is not right. Use reference numbers generated from the student portal  and if you cannot, seek help from the accounts office is open to assist you”, She said

Report compiled by
Jane Anyango
Principal Communication Officer, CAES

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