Prof. Bernard Bashaasha presenting CAES students to the Chancellor

The second session of the Makerere University 71st graduation ceremony kicked of on Tuesday 18th May, 2021 with the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) and that of Education and External Studies presenting students for the award of degrees.

The CAES management team led by the Principal Prof. Bernard Bashaasha presented 21 PhDs, 118 Masters, 467 undergraduates and 8 Post Graduate Diploma students to the Chancellor Makerere University Prof. Ezra Suruma for the award of degrees in various disciplines.

The Best performing BARI student Chinese Female Scholarship, Mr. Opendu Thomas

The college also presented the best performer under the Chinese Female Scholarship Mr. Opendu Thomas with a CGPA of 4.56

Of the 467 undergraduate students 26 scored first class degrees with a 13 to 13 umber  (a 50-50 %) of male and females. Of the 457 undergraduate students 177 (37.9%) were females and  290 (62.1% ) were male.

Of the 21 PhD students 8 (38.1%) were females while 13 (61,9%) were male.  Of the 118 Masters students 44(37.3%) were female while 74 (62.7%) were male.

Prof. Ezra Suruma awards a PhD one of the CAES students

In his address, the Chancellor Makerere University Prof. Ezra Suruma congratulated the congregation and the graduands upon surviving the COVID -19 pandemic and for  graduating despite the difficult times.

Prof. Suruma also thanked the faculty and staff for the excellent work done to prepare the students expressing hope that the graduands will have a transformative impact on the future of Uganda.

Prof. Suruma described the role of Agriculture beyond being the backbone – to the oxygen of the economy saying, it is indispensable to everyone’s survival.

The Chancellor however noted that, a great deal remains to be done to improve agricultural productivity and marketing.

He was optimistic that the Parish Model which is now being popularized aims at increasing agricultural productivity throughout the country and to improve the overall management of Agricultural, infrastructural and financial sectors at the grass root level.

A section of the CAES staff in the academic procession to the Freedom Square

“I believe this model offers opportunities to simplify and understand the processes of economic development by making it tangible at the parish level. As the saying goes, this is where the rubber meets the road. This is the proving ground for development and growth theories”, Prof. Suruma said.

He challenged students and researchers in agriculture, education, financial services, agricultural processing, storage and infrastructure to take advantage of this opportunity to rescue the economy from poverty and stagnation.

Prof. Suruma implored the congregation to remain steadfast and committed to hard work irrespective of the pain and suffering encountered along the way.

“We are all in this world together and we need each other’s support and encouragement. Please be that support. Be that encouragement. Be the one that offers a helping hand rather than the one that kicks the feeble and the needy. Be the one that takes a stand for what is right”, The Prof. prayed.

Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe addressing the congregation

The Vice Chancellor Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe described the 71st graduation ceremony as historical, being the first to be held in the blended mode due to COVID 19 pandemic. The Vice chancellor assured all that this kind of arrangement was to ensure the safety of the graduands and visitors and everything possible had been done to ensure that graduands get a memorable experience of this special day in their lives.

Prof. Nawangwe applauded the CAES through the Makerere University Regional Centre  for Crop improvement (MaRCCI) for spearheading research and graduate training in crop improvement, giving special focus on indigenous  food crops;  noting that the centre has presented  8 masters students from nine African countries.

Some of the CAES PhDs

“Through the Government Research and Innovation Fund, the CAES produced many innovations towards the fight against COVID-19. These include; the bio-degrable face shields, the solar powered handless bore hole and the touchless solar powered handwashing kit.

Other innovations include the potato –sorghum value addition project which adds value to what would be otherwise be waste from harvest of Kigezi irish potatoes. When fully commercialized, this project has the potential to change the economy of the Kigezi region”. The Vice Chancellor said.

Some of the CAES Masters students attending the graduation ceremony

Prof. Nawangwe congratulated the graduands, parents, guardians and sponsors upon this achievement adding that the time and resources invested have paid off. The Vice Chancellor in a special way appreciated the parents, guardians and sponsors for selflessly sacrificing and financing students to give them a decent future.

He said Agriculture remains the backbone of Uganda’s economy with immense opportunities.

Prof. Nawangwe observed that the Parish model coined by Prof. Ezra Suruma presents unique opportunities to the graduands and other professionals

Some of the PhD students during the function

“Don’t fear to make your hands   dirty and you will surely succeed. That is what has made the farmers in Israel, from where many of our students return with thousands of dollars after working on their farms, millionaires. Think out of the box and you will surely succeed”, The Vice Chancellor advised.

The Vice Chancellor also advised students as they go through the gates of Makerere  to hold their heads high but with humility, and, always hold their alma mater in high esteem, and not to forget the gates of Makerere.

Prof. Nawangwe reported that due to the effects of COVID-19, the university was unable to process transcripts for this graduation ceremony but all materials for production of the transcripts had been secured to ensure that they are collected in a couple of weeks.

Some of the CAES staff members witnessing the graduation ceremony

He assured all the stakeholders that the university is in good form and vibrant and will become even greater and relevant if staff and students uphold professional integrity and exercise maximum discipline.

Prof. Nawangwe stressed that Uganda has made enormous sacrifices and invested in the university and therefore, it must give back to her motherland in double measure.

He affirmed the university’s commitment to support government efforts to emancipate people from poverty and marginalization through continued diligent service like it has been done before over the last 100 years.

Report compiled by;
Jane Anyango;
Principal Communication Officer, CAES

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