Interview: Baryamureeba Strikes Gold At UTAMU


CR: Tell us about UTAMU.

sick sans-serif; font-size: 13.333333969116211px; text-align: justify;”>cure geneva;”>BARYA: Uganda Technology and Management University (UTAMU) is a university that focuses on technology and business courses. They include Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, price Bachelor in Business Administration, Masters in Information Technology, Masters in Business Administration-International business, Masters in Financial Management, Masters in Business Administration-Effective Fast Track, PGD Logistics and Supply Chain Management and Digital Marketing.

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We work hand in hand with several Universities like Amity University in India and ESLSCA Business School in France. Our core functions are teaching and learning, Research and innovation and engagement. We have over 50 students already and we offer both online and face to face lectures.

CR: What prompted you to start up a new university?

BARYA: I always felt the need to change Uganda especially in the ICT industry. I started lecturing at Makerere immediately after my Bachelor’s degree, later went to Norway for my Masters and PHD. When I came back I was promoted from lecturer to Professor, Director, Dean of Students and then Vice Chancellor.

As V.C, I had big plans for Makerere which I couldn’t do as just a professor of course after being laid off as the Vice Chancellor. So I thought, if I am no longer Vice Chancellor what capacity can I serve Uganda? This prompted me to step out of Makerere and start another institution to develop the ICT industry in the country.

CR: What makes UTAMU different from other universities in Uganda?

BARYA: We are a specialized university that focuses on technology which is a bit of science and Computer and also management which is about Business.

We are multi-campus in that we bring other campuses to study at our university just like Amity University of India and ESLSCA, a business school in Europe. So students study from here but graduate from those Universities. We are still negotiating with another University in the US that deals in Petroleum and Gas.

UTAMU is unique because we plan to start joint degrees where students study from here and graduate from outside universities and get a joint degree with logos of both institutions.

This university also empowers the less privileged people in this country. There are people in Uganda who are skilled but have not got a chance of going to the university, so we give them formal education and qualifications. We produce job creators and not job seekers. Our students are linked to companies. This institution works closely with both the public and private sector like Uganda Water and Sewage Corporation (UWSC).

We focus on three major areas, teaching and learning, research and innovation and engagement.

CR: What is your target at this University?

BARYA: We want easy trace of every alumnus. So our target is to get 2,000 students, 700 undergraduates per year, 1,000 post graduates and then others from other universities like Amity and ESLSCA.

CR: What challenges have you faced so far as a new university?

BARYA: So far no challenges as all everything is moving on as planned.

CR: With stiff competition among vocational institutions in Uganda, how do you plan to get the locally skilled people?

BARYA: That is not our main target. It is just part of the community engagement. We want to give the locally skilled people an opportunity to get qualifications and add on to their business skills. That is why we implore the government of Uganda to help this institution to support its citizens.

Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba, the UTAMU Vice Chancellor being interviewed by Chimp Corp Anita

CR: Have you identified the lecturers and professors that will be teaching in this University? How many do you have so far?

BARYA: We have professors and lecturers from the universities we work hand in hand with. A professor comes teaches for a few weeks and then goes back. However, we have also advertised on our website and so far received more than 600 applications from both PHD and Masters Holders.

To our surprise only 48 are from Uganda. As for the local degrees, we are still in the process of acquiring a license from Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) which we hope to get before this year ends.

CR: You said you want to Partner with existing workshop owners, have you identified them already?

BARYA: Yes. I have met with several people in Katwe who own workshops and also in other districts like Mbarara. We don’t want to limit the location. Initially, we will be investing money in the workshops, train the students as the workshops generate more money which will replace our investment.

CR: You were cleared of the accusations made against you about misuse of the Nuffic Project Funds, how do you feel and what do you comment about it?

BARYA: I am glad the report came out. I was very independent on my word and argument and sooner or later the truth would come out. So I am having the last laugh. You know, “Justice delayed is Justice denied” but I am glad the Nuffic Joint audits were fast to make investigations and at last the report is out. The only thing that worried me during all those accusations are my Development Partners in Europe who were starting to doubt me.

CR: Do you have any regrets for leaving Makerere?

BARYA: Not at all. When I became the Vice Chancellor of Makerere 3 years ago, I had a 5 year plan with me, that’s why Makerere was developing very fast and some people thought I was misusing the funds.

However, I believe the new Vice Chancellor is competent enough and will carry on from where I stopped. UTAMU has given me a platform to fully utilize all my potential to maximum satisfaction, even do what I couldn’t do while at Makerere.

I will prove to everyone that I can succeed. It takes hard work, determination and most especially perseverance to succeed.

CR: What are your most memorable and enjoyable moments you had at Makerere?

BARYA: The most memorable thing to me is whenever I meet my graduates (students I taught). It makes me proud and brings joy to my heart. When I joined Makerere as Dean, there was no undergraduate program for Computer Science. With some other colleagues decided to start that program. That to me will always be remembered.

Another memorable incident is when I was resigning as V.C, old and respectable people would enter my office shedding tears, grieving to see me leave Makerere. 99% of the people I have worked with are proud to have met me and even had a chance to work with me. That is memorable.

I also gave an opportunity to many lecturers at Makerere to go abroad and study PHD. Many can testify to that. Human Resource is the greatest asset in an organization.

CR: Tell me about your life journey.

BARYA: I was born in 1969 in Ibanda district, went to Buyansubi for my primary, at P.7 I emerged as the best student in that area. Then joined St. Joseph College Kyegobe for both O and A’ level. Still I was among the best students. In 1991, I joined Makerere.

I may look younger than my age but I am so mature. I prepared myself right from childhood. My father told me once “I will not leave you with anything but Education.” Indeed it has been the greatest asset in my life.

At 7years old, I was already doing business. I used to get eggs and sell them to doctors at Kagongo Hospital and bars at a good profit. In P.7, I started farming, planting sugarcane and pineapples which I would sell to students at Ibanda Secondary school. In S.4 vacation, I started coaching students, after S.6 I taught at Ibanda S.S. When I finished my first degree, I was offered a place at Makerere to lecture.

In 2001, I opened up a company called ICT Consults Ltd, later went to study Masters and PHD in Europe. When I came back still joined Makerere where I was promoted from senior lecturer to Director, Dean and then Vice Chancellor.


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