By Bernard B. Buteera

The Vice Chancellor of Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, urged Scholars of Mastercard Foundation (MCF) to strive to become responsible leaders and not leaders of riots. He said this while addressing the 53 Cohort Six Scholars during their Scholarship Award Ceremony held on 12th March 2021 in the Central Teaching Facility 2 (CTF2) Auditorium, Makerere University.

“Mastercard Foundation and Makerere University are training you to become the next generation of leaders who will champion transformative change in your communities and the African continent.” Prof. Nawangwe said.

Prof. Nawangwe pointed out that every year Makerere University loses over 1000 students who drop out due to lack of tuition and functional fees. He therefore called upon the Scholars to count themselves lucky for having received the prestigious Mastercard Foundation Scholarship, which will enable them to attain quality university education at Makerere University.

Prof. Nawangwe further pointed out that out of the two million pupils who join primary schools every year only 90,000 make it to University, of which Makerere University admits only 10,000 students. He encouraged Mastercard Foundation Scholars to stay focused on their studies and be honest when dealing with others and/or transacting any business. He further advised them to make the best of the Scholarship they received by concentrating on their studies and associating with the right people who will add value to their academic and social life.

Prof. Umar Kakumba, the Chairperson of the MCF Steering Committee highlighted that the Scholars Program was uniquely designed to provide Scholars with academic curricular that is relevant to the job market. He added that the program also provides extra support in terms of mentorship, counseling and psychosocial support services, as well as experiential learning through volunteerism, internships and social entrepreneurship; and connections to jobs and internship opportunities through its network of partners.

Prof. Kakumba thanked the MCF Selection Committee and the Secretariat of the Scholars Program for recruiting the Cohort Six Scholars amidst the COVID-19 challenges.

Dr. Muhammad Ntale, the Chairperson of the Selection Committee informed the guests that the Scholars Program had recruited 1,032 Scholars since its inception in 2014. He added that this was a remarkable achievement because they had exceeded the earlier target of recruiting 1000 students.

Dr. Justine Namaalwa, the Program Coordinator, thanked the University Management for the unwavering support they had given to the Scholars Program, which enabled the Program to operate smoothly in the University. She urged Cohort Six Scholars to make the best of the opportunity that was offered to them by Mastercard Foundation.

“I would like to urge you Cohort Six Scholars to tap into the various opportunities that the Program presents to you during your stay at the University. You will realize that unlike other University students, you are going to enjoy a number of benefits and extra skills training opportunities.” Dr. Namaalwa pointed out.

Dr. Namaalwa thanked Mastercard Foundation in championing the education of the girl child in the higher education sector. She pointed out that out of the 1,032 students so far recruited on the Program, 780 were girls, which represented 76% of the Scholarships. She called upon other organizations to emulate Mastercard Foundation in educating the young people, because it was the only way to achieve meaningful change in Uganda and the African continent.

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