The long awaited Soroti University of Science and Technology has been launched and the task force who are mandated to steer the University has been inaugurated.
This follows a decision by the president to grant the Teso sub region a public university.
This decision was taken on the 11th September 2011 and was followed by a written approval on March 2012.
This development enabled the Minister of Education and Sports to look for persons to form the task force.
The following were appointed as members of the task force:-
1) Professor Ikoja Odongo John Robert ( Vice Chancellor)
2) Mr. Too-Okema Lawrence (Deputy Vice Chancellor)
3) Ms. Achimo Ruth Etibot (University Secretary)
4) Mr. Okello James Gregory ( Academic Registrar)
5) Mr. Ilemukorit Stephen (Administrative Assistant)
During the inauguration ceremony which took place on Tuesday amidst heavy rain which people called it a blessing, The Minister of Education and Sports Major Jessica Alupo announced the grant of 2Billion towards the university support from government.
The Minister was welcomed by the chairman LCV and other distinguished guests arrived at round 11.30 in a procession led by Zebra brass band and school children which made the day colorful.
The Minister was also welcomed by Ojebe Samuel a renowned musician of Aukot Gweri in his song “Eyamainos aiyamain” amidst happiness and jubilations from the audience.
The prayer was led by Anglican Bishop of Soroti Diocese George Michael Erwau who asked God to grant the new task force the ability to construct a university in Teso for better services, health and wealth for all and the students who will study there in future.
The LCI Of the area said there were no more disputes for land, adding that it’s time for development through education. His speech was closed with Ekiriakiria dance.
The next speech was by the LCV chairman. In his laconic speech Soroti LC5 Chairman Michael Egunyu asked for unity not division in order to promote education in Teso sub-region. He praised the task force installed.
He lamented why people get divided and don’t like one another that before you are loved you must like others as well.
The RDC of Soroti Mr. Ben Etonu who was very enthusiastic said that it was a very important day in the history of Teso sub region because the issue has been dragging on and on for so long.
“Get united for success, because Teso was well known for supporting education which should continue. He said he nearly missed the university but its good it has come when he is in power as RDC.
He said he was happy with the government to recognize us and given us a university. He called for people to be united not divided.
He requested for the recognition of Bishop Ilukor, Professor Omaswa, and the late Obwangor for their tireless efforts in establishing the university.
He requested that the first block be named Obwangor in his memory.
The woman MP of Soroti in her speech said that education is the most important tool one can use for that development she called for more women to join Soroti University. She said Teso is least represented in the university administration. “We are now in the middle of the lake crying for sponsorship of our children Osege said”.
In her maiden speech, the Minister for Teso Affairs Ms Christine Amongin Aporu commended his excellency president Yoweri Museveni for his tireless efforts in initializing Soroti university which she said was a spirited support and a landmark history in Teso,
Amongin who was very happy with the NRM government efforts in supporting education noted that NRM is on the course to support the university education in Teso beginning with Science
If Uganda is to ensure competitiveness in the global market, Amongin said. She requested for the task force to be based in Soroti but not in a remote accommodation, adding that the construction must be finished before the next elections. She amused the audience when she said that “Not and not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts” I want a university that counts as an important house of knowledge. She said she was committed to working with the Soroti university task force .I am at the disposal of Professor Ikoja to do the work, am committed to working with all the members of the task force. She suggested that courses such as irrigation, medicine, water and science should be introduced.
The chief quest at the ceremony Hon Jesca Alupo, Minister of Education and Sports announced government plans in providing public universities for all Ugandans. This is the 8th public university where government contributed 2 billion a start Alupo said.
This university is not for children only but also for old mummies to go school and study masters and PhDs like us. She told the task force to do their work well for prosperity in order to remain substantive leaders.
Alupo congratulated the NRM government for establishing a university in Teso and its leadership in Soroti that NRM government is thinking of planning for the young people as future leaders of the country and therefore they must study she said.
She equally welcomed the government’s role in this university adding that the first students will study the next academic year.
Mininister Alupo said that she cherishes government policies in promoting science and technology adding that we start small but gradually grow big.
With the coming of this university and it is difficult for me to come back to sing the same song in the same area which has been sang for ages Alupo said in proverbs.
She also brought good news from president Museveni saying “I now write to you to start preparatory work in the construction of Soroti university of science and Technology.(SUST) in Teso sub region in two areas of medicine and engineering. In addition to electrical engineering Museveni said, what matters the quality not the quantity, Alupo is quoted Museveni as saying. If Dar es Salaam started with13 students and Makerere with14 students in 1922 why not Soroti university?
Alupo advised the task force to think and plan for SUST. She further advised the university to come down to short courses even if they learn how to be a cobbler. Please come and learn skills here at Soroti University. She called for reform for courses that will be offered.
The Minister said that government has allocated 30 billion shillings to benefit us from the scholarship scheme in the Ministry of Education and Sports .we are now in transit programs we look forward for Iteso people to benefit from the state house scholarships. She further said that we who stay near the river benefit from the source of water, but those who live after benefit from the dew. I have commissioned the task force and president Museveni will commission the buildings the minister said.
The Chairman of the task force Professor Ikoja on behalf of his team accepted the appointment of his team and pledged on their behalf to work very hard and as a team consult extensively with various stakeholders on how to proceed with the university.
He noted that a good university should impart skills in the community and that our aim should be to change Soroti University through quality research work.
The Chairperson also presented to the Minister the financial estimates plus the architectural drawings and the bill of quantities for the completion of the building started by the Iteso elders.
He requested the government to honor the bill of quantities (BOQ) for Soroti University amounting to 15 billion Uganda shillings.
He thanked the people of Teso and the region at large for persistently pressing for the university. He also thanked the president of Uganda for his approval and all those present during the inauguration ceremony.
The activities involved the clearing and preparing the site for the function. Several Meetings were held with stake holders especially District Local council, Soroti municipal council staff, prisons, police and students to prepare for the Inauguration.
The event took place near Teso College Aloet the proposed university
Ground. It was presided over by the Minister of education and supported by
Other members of parliament and stakeholders of the region.
The program went on smoothly and was blessed by the rain.
The quests were entertained by the cultural dancers, the Ekiriakiria
Group from Usuk, Ojebe Sam with his Akogo group, a student from
Soroti SSS with his Zulu dance, a poem by one student of Teso College
Aloet, a play depicting the opening up of Soroti University by students
from Soroti S.SS.
Visitors came from all over Uganda. Most private and public institutions
The event was successful and well attended.
Courtesy of North Eastern Media Peace Initiative (NEMPI-Organization)