UPU advocates for equity, inclusion in higher education

He said that as access to higher education systems worldwide continues to improve, the important policy objective of equity and inclusion has become a central purpose.

By Scovia Atuhairwe

Fort Portal: The Uganda Pentecostal University (UPU) has committed itself to working with government, civil society, and all able bodies to work towards inclusion and equity in the quest for higher education.

This is in recognition and appreciation of Prof. John Ntambirweki, who made great sacrifices to establish the institution and made higher education affordable for the unprivileged through bursary schemes, which transformed many students.

Prof. John Ntambirweki, who established the university in 2005, later died in April 2023.

The UPU Vice Chancellor, Prof. Peluce Ntambirweki, said equity and inclusion have become a central focus in the quest for higher education.

She was speaking during the inaugural Prof. John Ntambirweki Memorial Lecture that was held at the UPU main campus in Mucwa Fort Portal City.

The memorial lecture was held under the theme “enhancing equity and access to higher education: addressing disparities and striving for inclusion”.

“Prof. Ntambirweki used to put equity and inclusion into consideration and ensure he filled the gap in communities that UPU served. We want to keep his legacy by continuing to do what he used to do,” Prof. Peluce said.

She added that ‘’ It has been proven that students with disabilities and those from poor backgrounds suffer a lot of social and economic issues, and western Uganda is not an exception”.

She further said the inaugural Prof. John Ntambirweki Memorial Lecture is the beginning of a journey that not only celebrates him but touches lives, and we shall strive to keep his legacy and ensure there is equity and access to higher education.

Prof. Palamagamba John Aidan Kabudi, a Tanzanian lawyer, said the social and economic status of students is one of the limitations to their higher education, as well as the higher tuition fees in these institutions.

He said that as access to higher education systems worldwide continues to improve, the important policy objective of equity and inclusion has become a central purpose.

“I implore the vision of Prof. .John Ntambirweki of starting a university, which has transformed many students from unprivileged families through offering them bursaries, ensuring that everyone from any background can afford to attain higher education,” he said.

He said education has a critical role in eradicating poverty and steering the vision for prosperous and sustainable development in any country.

He said there is a need to foster equity and inclusion for all, ensuring that there is representation from diverse categories of people, both privileged and unprivileged.

According to the 2023 report, female literacy level is at 68.6 percent, while male literacy level is at 80.8 percent.

Mrs. Elizabeth Rwamwenge, a senior educationist, stressed that there is a need to appreciate the importance of equality in curriculum design to ensure that it is gender sensitive.

She also encouraged young girls to pursue science-related subjects to bridge the gap.

The John Ntambirweki Foundation launched

The John Ntambirweki Foundation was launched with the aim of increasing access to higher and tertiary education by engaging directly with affected communities and stakeholders.

The foundation’s mission is to educate, empower, and elevate the next generation of Africans in line with sustainable development goals.

The foundation will also act as a source of income for the institution to supplement the tuition paid by students.

Prof. John Ntambirweki was described by many as a scholar, trailblazer, and philanthropist who selflessly gave his service to the communities he served, the students he taught, and the people he interacted with.

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