2020 IN REVIEW – Makerere University
In 2020, Makerere University Council approved a new strategic plan for 2020—2030. The plan envisions Makerere University as “a thought leader of knowledge transformation for societal transformation.”
Makerere’s strategic plan aligns with the third National Development Plan (NDP III), where the University contributes to the Human Capital Development Programme (HCDP). The University is set to contribute to the HCDP objective to produce an appropriate knowledgeable, skilled and ethical labor force.
With its strategic call to be a research-led University, Makerere University aims to deliver research and innovations that will contribute to the achievement of other NDP III programmes, including agro-industrialisation, private sector development, petroleum resources development, digital transformation and manufacturing.
In 2020 Makerere University maintained its position among top Universities in Africa—it emerged the fifth-best on the continent in the Times Higher Education rankings owing to its sustained research excellence and outstanding portfolio of faculty and students. The University contributes more than 88 per cent of research output in Uganda, with 825 of its 1,439 faculty members holding doctoral degrees. Makerere University accounts for 23 per cent of the total University enrolment in Uganda, that is 36,658 out of 160,000 students across the 11 public and 40 private Universities.
During his earlier visit to the University in 2019, President Museveni challenged Makerere University to attain the number one position in Africa. He further pledged the Government’s support towards that pursuit.
Improving Makerere’s international profile and achieving the new strategic plan targets necessitated restructuring the academic and administrative functions in line with a research-led university’s needs. The University Council has also emphasized urgent digital transformation to optimize business processes alongside enhancing existing physical infrastructure for teaching and research.
The prevailing demands require increased financial and human resources for Makerere to become a world-class university that addresses the complexities of a knowledge economy and enhances the production of relevant skills, competencies, and innovations to power Uganda’s transformation.
Accordingly, in 2020 the Council commissioned restructuring of the University’s academic and administrative functions. The envisaged transformation will also address the Government’s directives on revising the educational programmes at public Universities and the recommendations of previous reports on Makerere University.
This brief provides a review of Makerere University’s operations, achievements and the challenges faced in 2020 and provides an outlook on priority interventions and targets for 2021. It further outlines the University’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak and the unfortunate fire destruction of the Main Administration Building.