By ABC Reporter
Started just a few years back in 2011, the university’s main campus located in the outskirts of Kampala at Bunga Hill along Kansanga-Ggaba Road has an urban and yet conducive and student friendly setting and is already boasting and in high gear to produce its first exceptional medical students in June next year.
The university currently has a total student enrollment of over 500 with an annual student intake of about 100 students.
The student population is diverse with students coming from over 10 different countries like Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, Pakistan, India, Australia, Rwanda, Tanzania, and DRC and with a range of background.
According to the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Gabriel Nzarubara, the University, contrary to other public and private university, loves to attain senior lecturers that have worked in other universities and hence are equipped with enough experience and knowledge to produce quality graduates who are not just good job performers but also able to created their own jobs.
“Most of our lecturers are senior lecturers from public and private, local and international universities. St. Augustine does not segregate against age. We believe that one’s ability to teach especially in higher institutions of learning becomes better with experience and age. As the university, we make sure that almost all our lecturers are full time and able to be with students from 8am to 5am and Monday to Friday. We believe that spending enough time with the students is one way of producing quality students that are not half barked,” the professor told in an interview.
Prof. Nzarubara notes that the university’s focus is now on medicine, law and later agriculture and engineering because these courses are marketable and if equipped and skilled well, a student doing those courses would never be on the streets looking for a job.
“We are right now targeting areas where students can be self-employed. Unemployment is already a big problem in Uganda; we do not want to add our students to the list of unemployed graduates. That is why our main emphasis right now is medicine and law. Later we will focus on engineering and agriculture. The other courses will also come on board but our focus right now is those,” the professor noted.
The university has a conducive environment that is free from the city noise but environmental conscious with enough trees in the compound.
However, the university’s biggest advantage is in its ICT innovations boasted by ITEL Company that is owned by the university proprietors.
This allows 24 hour a day free speedy internet access for all students and lecturers.
Affordable marketable courses
According to the academic registrar, Dr. Annabella Habinka Basaza Ejiri, the university has two intakes in January and August and has different programs under the College of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences, College of Law and Business, College of Computing and Engineering, College of Agricultural, Environmental and Natural Sciences which are certified by accredited by the National Council for Higher Education of Uganda.
“The curricula for all our programs are designed to be always evolving to meet market needs and the emphasis of each curriculum is on critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, collaboration and leadership. Our students are trained to become international employees and job creators,” noted Dr. Habinka.
The university also has partnerships with different hospitals and organizations that work with them in research and knowledge sharing to enable students learn better.
“The University is grounded in a culture of developing lifelong skills that enable its graduate to successfully participate in the society through a multi-sector approach, quality education and research in areas of focus. To achieve our mandate, the university has secured partnerships with Ministry of Health, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Kampala Capital City Authority, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Uganda, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Uganda Fortis Healthcare Limited, India and Manubhai Patel Dental College and Hospital, Gujarat, India,” said the academic registrar.
The exceptional College of Medicine
The College of Medicine, Health and life Sciences was established with a mission to produce health workers educated to the highest international standards.
The college is ranked highly, especially amongst similar institutions in the East African region and it is accredited by the Ugandan Medical and Dental Practitioners Council, The Allied Health Professional Council and the East African Medical Council to offer a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses and degrees in the fields of biomedical sciences, medicine and allied health professions.
According to DR. Anthony Gakwaya, the Dean of school of medicine, the medicine program is exceptional because it is taught by very senior and experienced lecturers and Runs a curriculum that is integrated both vertically and horizontally.
Right from day one, everything is taught targeting and molding students into practicing doctors.
The program emphasizes biomedical sciences that are applicable to medicine and the lecturers are encouraged to emphasize participatory learning that emphasizes communication skills.
“Our Students do their medical trainings right from year one at Mulago Hospital (Kiruddu hospital and Kawempe hospital), ST. Francis Mutorore hospital, Butabika hospital, Lubanga hospital and at the Uganda cancer institute and Uganda heart institute. In addition, We have also got modern laboratories for practical studies” Said Dr Gakwaya.
According to Dickson Bikorwa Oyes, Dean of College of Computing and Engineering, SAIU is made tick by different ICT innovations that facilitate easy learning and research for students and lecturers.
The university is connected on free internet that is available 24 hours a day for both students and stuff provided by Itel Company owned the proprietors of the schools.
Each student has an E-account that allows them to access lecturer notes as well as be assessed online.
The institution has the e-learning platform that enables interaction between students and lecturers.
Lecturers are able to upload notes modules assignments for students to access. The e-learning platform is supported by the intranet and an e-library that can be accessed by students at campus.
“We also have a Biometric system that tracks student and lecturers attendance. University policy emphasized 75% physical presence of all students. It is also university policy that all lectures are interactive. There are interactive boards also known as IQ boards in all class rooms,” Mr. Bikorwa said.
He added, “We also have a Special computer forensic and criminal investigations course for both s6 leavers and private investigators. Jobs for this program are available due to lack of work force for private forensic laboratories in Uganda.”