Makerere University to partner with the Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology (E-JUST)

Makerere University is set to enter into a partnership with Egypt –Japan University of Science and Technology (E-JUST).  The collaboration between the two universities to be formalized with the signing of a memorandum of understanding in the near future will see the two universities working together in a number of respects including staff and student exchanges, joint research and student supervision among others.

The decision comes after a visit to Makerere University by a delegation from the Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology (E-JUST) on Thursday 23rd November 2023, led by the First Vice President for Education and Academic Affairs Prof. Sameh Nadah.  The team comprised of the Deputy Vice President for Regional and International Affairs Dr. Muntaz Abdeluahaz, Ms. Tomomi Kawazoe the Project Coordinator for JICA E-JUST project and Mr. Racan Yosef, the Section head of International Affairs.

The visiting team led by the Head of the Electrical Department, College of engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) Dr. Abubaker Matovu Waswa paid a courtesy call on the Ag. Vice Chancellor Prof. Umar Kakumba.

Dr. Abubaker Matovu Waswa second from left led the team to pay a courtesy call on the Ag. Vice Chancellor Prof. Umar Kakumba.

Prof. Sameh Nadah who explained the reason for their visit to Makerere University said their main objective was to seek for collaboration with the best University in the country and the region.  Further he said that their visit was prompted by the quality of Makerere University students enrolled at E-JUST as beneficiaries of the scholarships, whose performance he described as outstanding.

Prof. Sameh Nadah gave a background of the Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology that was established as a result of a bilateral agreement between the governments of Egypt and Japan with Egypt responsible for the land and physical infrastructure for the University while Japan was responsible for the labs and the technology and equipment therein.  For each Department in E-Just, he said, there is a sister Department in a Japanese University. He further illustrated the various programs offered in the four schools. He informed the hosts that for all supervision of both Maters and Ph.D. programs, the teams must include both Egyptian and Japanese professors and that students get opportunity to spend some time in Japan to do some of their study in the Japanese laboratories.

Prof. Umar Kakumba, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Makerere University, in charge of Academic Affairs hands a gift to the First Vice President for Education and Academic Affairs Prof. Sameh Nadah

He explained that E-Just as the case is with Makerere University is faculty based and that under Engineering, there were four schools including Electronics, Communications and Computer science engineering, School of energy and Chemical engineering as well as the School of Industrial and innovative design, Mechanical engineering, Basic and Applied science, with four programs in each school offering both undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

He informed the Vice chancellor that in the last three years, Egypt and Japan offered One Hundred Fifty fully funded scholarships for the African Students to do a Master’s Degree in Egypt in natural science and engineering programs.  He said the university had over thirty-two students from Uganda, six of whom are from Makerere University and doing very well.  He said his team was in at Makerere University to mobilize more students that will benefit from the next set of 150 Scholarships for Ph.D. and Masters students over the next three years.

In his welcome remarks, who is also Acting Vice Chancellor said it was a great opportunity to receive the delegation from E-JUST, which he described as a great Institution in the area of Science and Technology.

‘We still have a very big gap in those areas across Africa especially with the emerging technologies and their applications where we need to build a strong technical and professional capacity’, he said recognizing that the concentration of E- JUST was in the area of Science and Technology.

Prof. Umar Kakumba, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Makerere University seated on the right

Prof. Kakumba was gratified to learn that students from Makerere University were performing very well and that there were more openings for more of our students to benefit from such an opportunity.  He charged the College of Engineering, Design and Technology to take leadership in ensuring the drafting of a memorandum of understanding for collaboration in areas like joint supervision, exchange programs for academic staff and students, research cooperation and any other areas of interest.  He said this was in line with the fact that the Makerere University Strategy for 2020-2030 has Internationalization as one of its core pillars, which together with Science and technology have become one of the new metrics for ranking universities in Times Higher education.  ‘Once you have a good composition of Science, Technology, Medicine, Engineering, that gives you a better opportunity because the focus of the need is in those technical areas for which we have very low capacity and once a University is investing heavily on that, coupled with the opportunity to invest in research, it can give our students and faculty a better standing ‘, he said.

While addressing himself about the relationship between Makerere University and JICA, Prof. Umar Kakumba noted that this is historical and that a number of staff went to train in Japan and that the cooperation with E-JUST would start on some familiar ground.  He said the forthcoming Memorandum sets in at a time when E-JUST and Makerere University are already on the move but will further strengthen the initiated linkages.

The team was thereafter led to the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) to have an interface with the staff and students and were received by the Principal Prof. Moses Musinguzi.  In his welcome remarks Prof. Musinguzi highlighted some of the possible opportunities for collaboration between E-JUST and CEDAT including joint research and publication, student and staff exchange, curriculum harmonization in the core subjects taught, to make it possible for the students to do some courses at Makerere and Egypt, joint Ph.D. supervision especially those conducted by research. He said the two universities could explore having common crosscutting courses that could be offered at either institution.

The Deputy Principal CEDAT, assoc. Prof. Kizito Maria Kasule noted that Makerere University has a lot to offer to people from different parts of the world especially in Africa.   He said collaborating with African based universities can help address the challenges facing the continent collectively and extended appreciation to E-JUST for seeking collaboration with CEDAT.  He was happy to note that the Japanese government was interested in making academic networks in Africa through E-Just more so the launch in 2025 JICA of academic collaboration academic among African countries.

Dr. Abubaker Wasswa Matovu who led the E-Just team around the University explained that the team was here to expose the available scholarship opportunities to Makerere University students basing on the good performance of the alumni of the University already on the program.

 They later interacted with the student community and explained the various areas where the students could benefit specifically the Scholarships that cover all aspects of academic and student welfare.