HISTORY Historically, the quest for a public university in West Nile can be traced back to the 1970s when initial attempts by government to establish a public university in the region were hindered by the country’s turbulent past wars. The desire for a government supported university in the West Nile region continued to be expressed in various fora, both within and outside the region.
On 11th January 2007, His Excellency Yoweri Kakuta Museveni, the President of the Republic of Uganda met with a delegation of elders from the West Nile Region at his country home in Rwakitura, and the issue of a Public University in the region was brought to his attention in the memorandum presented to him. The President appreciated the request for a public University for the West Nile region and gave a go-ahead for the idea. He advised and tasked the leaders from the region to decide on good professional courses to be pursued at this institution of higher learning. The President’s positive gesture towards a university establishment in the West Nile region was followed by a number of consultative meetings held in Arua and in Kampala.
High level of appreciation of Government and enthusiasm for the establishment of a Public university in West Nile was shown. A committee was setup to develop a technical proposal for a public university in West Nile. The technical proposal was completed in July 2007 and presented to the President by the leadership of the West Nile Parliamentary group comprising Moyo, Arua, Yumbe, Adjumani, Nebbi and Koboko districts in September 2007.
A number of reasons were advanced to justify the establishment of a public university in West Nile region. Some of the factors, identified were; the remote geographical location with respect to the rest of the centres of Uganda’s economic hubs, the natural barriers created by the River Nile, the inherently limited access to economic resources and high poverty indicators amongst the largely peasant population, and the inequitable share in the distribution of institutions of higher education infrastructure in Uganda.
Another factor considered was the recurrence of epidemics like bubonic plague, meningitis, foot and mouth diseases, and hepatitis because of its vulnerable geographical boarder with the Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which have undergone years of civil wars and non functional governments. These key constraints undermine the economic progress and access to higher education by a large majority of the youth from the region and require urgent redressing.
Other factors that reinforce the rationale for an institution of higher learning for West Nile region include the large catchment population of over 50 million (both within and without Uganda) and the ready availability of the basic infrastructures in the existing educational institutions in the region that would provide the launch pad. There is also overwhelming and long-standing desire for a public University in the West-Nile region. Similarly, owing to the strategic location of the region in the context of the Great Lakes Region, the university would offer a unique opportunity for Regional Peace-building interventions, International trade-relations, health, economic empowerment, and educational services as an export commodity. The West Nile region therefore stands in a unique position to export skilled labour to the neighbouring countries by virtue of its geographical placement apart from serving national interests. The proposal for the establishment of a fully-fledged public university thus premised on the above justifications and rationale is in accordance with the procedures for establishment of public universities as set out in the provisions of the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act 2001 as amended. Having been convinced and satisfied with this proposal, the President expressed his unreserved CONSENT for the establishment of the Public University in his letter dated 12th May 2009, in which he directed the Hon Minister of Education and Sports to expedite the establishment of a fully fledged Public University in West Nile region.
Muni University has its main campus at Muni Hill, in the town of Arua, in Arua District, West Nile sub-region, Northern Uganda. The campus lies just south of Barifa Forest, approximately 5 kilometres (3.1 mi), by road, southeast of the central business district of Arua. This campus shares real estate with Muni National Teachers College, a 1,300 mixed teacher training college that might or might not be integrated into the university. The coordinates of the Arua Campus are:2° 59′ 33.00″N, 30° 55′ 35.00″E (Latitude:2.992500; Longitude:30.926390).
The second campus is located in the town of Okollo, Arua District, West Nile sub-region. Okollo is located approximately 58 kilometres (36 mi), by road, southeast of Arua, the largest city in the sub-region, on the Arua–Nebbi Highway.
The third campus is located in Bidibidi, in Yumbe District, approximately 75 kilometres (47 mi), by road, north of Arua.
Five academic programmes and four foundation courses are now under review by the National Council for Higher Education.
Proposed Degree programmes
Five technology-science based degree programmes for developing hands-on skills and competences in order to address gaps in vocational and science education, community health and information and telecommunications were developed. They are as follows:-
Bachelor of Science in Information & Communication Technology: This a programme, tailored to produce graduates with solid science foundation and skills in computer hardware and software designs, systems administration, database management, network administration and dynamic website and artificial intelligence development. They will be capable IT practitioners of international measure.
Bachelor of Information Systems: This is a programme designed to produce competent graduates capable of integrating Information and Telecommunications solutions with business processes and other enterprises.
Bachelor of Vocational and Technical Education: This is another very high priority programme. It is tailored to equip students with hands-on skills, through education, technical and production education components. Graduates from this programme will be job creators and able to impact skills in vocational institutions’ trainees and others.
Bachelor of Science with Education: This programme is tailored to contribute in producing qualified number of science teachers and practitioners.
Bachelor of Nursing Sciences: This programme is a shift from the traditional nurse trained as an assistant to the medical doctor, into a comprehensive and integrated clinician as well as community based practitioner, with critical thinking.
Cross-Cutting Courses were developed to provide additional foundation for undergraduate students. These courses are mandatory irrespective of the degree programmes offered by a registered student. They can also be offered by none degree students to enhance their social and life skills.
Peace and Ethics: This course shall impart ethical, moral values and peacefulness and humanness for better inter and intra-personal relations of individuals in society.
Communication and Study Skills: The course equips students in appropriate skills in effective analytical studying, critical thinking, general communication and scholarly writing.
Information and Communication Technology:As the basic framework for modern learning, teaching and global life skills, all new entrants into the university will be trained to acquire common knowledge on computing, software and managing virtual environment.
Entrepreneurship and Business Management: This course shall motivate, inspire, strengthen and build skills and competences in entrepreneurship and small businesses.