The Minister of Education and Sports, Ms Janet Museveni, has said the culture of inciting students to strike is costing graduates better employment opportunities.
In a speech read for her by the State minister for Higher Education, Dr John Chrysostom Muyingo at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) during the 23rd graduation ceremony at the weekend, Ms Museveni said strikes have created a bad reputation on some education institutions and their products.
“I wish to recognise that you (MUST) have desisted from strikes, saving you from the bad reputation now affecting many who seek employment. You have remained a highly valued institution of higher learning maintaining and training of targeted and required members of the workforce because of discipline,” said Ms Museveni.
On his part, Dr Muyingo said employers nowadays admire discipline. He added that government will employ all means necessary to end strikes in higher institutions of learning.
“I have interacted with employers on several platforms and they tell me, if you want a good doctor, go to an institution that has not been ruined by this culture of strikes. The quality that an employer is admiring today is discipline,” said Dr Muyingo.
He warned leaders of higher institutions of learning against compromising with indisciplined staff and students, saying: “You should discipline staff, lecturers and students. As government, we will employ all means to ensure that those who incite others to strike are punished,” said Dr Muyingo.
Makerere University was recently closed for two months on orders of President Museveni after a series of strikes by students and lecturers.
However, Buhweju MP Francis Mwijukye who was among the graduands said strikes in higher institutions of learning will continue as long as government does not consider education among its priorities.
“…Unless government prioritises education, everyone in this sector including support staff will always strike, and it’s their right,” said Mr Mwijukye.
MUST vice chancellor Prof Celestino Obua said the university remains committed to offering programmes relevant and critical to the development of the country.
A total of 1,189 students graduated with degrees and diplomas in several disciplines. Eight were awarded PhDs.