SPEECH BY H.E. YOWERI KAGUTA MUSEVENI, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA, AT THE LAYING OF THE FOUNDATION STONE FOR THE AGA KHAN ACADEMY OF EXCELLENCE (DELIVERED BY VICE PRESIDENT PROFESSOR GILBERT BUKENYA ON BEHALF OF PRESIDENT MUSEVENI) (KAMPALA, UGANDA)
22 August 2007
I would like to welcome His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan to Uganda. Please receive our hearty congratulations to your Highness upon the Golden Jubilee as spiritual leader of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims.
His Highness the Aga Khan has made significant contribution towards the social and economic development of this country. Uganda is proud to be associated with the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), of whose initiatives we are great beneficiaries. Institutions like the Aga Khan Schools, Diamond Trust and Jubilee Insurance Company have not only offered services to Ugandans but also availed employment. Together with some other recent projects, these institutions have brought a difference in the lives of our communities.
The Aga Khan Development Network’s longstanding partnership with the government of Uganda, particularly in the areas of education, rural support and economic development must, therefore, be applauded.
The laying of the foundation stone for the Aga Khan Academy of Excellence is a very significant milestone in yet one of your very important contributions to the development of the human resource. I am glad to note that the celebration of this Golden Jubilee in Uganda is not mere jamboree, but is instead lined with significant development projects – the Aga Khan Academy and the Bujagali Hydro-power Project
Allow me to register our profound appreciation for the confidence you have placed in Uganda, making massive investments and boosting our economy. The establishment of a Diplomatic Mission in Uganda for the Aga Khan is a demonstration of, and has further consolidated the confidence the Uganda Government has in the engagements of the Aga Khan Development Network in Uganda. This relationship has a very bright future indeed.
I would like to hail His Highness the Aga Khan for choosing Kampala as the site for this Academy. This brings to our locality a wealth of education experience that will offer the best contemporary services. Uganda will certainly benefit from your long-standing partnerships with universities such as Harvard, Oxford and Toronto, as well as renowned college preparatory schools. The student-centred approach to learning and internationally recognized curriculum this Academy has to offer are an important tool in the orientation of our region towards globalization.
It is important that as we educate our children, we impart to them practical skills that shall be beneficial to their wellbeing for life. Gone are the days when one had to wait for a white collar office job as the sole means of earning an income. We must train job creators, not job seekers. The NRM Government places great emphasis on career guidance for our young people in order for them to acquire marketable skills, but also to be able to be functional in this fast-developing and ever-changing world. The Aga Khan Academy of Excellence is surely geared towards this end; and I salute you.
While primary and secondary school enrollment shows that gender disparity continues to exist in most regions of the world, Uganda acknowledges the need to offer equal education opportunities to boys and girls. Government, therefore, uses affirmative action in order to increase the chances of education for our young women at University, while offering Universal Primary and Secondary education.
The commitment of the Aga Khan Academies to the professional development of teachers, whose programmes shall be available to faculties of other public and private schools, is an enormously valuable resource for Uganda’s education. The linkage between the academy and other educational institutions shall definitely have a multiplier effect not only nationally, but regionally.
Within the East African region, as we move towards a Political federation this Academy comes in at a very opportune time. Uganda has always been the hub of excellence in education.
We pride in this Academy not just as Uganda, but as East Africa, as we shall network with the sister Academies in the region.
Government shall give you full support and cooperation as we work together in the noble cause of human resource development through Education.
Once again, Your Highness, allow me to express our gratitude for this kind gesture of making this noble investment in Uganda.