Petroleum Students in Makerere University on the Rise
Makerere University's department of Geology and petroleum studies is hoping to further promote the oil industry in the country given the increasing number of applicants for the course every new academic year, the head of department Geology and Petroleum Studies Dr. John Tiberindwa told East African Business Week.
Tiberindwa said though the equipment to facilitate the course are not enough, the department is optimistic about its increasing contribution to the petroleum sector in Uganda three years after its establishment.
For the first academic year, the university registered 45 students who are now in their third year about to complete the four-year programme. "The intake has been increasing over the years with the current in take for the academic year 2010/2011 at 80 students," Tiberindwa explained.
He said the departments are sometimes let down by the admission committee at the university. "Our expectation was to take a few students not more that 40 given the limited facilities and the field being new in the country," he explained.
With the limited facilities, the department has embarked on computers with software that is used to interprete data in geology. The department has also considered the start of a master's programme in the same field as it cannot be completed at the undergraduate level.
"The master's degree for specialty in petroleum studies will start the next academic year because geology is a wide field that needs more skills for an individual to compete favorably," Tiberindwa explained.
So far students have not yet travelled to the Albertine Graben where oil is expected to be drilled but the students in the third year will, have a two weeks trip to the region for project work.
To boost the department, Tiberindwa said that some of the lectures in the discipline have undergone training in petroleum with funding from the Norwegian government. "We expect some specialists from Norway who have given us grants to expand on the knowledge of lectures in the filed," he explained.
With few oil companies in the country, filed attachment is not limited to only oil companies but apply to all companies where basic geology is applied.
At the moment the course is wholly self sponsored although the department proposed to the university seeking for half sponsorship until now when it has not responded.
"We aim at training students for the entire world not basic all focusing on Uganda alone because petroleum is a discipline world over," Tiberindwa explained.
Alex Musisi a first year student of geology and petroleum studies said that he took on the course after realizing that there were few people skilled to take on jobs in the petroleum industry.