Questions are being asked if the recent scrapping of tourism-related courses by Uganda’s main university, Makerere University, is another sign that the sector is poorly understood and only the focus of lip service by government and its organizations.
Late last week, news emerged from the ivory tower that tourism and conservation-related bachelor degree courses would be axed from by the university administration, including – but not restricted to – three-year studies on conservation biology, wildlife health and management, environmental journalism, travel and tourism management, hospitality and leisure management, and catering and hotel management.
New students expressed their dismay over the decision, after setting their sights on joining one of these courses and then starting a career in the tourism industry after graduation, as they may now have to join one of the private universities, which continue to offer such courses, albeit at times with lesser credentials and acceptance in the marketplace. It was learned that these courses would be “wrapped into one or two post-graduate diploma courses,” but would no longer be available as a bachelor degree course.
Meanwhile, the row has ignited again between the main university and Makerere University Business School, which is often at loggerheads with the main administration, when MUBS announced that they will continue to offer some of the courses scrapped on the main campus, such as hospitality and leisure management, as the courses “are in demand” and “profitable.”
Questions were also raised if the discontinuation of these courses was done after due consultations with employers or the tourism industry, which has in the past often asked for more rather than less courses and training opportunities, focused on quality, hands-on training, and relevant course content to make graduates immediately employable.