The wait continues for the long awaited opening of Tooro Royal University, more than a year after the kingdom premier, Steven Kaliba, announced the plans. Dr Kaliba now says he isn't sure when the university will open, since there is still a long way to go. He says that more than 700 million shillings is needed for the university to start operations.
The university was supposed to open its doors to students next month. After his appointment in 2013, Dr Kaliba revealed plans to establish the university.
Kaliba said that the kingdom would have Tooro Royal University up and running by early 2014. The idea was blessed by King Oyo who said it's high time the kingdom got a university like other kingdoms. He also said that since he has widely travelled, he will seek financial support from abroad to ensure that the university dream is realized.
But over a year after these pronouncements, Dr Kaliba says he isn't sure when the university will open, since there is still a long way to go. Kaliba says that more than 700 million shillings is needed for the university to start operations. He says that the funds will be used to renovate the Kingdom headquarters at Mucwa, where the university will be housed, recruiting lecturers and construction of hostels and staff houses.
Kaliba also says that stakeholders who include political leaders at local and national levels, central government officials and educationalists are still discussing plans to have the university in place.
The delay to establish the university has been received with mixed reactions. David Karamagi, a parent in Fort Portal, says that he had hoped the university in the Tooro region would eliminate the need to send his children to Kampala for studies. Karamagi says that he is struggling to pay for the education of his three sons in Kampala and Mbarara. He says that on top of university tuition, he is forced to meet hostel fees.
Karamagi, however, says that since the university project is a big venture, the kingdom should not rush until they have set up proper structures on how the university will be managed.
The Kingdom spends more than 300 million shillings sponsoring 500 students each academic year in other universities and tertiary institutions which include Uganda Pentecostal University (UPU), Mountains of the Moon University (MMU) and Kabarole Institute of Commerce among others through Tooro Education Concern, an NGO operating in the region.
The Kingdom chambers are currently being rented to Uganda Pentecostal University at 1.2 million shillings per month for its students offering bachelors and diplomas in law, Development Studies and Journalism and Mass Communication.
Early this month, Bunyoro Kitara Royal University opened. The university will offer training related to the oil sector.