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US Govt to Fund Oil Training Programs At MUK

The U.S. government has embarked on a process to create new advanced degree and short-term training programs in the oil and gas sector at Makerere University.
The U.S. government has embarked on a process to create new advanced degree and short-term training programs in the oil and gas sector at Makerere University.

The programs focus on environmental management and biodiversity conservation in relation to the current developments in the new extractive industry in Uganda.

 

Currently, Makerere University only offers a Bachelor of Science program in Petroleum Geosciences and Production that was initiated in 2009 as well as Masters of Science in Petroleum Geosciences, which was introduced two months ago.

 

Tracey Miller, a Contracting Officer at United States Agency for International Development – USAID – says the agency is drafting a Statement of Work for the procurement of services for the project named Education for Environmentally Sound Oil Management that it seeks to apply at Makerere University.

 

Miller says the program is planned to introduce Post-Graduate, Masters of Science and PhDs to build the capacity of current and future Ugandan professionals, academic institutions, government, civil society among others on sound environmental management and biodiversity conservation in relation to oil and gas development.

 

The program is also expected to support the development and implementation of a complementary research program for professors and students to improve the environmental performance of oil and gas operations, minimize harm to biodiversity, and maximize opportunities for conservation where oil and gas resources are developed.

 

The statement from USAID soliciting responses from potential contractors to implement the project indicates that an assessment would be done on the current capacity of Makerere University and other relevant educational institutions to offer training that emphasizes biodiversity conservation and proper management of impacts of oil and gas.

 

The support by the US government is the second to Makerere University after the one million dollar project funded by the Norwegian government under the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation – NORAD that was initiated in August to support a master’s program in Petroleum and Geosciences.  The one million dollar project supports five students with full scholarships of the masters program. John Vianney Tiberindwa, the Head of the Geology and Petroleum Studies department, told Uganda Radio Network that the cost of the masters program is about five million shillings per year.

 

Tiberindwa has described the interventions as timely considering that the pioneers of a degree program in Petroleum geosciences, which was launched in 2009, have just graduated.

 

He also explained that Makerere University was the first in the entire East African region to introduce an advanced study program on petroleum science. Until now, Ugandans and indeed East Africans interested in studying petroleum geosciences would travel overseas.

The US is currently considered the world’s third largest oil producer after Russia and Saudi Arabia, according to the fact book by Central Intelligence Agency. Until it begins oil production, Uganda will wait to join the list of the oil producers.