Saturday, 4 July 2009
IUIU: Uganda's Beacon Islamic University
The Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU) has established itself as an educational beacon for people from all across Africa, with its graduates reaching high academic levels and serving at prominent positions around the globe.
"The Islamic University plays a very important role in providing a world class education in Africa within both the broad sphere of circular and religious studies," Rector Dr. Ahmed Kawaase Sengendo told IslamOnline.net.
"Our academic record is unquestionable."
Financed by the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), the university was established in 1988 to serve the English-Speaking African Muslim community in Southern and Eastern Africa.
But since then the mission has expanded as the institution continued to welcome students from across the continent and beyond.
Dr. Sengendo says that the number of student enrolment, which began with only 80 students in1988, keeps growing every year.
The university has graduated more than 7000 students in different disciplines including Islamic studies, Arabic, law, science, arts and social sciences.
Sengendo noted that while the university initially started with a single campus at Mbale in eastern Uganda, it has since grown to four campuses.
"We have established the four campuses so that students easily access our services at their home towns. Unlike previously when students had to travel to the main campus," he explained.
And although the university focused in its early years on serving African Muslims, it is open to both Muslims and non-Muslims.
"Although we are an Islamic founded institution, we are also open to Christian students who wish to join our institution."
The university officials are proud that their students have carried the knowledge they had gained to different parts of the world.
"Our university is recognized world over and most of our students are always given admissions to study their Masters and PHDs at leading world universities in Europe and America," says Dr. Sengendo.
"Our graduates have maintained good performances in the labor market."
For many graduates, the passion for learning and the multicultural environment they experienced in the IUIU were a success recipe.
"It was a great experience for me to study at a highly respectable institution which has good academic and moral standards," Imaan Faith Maleka, a South African who works in a leading communication firm in Cape Town, told IOL.
Maleka was inspired by fellow colleagues who came from different countries.
Matovu Abdallah Twaha, a senior reporter for the Gulf Today newspaper in the United Arab Emirates, agrees.
"I recall the good days we enjoyed at IUIU," Twaha, who studied journalism from 1997-2002, told IOL in a telephone interview from the UAE.
"The lecturers were very friendly. And students treated each other as one family without segregation of which country or religion one belongs to."
Abdifatah Shafat, a Kenyan graduate, shares the same appreciation for the Islamic University.
"I have learnt a lot academic, cultural and religious wise. It was a great experience for me."
Shafat, who is currently pursing his master’s degree in the US, is still in touch with his former colleagues from different countries.
"IUIU was like a second home to me."