UCU course focuses on bird tourism
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2021/03/ucu-course-focuses-on-bird-tourism/
By Dalton Mujuni
In 1907, British explorer Winston Churchill visited Uganda. His visit gave birth to his book, My African Journey, a year later. In the book, Churchill detailed the beauty of nature that he had met in Uganda. And that was not all. He also concluded that Uganda is, indeed, the Pearl of Africa.
And the African Wildlife Foundation confirms Churchill’s assertion. The continental wildlife body says Uganda has more than half of all the bird species in Africa. The Uganda Wildlife Authority puts the figure at 1,070 species.
The allure of Uganda’s birder paradise attracted the attention of the Uganda Christian University (UCU) School of Business, which recently established a course in birding. The new course, which will yield a certificate in birding, started on February 5. Up to 30 students in this first course are learning the economic potential of the birding industry, important bird areas of Uganda, professional bird guiding as a career, marketing bird watching locally and globally, establishing and running a birding tour company, and conservation and protection of bird habitats.
The two-month course is part of the sh238m (about $65,000) grant that the UCU School of Business won from the Private Sector Foundation Uganda.
During the project’s recent info-day held at the university, UCU Vice Chancellor Assoc. Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi said the university is the first in Uganda to offer higher education knowledge and skill for bird industry professionals.
“This is a big step in building UCU to keep its might as the center of excellence in the heart of Africa,” Mushengyezi said.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the Rev. Dr. John Kitayimbwa, said the birding course is practical and that it will enable tourism students and other interested learners to explore the industry.
“We are reengineering the structure of tourism by recruiting industrial lecturers to whom students will be attached to study for one-and-a-half years,” he said.
Kitayimbwa also revealed that the university has put in place an online teaching infrastructure that will enable students studying the course to attend it from anywhere.
The Dean of the School of Business, Martin Lwanga, said they have hired Johnnie Kamugisha, one of the country’s top bird guides, to train the first cohort of students.
During the info-day, Kamugisha showcased the cameras, spotting scope, notebook, sound recorder, binoculars, and bottles that he said he will be using while teaching the course.
Lwanga said the new program is expected to create jobs for the UCU graduates. The UCU School of Business offers a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism and Hospitality, under which the birding course will fall, in the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship.
To support Uganda Christian University programs, students, activities and services, go to www.ugandapartners.org and click on the “donate” button, or contact UCU Partners Executive Director, Mark Bartels, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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