UCU’s Kitayimbwa appointed chairperson of a not-for-profit organization
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2023/06/ucus-kitayimbwa-appointed-chairperson-of-a-not-for-profit-organization/
By Kefa Senoga
The Rev. Assoc. Prof. John Kitayimbwa, the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs at Uganda Christian University (UCU), has been appointed the chairperson of a Ugandan not-for-profit organization that facilitates research and education networking. The appointment of Kitayimbwa to the apex position of the board of the Research and Education Network for Uganda (RENU) happened during a recent retreat for the board of directors of the organization.
At the same retreat, Prof. Janice Desire Busingye, the Deputy Vice Chancellor Finance and Administration at Kampala International University, was appointed to the position of Deputy Chairperson of the RENU board.
The member-based organization founded in 2006 was established to end the extreme isolation of Uganda’s researchers and higher education practitioners from their national, regional and global peers, through the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.
The organization, which now has over 500 campuses connected to its network, is Uganda’s National Research and Education Network, and supports the needs of the research and education communities. Among the member organizations of RENU are schools, tertiary institutions, universities and research organizations.
Kitayimbwa said connectivity through RENU has afforded the agency access to vast information and resources, facilitated communication and collaboration and enabled the use of online education and research tools. He also mentioned the opportunity to share education and research infrastructure across Ugandan institutions, and facilitating the easier dissemination of education materials and research findings as some of the other benefits the member organizations have realized.
Kitayimbwa, a computational biologist, replaces Ugandan technologist Eng. Dr. Dorothy Okello, who held the position from 2020 to 2023. During the same period, Kitayimbwa was Okello’s deputy on the RENU board. Okello is the Dean of Makerere University’s School of Engineering.
Kitayimbwa, a highly qualified professional in education and research, now becomes the second administrator from UCU to hold the position at RENU. Former Vice Chancellor, the Rev. Prof. Stephen Noll, was RENU chairperson from 2008 to 2011. Other past RENU board chairpersons are Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba (2011-2014) and Prof. Michel Lejeune (2014-2020).
According to Kitayimbwa, who is a priest in the Anglican church in Uganda, when Vice Chancellors of universities and Chief Executive Officers of research institutions formed RENU in 2006, the initial but very important challenge that they sought to address was the provision of reliable and affordable connectivity to research and education institutions in Uganda.
And it seems some progress has been made. “In addition to the reliable connectivity, RENU has also ensured that the bandwidth unit price drops and becomes more affordable. From a bandwidth unit cost of approximately $630 ($/Mbps/Month) in 2013, RENU has ensured a steady drop in pricing as more members have joined the network,” Kitayimbwa wrote in his message to member organizations following his appointment.
He explained further: “Today, the bandwidth unit cost is only 6% of what it was in 2013. This means that if an institution spends exactly the same amount of money that they were spending in 2013 on connectivity and bandwidth, it is able to enjoy a service that is 16 times better than what it was in 2013 for the same cost.”
Kitayimbwa holds a PhD in Computational Biology, an MPhil in Computational Biology, a Master’s in Mathematical Sciences and a BSc in Science with Education. For the more than 17 years that Kitayimbwa has worked as a university lecturer and administrator, he says he has developed passion for the development of science, technology and innovation.
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