Five high school students emerged winners in a tourism essay writing competition sponsored by Unicaf University. The best essay was written by Mohammed Shabir from Greenhill Academy who won a full scholarship to Unicaf University, $150 (about Shs540,000) and a tablet.
In the competition titled 'The Pearl Reimagined: A Visual Tour Through Uganda's Stunning Landscapes', Janet Kisaakye from Buddo Secondary School was also given a full scholarship to Unicaf University, $100 (about Shs360,000) and a tablet.
Hakim Katamba, also from Buddo Secondary School, got 90% scholarship to Unicaf University, $100 and a tablet, while Gilbert Kyamaanyi and Sebastian Amani Buyungo, both from St. Henry's College Kitovu were given $100 each.
60 schools from across the country participated in the competition. Dorothy Mukimba, senior marketing manager at Unicaf, said the competition was based on tourism because it is a key sector and the leading foreign exchange earner in Uganda.
Dr. Aggrey Musoke from Unicaf, who also participated in the assessment of the students, said they displayed an "incredible" understanding of nature and took time to do research.
Mukimba said such initiatives offer opportunities to "tell our story from our perspective".
Prof. George Nasinyama, the vice chancellor of Unicaf University, said the institution, which was registered by National Council for Higher Education in 2021, has its mother university in Cyprus, so "the quality of what we do must meet the quality of Europe."
He urged Ugandans to embrace online education because of its flexibility and being more cost-friendly than going to the lecture room physically.
"Our model of education puts the student at the center of learning... student-centered," he said, adding that the essay was one of the many activities they do to engage the community about the university's vision and mission.
The essay was endorsed by the Ministry of Education and Sports and it looked to ignite creativity, critical thinking, and a profound appreciation for Uganda's breathtaking natural beauty among the country's young talents.
Participants were encouraged to showcase their unique visions of Uganda's awe-inspiring landscapes, using their creative flair to narrate captivating visual stories. This competition provided a platform for students to express their artistic talents while competing for remarkable rewards and recognition.
A panel of distinguished internal and external commissioners, comprising accomplished educators, writers, and professionals, meticulously evaluated each submission to identify the most exceptional talents.
Students were given their prizes on Friday morning, August 4 at the Kampala Serena Hotel. Francis Mugoga, the director and principal of the Tourism Institute of East Africa, urged the government to market the tourism sector because of the immense opportunities it has.