LETICIA KOMBA RWAKIJUMA, OLIVE LUNYOLO
Higher education is important in fostering knowledge production and innovation, and in attracting global government investment. However, in developing nations like Uganda, the surging demand for higher education strains government funding for universities, with private universities being more affected. Thus, private-public partnerships (PPPs) have emerged as a remedy to ease financial burdens. Nonetheless, it is uncertain whether private universities in Uganda have embraced PPPs. Our purpose was to explore the prospects of mobilising financial resources through PPPs by private universities in Uganda. We specifically aimed at exploring the possibilities for mobilising resources through PPPs and the conditions necessary for effectively mobilising resources through PPPs by private universities. Using a qualitative research approach with a descriptive design, we conducted interviews with PPP experts from both private and public universities. We analysed data by coding, categorising and thematising. Our findings revealed various PPP possibilities, including securing facilities, utilising staff services from public institutions, securing government grants and strengthening the existing chartered private universities. We found, too, that conditions for effective PPPs were unfavourable in terms of the legal framework, government support to private universities, willingness to partner, transparency, accountability, partnering skills and the economic environment. We concluded that private universities in Uganda have shown minimal engagement in PPPs, as conditions necessary for them to mobilise resources through PPPs were unfavourable. We recommend that private universities in Uganda should actively embrace PPPs with strong government support to address resource gaps and leverage additional resources to strengthen their position in advancing knowledge and innovation, thus enhancing their contribution to national development.
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