By: Prof. Richard E. Trull, Jr., Phd, LIU Vice Chancellor
The vision for starting a Christian university in East Africa goes back to the 1990s as missionaries began to discuss the need for more formal leadership training. A number of us were discussing the need for such an institution in East Africa that could offer a higher education to the average East African family. It would not be until 2006 in Mbale, Uganda, that missionaries there would begin the arduous task of laying the ground work with the Ugandan education authorities for establishing what would become known as LivingStone International University (LIU).
The current population of East Africa is over 370 million, based on the latest United Nations’ estimates. East Africa has a larger population than the United States’ population of 325 million. Uganda has a population of 36 million of which 70% are under the age of 24. Even more stunning is that 48.3% of Uganda’s population is 0 – 14 years old. From this young population, only 1.6 students out of every 1,000 people in Uganda are able to enter university studies, and only 4.4 students out of 1,000 people in Uganda are able to enroll in any kind of post-secondary studies, public or private. This is compared to about 100 for every 1,000 for most African countries. Kasozi, in a report entitled
Access and Equity to Higher Education in Uganda: Whose children attend university and are paid for by the State?” writes concerning the 4,000 state-sponsored students: “…studies in the 1990s showed that some 60 – 80% of Ugandan students who enter public universities for whom tuition and accommodation is paid by the state, come from wealthy families.
When it comes to higher education in Uganda, most students come from the Central Region (34.4%) followed by the Western Region (30.5%). The Eastern Region (18%) and the larger Northern Region (17%) make up only one third of all university students. This means students around Mbale have a reduced chance of entering university. The few students who do get to attend university are herded into large public institutions where class sizes are very large and resources spread thin. There is a great need for a high quality Christian university in the Northeastern Region of Uganda. Such a university provides much needed educational resources. Uganda is highly religious as the following statistics indicate — Roman Catholic 41.9%, Protestant 42%, Muslim 12.1%, other 3.1%, none 0.9%. This points to the need for a Christian institution of higher education to provide opportunities for the growing population of youth to gain a university education.
LIU exists to transform Africa through quality, Christ-centered higher education through providing ethical, empowered, employable Christians in every sector of African society and even beyond. Our intention is to be a recognizably Christian institution known for integrity, perseverance, faithfulness, service, and love for all people. We aim for superior international standards for scholarship and achievement to facilitate greater employment opportunities at the highest levels. We direct our students toward God’s mission in the world, a mission of creating, healing, building, loving, teaching, serving, and saving for community transformation.
We ask for your prayers and support to fulfill this vision for God’s glory. Please feel free to contact us if you have potential students for LIU or if you would like to partner with us in providing a high-quality Christian education in East Africa.