For the first time ever, more female students will graduate from Makerere University this week than male students, it was announced yesterday. The revelation, made on the 60th graduation ceremonies at the countrys largest university, affirms the governments long-running efforts to give female students more access to higher education. Out of the 13,677 students graduating this year, 50.4 per cent (6,936) are female. For good measure, the best overall student this year is female. Ms Emmerentian Mbabazi was top of the lot, graduating with a bachelors degree in construction management from the Faculty of Technology. Her cumulative Grade Point Average of 4.88 was only shy of the maximum total of five and the star student attributed her success to God. I feel happy and lost for words, said Ms Mbabazi, who received a cash award of Shs500,000 for her feat. I worked hard and prayed a lot and God decided to do it for me. Everyone is faced with different challenges but no one should ever give up working hard because it pays. Mbabazis mother, Ms Florence Tinkumanya, attributed her daughters success to good discipline and the fear of God saying: Mbabazi is a disciplined and hard-working girl who fears God. Ms Emily Maractho, an economics lecturer who taught Ms Mbabazi in first year, had a more worldly explanation for her success. Mbabazi never missed classes and her performance sends a message that hard work pays, Ms Maractho told this newspaper. There is nothing unique about sciences; its just interest because they are not made of a different material. Education minister Namirembe Bitamazire said: This is an affirmative action that targets to emancipate women. Every government organ must have a 40 per cent of women and now that they are getting into the professional areas like technology, it will contribute to the development of the country. When we have educated mothers it means we will have healthy and educated families, she added. Female students get an extra1.5 points to help them join public universities.