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A winning team: Bernard Onyango (R.I.P) and Gershom Eyoku (R.I.P)

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The two were part of the formidable team that oversaw the successful implementation of the affirmative action for more girls to attain University education in Uganda
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The Department of the Academic Registrar (AR) lost two former Academic Registrars, credited with laying a firm foundation for the Department. The late Bernard Onyango served in the Department from 1963 to 1992, first as a Deputy Registrar and later as Academic Registrar. He was laid to rest on Thursday 17th October 2013. The late Gershom Eyoku served in different capacities from August 1978 to Jan 1992, then as an Acting Academic Registrar until his retirement in June 1996. He was laid to rest on Friday 4th October 2013 in Asamuk, Amuria District.

Below is a tribute to them as told by a former workmate, Mr. James G. Okello, Deputy Registrar, Head of Senate Division. Mr. Okello had the privilege of working in the Academic Registrar’s Department under both men, who were a strong force; driving the Academic Registrar’s Department forward even throughout the turbulent political times of the 1970s.

Gershom EyokuOne of the most outstanding contributions of the late Bernard Onyango was the initiation of the 1.5 scheme to enable more female students’ access University education. Mr. James Okello recalls how a speech was drafted for the President to read out at the Graduation ceremony in…. Part of this speech emphasized that Makerere University should initiate a mechanism to ensure that more girls are admitted without compromising the merit system. Bernard Onyango was the brain behind this speech.

“He came to me and asked me to initiate a draft which he improved. Everything happened so fast because the late Onyango knew how to lobby. The speech was sent to the President a week before graduation. He approved the idea and read it out during the Friday graduation; which was the only day reserved for this ceremony then. On Saturday morning, Onyango came to my house. He was happy that the President had read the speech with the female scheme idea in it. He suggested that we head to office and start drafting a proposal for Senate to consider in the coming week,” recalls a jovial Mr. Okello who was then serving as Personal Assistant to Onyango. After drafting the document for Senate, the two went for a drink to celebrate this partial achievement. “There were no posh bars by then. We just went to a pub in the vicinity of the University and had a beer each,” adds the nostalgic Okello.

By combining his excellent lobbying skills and powers as Secretary to Senate, Onyango managed to get Senate to accept the proposal for the 1.5 additional points to female students applying for the Government scholarship. Then University Senate then tasked the Academic Registrar’s Department to detail how the scheme would work. The late Prof. William Ssenteza Kajubi who was then Vice Chancellor and Chair of Senate complemented the efforts of this great team by ensuring that this scheme was successfully implemented after all parties had been brought on board regarding its dynamics.

In the Academic Department was another brilliant and highly committed person, the late Mr. Gershom Eyoku, who was tasked with coming up with the mathematical formula on how exactly the scheme would work. “Eyoku was initially hesitant because he feared that the scheme would compromise the merit system, but after Onyango explained the intention and merits, he (Eyoku) got started on the math. He came up with the 1.5 points which were discussed at other fora and thereafter adopted,” explains Okello.

 

The Scheme took effect in 1990 and continues to significantly contribute to the increased enrolment of female students. The graduation records show that only about 25% of the graduands were female compared to 75% of their male counterparts prior to the scheme’s introduction. The pattern has changed drastically courtesy of this policy and the private admission scheme; for example, during the last graduation held in January 2013, the figures were 46.7% of female students compared to 53.3% of male students. The successful implementation at Makerere attracted other countries to come to Uganda to benchmark with Makerere. These countries; Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, have lowered admission cut-off points for female candidates.

As Academic Registrar, Bernard Onyango did not tolerate any examination malpractice. Culprits of the same (both students and staff) were dismissed if found guilty and also publicized in the press. Okello recalls that before exams started, Onyango would issue a strongly worded letter to all faculties cautioning against examination malpractice and stating that names of culprits would be publicized in the press.

“Onyango had a policy that University affairs should not be managed in the press and any negative stories about Makerere University in the press were treated as a tip for internal investigations to start. But when it came to examination malpractice, Mr. Onyango besides getting them dismissed from the university would publicize the names of the culprits in the national newspapers. This served as a big deterrent for those who would have otherwise been involved. We sometimes referred to him as IGG because he did not tolerate any form of malpractice,” asserts Okello.
Onyango in an effort to ensure that persons in leadership in the Academic Units are accountable to staff Members in their units, initiated a policy of election of Deans and Heads of Department. This practice is now enshrined in the universities and other tertiary institutions act and resulted in many young academician taking up leadership positions in the university. Initially such positions fell vacant after the departure by retirement or death of the Office bearers.

Onyango also worked hard to attract scholarships and would go to embassies and make a case for scholarships at Makerere. He was a leader who mentored some of the Vice Chancellors too and would encourage colleagues with leadership qualities to take up positions. He particularly encouraged all employees in the AR’s Department to read each and every document of the University, irrespective of its content or discipline. He emphasized that the team in AR’s Department had to be informed in order to ably contribute and give guidance to whatever was discussed in meetings.

“The pass mark was initially at 40%. He would encourage us to read what the situation was like in other universities and compare with Makerere. Eventually he initiated a policy that the pass mark be raised to 50% as was the practice in other first-class universities. He trained the late Eyoku to take up after him,” adds Okello.

With this continuity ball set rolling, the shift from Onyango to Eyoku was seamless. Onyango informed colleagues in the AR’s Department that he was going on leave but would not come back. That signaled his end of service, as he had clocked 60 and was due for retirement. It also paved way for the fruits he had sown in the Department to be tried and tested in the able leadership of Eyoku. “As a trained mathematician, Eyoku’s style of leadership was either a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No.’ He was highly principled,” explains Okello. “Mr Eyoku was actually approached by the Minister of Education by then to take up the mantle from Mr. Onyango but he declined explaining although he had amassed enough experience, he couldn’t fit in the big shoes Mr. Onyango left behind,” adds Okello.

The two men are remembered for having shown interest in all affairs of the University and were involved in almost all processes of the University right from admission of students, registration, graduation and teaching. 

Mr. Alfred Namoah is the current Academic Registrar, having joined the Department in 2000 as a Senior Assistant Registrar. He confirms that the late Onyango and the late Eyoku’s records are impeccable.

“They worked at a time when record management was a purely manual process with no aid of ICTs and yet they had a highly organized system of tracking all records. What they did is admirable,” asserts Namoah. The AR’s Department now handles bigger numbers of students compared to the times then.

“Onyango highly stood out in terms of all University processes, where he emphasized integrity at all levels.  Eyoku on the other hand had all the policies of the University on his finger tips. He knew the time a particular policy had come into effect and at what meeting of the Senate,” adds Namoah. This insight is also shared by Dr. Jessica Aguti, a senior lecturer in the College of Education and External Studies, who also doubles as a relative to the late Eyoku. ‘Eyoku is remembered for his sharp knowledge and memory of Senate minutes and was fondly referred to as the Senate encyclopedia,” she says. Eyoku is said to have guided senate by researching on various options and laying them before senate to make a decision. Most of the decisions were hardly challenged in the courts of law because they were well thought out and based on evidence.

The AR’s Department still upholds integrity as a core value. “You need people of high integrity to work here because we deal with very sensitive documents. There are students who will want to change their documents if they see a loophole in the system. I am glad that we have maintained our integrity. The team in the AR’s Department is highly professional, although there is need for improvement in customer care in some of our sections,” concludes Namoah.

Onyango and Eyoku certainly laid firm ground and set high standards.
Their legacies live on.   May their souls rest in eternal peace.

By Marion Alina
Public Relations Office

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Short Course Announcement: Fundamentals of Teaching and Learning

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The Lead Facilitator, Dr. Roy William Mayega (Left) takes participants through Instructional Design (ID) Training held from 29th January to 2nd February 2018. RAN Innovation Lab, ResilientAfrica Network (RAN), School of Public Health Annex, College of Health Sciences (CHS), Plot 28, House 30, Upper Kololo Terrace, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Many faculty members in Higher Education Institutions do not get pre-service training in teaching and learning before they start teaching. This means that they have to learn the ‘hard way’ on the job, and this often affects the quality of delivery. The Office of the Dean, Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH), in collaboration with the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, MakSPH, ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) and Institute of Open Distance and eLearning – Makerere University hereby announce the 2024 edition of the course titled: Fundamentals of Teaching and Learning. The course will run from Monday 29th July to Friday 2nd August 2024, only in the morning hours (08.00am – 11.30 am). The course will be delivered in dual mode: Both online (through the zoom platform) and face-to-face (at the RAN Lower Lab, MakSPH Annex in Kololo). The course is open to both junior and senior faculty members, research fellows, honorary lecturers and academic program administrators from Makerere University and other Universities wishing to enhance their teaching skills, with a view to improving teaching and learning.

Applying

Interested applicants are requested to send a short expression of interest that includes their designation, by email, to: Mr. Ivan Mutyaba, Administrator, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, using the following email address: imutyaba@musph.ac.ug. Admission will be on a first-come-first-served basis. Applicants should be ready to take off 5 mornings of intense work during the week indicated. Come and discover the frontiers of teaching and learning.

The Course Team

Course Lead: Dr. Roy William Mayega (MBChB, MPH, PhD), Senior Lecturer, Instructional Materials Designer/Editor, MPH DE Program, MakSPH; Lead the co-creation of instructional materials for the inaugural MPH DE Program

Course Facilitators

  1. Dr. Roy Gonzaga Mubuuke (PhD), Breast Radiology Specialist/Medical Education Consultant/Member HEPI Project Team
  2. Dr. Rovincer Najjuma (PhD), Senior Lecturer/Curriculum Specialist, College of Education and External Studies, Makerere University
  3. Dr. Suzanne Kiwanuka (PhD), Senior Lecturer/Chair Department of Health Policy, Planning & Management, MakSPH, College of Health Sciences, Makerere University
  4. Dr. Barbara Kirunda (PhD), Lecturer, Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, MakSPH, MakCHS, Field Coordinator, MPHDE Program
  5. Mr. Jude Oboth, IT Specialist, MakSPH; 12 years of professional experience managing large organizational computer networks
  6. Prof. Pauline Byakika (PhD), Professor of Medicine, Chair Department of Internal Medicine, MakSoM, MakCHS, Head, Mentorship Program MakCHS
  7. Dr. John Bosco Isunju (PhD), Lecturer, Department of Disease Control and Environmental Health, MakSPH, MakCHS; Head, COVID Task force on alternative assessment, MakSPH

Support Team

  • Ivan Mutyaba, Administrator, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics – Admin Support
  • Harriet Adong, Communications Specialist, ResilientAfrica Network and MakRIF – Course Communications lead
  • Wilson Abigaba, IT Specialist RAN and MakRIF – Course IT Support
  • Debbie Namirembe, Senior Administrator, RAN – Admin Support

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Mary Stuart Hall Rehabilitation Commences as VC Hands over Site to NEC

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The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (Centre) hands over a file to NEC Managing Director and CEO, Lieutenant General James Mugira (Left) as Ag. DVCFA, Prof. Henry Alinaitwe (Right) witnesses on 31st May 2024. Site Handover for the proposed rehabilitation of Mary Stuart Hall, Mary Stuart Road, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

The proposed rehabilitation of Mary Stuart Hall commenced on Friday 31st May 2024 with the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe handing over the site to the contractor National Enterprise Corporation (NEC) represented by Managing Director and CEO, Lieutenant General James Mugira. The first and largest female Hall of residence, Mary Stuart was completed in 1953 and named after wife to Bishop Simon Cyril Edgar Stuart, the Third Bishop of the Diocese of Uganda from 1932-1952. Mary Stuart worked hard for the betterment of women education during her time in Uganda.

Mary Stuart becomes the second student residence to undergo rehabilitation following the handover of Lumumba Hall to NEC on 27th June 2023. Both projects are fully funded by the Government of Uganda. And whereas Lumumba’s works cost UGX9billion, Mary Stuart’s will cost UGX10.5billion, and cover roof repairs, plumbing and electrical systems and installations overhaul, as well as external aesthetic works.

In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor thanked the President, H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and Government of Uganda for ensuring that funds for the long-awaited rehabilitation of student halls of residence are availed. In the same breath, he thanked the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Hon. Janet Museveni for not only inspecting the state of the halls on 19th January 2021 but also ensuring that funding for the halls rehabilitation project is prioritized.

Prof. Nawangwe commended NEC on being a professional contractor, noting that all matters arising out of previous projects had been handled within original budgets and time-frames.

Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (Left) and Lt. Gen. James Mugira (2nd Right) receive a guided tour of the Mary Stuart Hall site from Mrs. Winifred Kabumbuli (Right), Eng. Okuk Geoffrey Bright Owera (2nd Left) and other officials. Site Handover for the proposed rehabilitation of Mary Stuart Hall, Mary Stuart Road, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (Left) and Lt. Gen. James Mugira (2nd Right) receive a guided tour of the Mary Stuart Hall site from Mrs. Winifred Kabumbuli (Right), Eng. Okuk Geoffrey Bright Owera (2nd Left) and other officials.

“Now that we are in a girls’ hall, every detail matters. We must make this hall look like one that is going to house the future mothers and leaders of this nation so that when they leave, they feel that they have attended a leading university in the world” the Vice Chancellor advised NEC.

Prof. Nawangwe equally urged the Project Consultants led by Dr. Kenneth Ssemwogere, Senior Lecturer, Department of Architecture and Physical Planning, College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) to work with the contractor on ensuring that the project works and aesthetics give the hall a fresh new look.

On behalf of NEC, Lt. Gen. James Mugira thanked the Vice Chancellor and leadership of Makerere University for the trust and confidence shown in the Corporation’s capabilities, adding that he was happy as an alumnus of the School of Law to be back to contribute the development of his Alma mater. “This is the third project we are undertaking as the National Enterprise Corporation; we started with the perimeter wall, and we are now at Lumumba Hall where works are at 80-85% completion.”

Lt. Gen. Mugira therefore reassured the Management that NEC would do quality work and try as much as possible to complete the project in time, at a relatively lower cost than other contractors. “With NEC, we bring on board military discipline and we don’t have red tape or bureaucracies; once a decision has been taken, it has been taken” he clarified.

“I want to thank the Vice Chancellor for believing in and promoting local content, because NEC is a local company. With NEC engaging in such a project, we are first of all giving jobs to our young people, we are skilling them, we are saving foreign exchange that would otherwise be repatriated and as a country, we are building capacity” Lt. Gen. Mugira summed up.

Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (3rd Left) and Lt. Gen. James Mugira (4th Left) pose for a group photo with Left to Right: Ms. Ritah Namisango, Eng. Brian Buhanda, Mr. Yusuf Kiranda, Ms. Mary Gloria Nakajubi, Prof. Henry Alinaitwe, Eng. Okuk Geoffrey Bright Owera, Mrs. Winifred Kabumbuli, Mr. Rodney Rugyema and Ms. Norah Nalubowa. Site Handover for the proposed rehabilitation of Mary Stuart Hall, Mary Stuart Road, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (3rd Left) and Lt. Gen. James Mugira (4th Left) pose for a group photo with Left to Right: Ms. Ritah Namisango, Eng. Brian Buhanda, Mr. Yusuf Kiranda, Ms. Mary Gloria Nakajubi, Prof. Henry Alinaitwe, Eng. Okuk Geoffrey Bright Owera, Mrs. Winifred Kabumbuli, Mr. Rodney Rugyema and Ms. Norah Nalubowa.

The Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration), Prof. Henry Alinaitwe expressed happiness that the second phase of rehabilitation of halls of residence was finally taking off under the NEC, a contractor that had done quality work on other projects such as the new Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC) plant in Jinja.

He noted that the project will provide good grounds for hands-on industrial training for students of quantity surveying, architecture, civil engineering, and other disciplines. Prof. Alinaitwe further observed that the project accords staff the opportunity to not only improve their professional profiles but also practice as consultants within the university premises, “and so we thank the Vice Chancellor for availing us these opportunities.”

The University Secretary and former Guild President, Mr. Yusuf Kiranda shared that the University Leadership looks forward to the rehabilitation works being expedited. “The current student leaders have challenged us that they would like to be around for the commissioning of the finished product and so I hope that we can finish these works and give them an opportunity to account to their electorate.

Prior to the handover ceremony, the parties were taken on a guided tour of the site by the Director, Estates and Works Department, Eng. Okuk Geoffrey Bright Owera, Dean of Students, Mrs. Winifred Kabumbuli, Warden Mary Stuart Hall, Ms. Norah Nalubowa and a host of other officials accompanied by the Chairlady Mary Stuart Hall, Ms. Mary Gloria Nakajubi.

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Prof. Hisali, Prof. Yawe handover office to Prof. Bbaale, Prof. Wokadala

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In a vibrant ceremony brimming with nostalgia and optimism, College of Business and Management Sciences-Makerere University (CoBAMS) celebrated the transition of leadership from the accomplished hands of Prof. Eria Hisali and Prof. Bruno L. Yawe to the promising stewardship of Prof. Edward Bbaale and Prof. James Wokadala on Friday 31st May 2024.

The event, attended by esteemed members of the university community, including representatives from the Vice Chancellor’s office and members of the Central Management Team, was a testament to the collaborative spirit and dedication that have come to define CoBAMS. The outgoing Principal, Prof. Eria Hisali, and Deputy Principal, Prof. Bruno Yawe, were lauded for their eight years of service, during which they significantly advanced the college’s academic and infrastructural capabilities.

A Legacy of Excellence

Prof. Hisali’s farewell address highlighted the numerous achievements under his leadership. He proudly noted the establishment of strategic partnerships and collaborations that have greatly benefited the college. “Our MoU with Stellenbosch University provided full PhD scholarships for four Academic Staff Members, while our partnership with Wageningen University in the Netherlands supported PhD training for two Staff Members. Additionally, the Republic of Korea’s embassy in Uganda granted three PhD scholarships,” he remarked.

Assoc Prof. Bruno Yawe (Left) handing over to incoming Deputy Principal Dr. James Wokadala.

These collaborations extended to notable institutions such as ACCA, Prudential Uganda, Addis Ababa University, The University of Rwanda, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, and the University of Dar es Salaam, reflecting CoBAMS’ commitment to internationalization and academic excellence. Prof. Hisali also mentioned the development of a Quality Assurance Framework and significant infrastructural proposals, including a new block pending government funding.

The outgoing Principal shared impressive statistics: a fivefold increase in publications from 30 in 2017 to 150 in 2023, expansion of wireless internet coverage to over 90% of the college, and a significant rise in PhD holders among the academic staff to 60%.

Prof. Yawe appreciated all the academic, administrative and support staff that supported his leadership throughout the 8 years of service.

Looking Ahead

Prof. Edward Bbaale, the incoming Principal, expressed his vision to elevate CoBAMS as a global leader in innovative teaching, research, and policy engagement. With over two decades at CoBAMS, including eight years as Dean of the School of Economics, he emphasized his commitment to continuing the progress made by his predecessors. He pledged to prioritize graduate training, faculty research, and the commercialization of innovations, alongside strategic financial initiatives such as the College Endowment Fund.

Prof. Eria Hisali receiving a token of appreciation from memebers of the Administrative Staff at MakCoBAMS.

Prof. James Wokadala, the new Deputy Principal, acknowledged the substantial achievements of the outgoing leaders and outlined his plans to build on their legacy. He aims to foster a supportive and engaging environment by establishing a gym for staff and creating a Savings and Credit Cooperative Organization (SACCO).

Heartfelt Farewells and New Beginnings

The ceremony featured heartfelt speeches from various stakeholders, celebrating the contributions of Prof. Hisali and Prof. Yawe. Dr. Susan Namirembe Kavuma, representing the academic staff, praised the outgoing leaders for their unwavering support and urged the new administration to continue fostering a conducive environment for teaching and learning. Ms. Caroline Nanono Jjingo, on behalf of the administrative staff, echoed these sentiments, appreciating the open and inspirational leadership style of Prof. Hisali and Prof. Yawe. “Throughout their tenure, they have resonated the words of Henry Ross Perot, who said that “Lead and inspire people. Don’t try to manage and manipulate people. Inventories can be managed but people must be led.”  She said.

Outgoing Principal Eria Hisali and outgoing Deputy Principal Bruno Yawe cut cake.

The Deputy University Secretary, Mr. Simon Kizito, provided sage advice to the incoming leaders, emphasizing the importance of openness to feedback, leading by example, and maintaining accountability. He reminded them that failure is an inevitable part of leadership and encouraged them to learn from it while prioritizing self-care.

On their part, the support staff appreciated the outgoing leadership for their open door policy and willingness to support all staff especially those experiencing life challenges. Quoting Ecclesiastes 3:1, Mr Joseph Ikarokot said there was a season for everything and staff were privileged to have worked with the duo.

A Promising Future

As the new leadership team embarks on their journey, they carry forward a legacy of excellence and a vision for a brighter future. With their extensive experience and commitment to innovation and collaboration, Prof. Bbaale and Prof. Wokadala are well-positioned to steer CoBAMS toward greater achievements and global recognition.

The ceremony concluded with a celebratory cake-cutting, gifts from the administrative staff, and a reaffirmation of the college’s enduring spirit of unity and progress. The new era at CoBAMS promises continued growth and success, building on the solid foundation laid by Prof. Hisali and Prof. Yawe.

Some of the staff memebers who were present at the handover ceremony.

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