As Makerere University continues to perfect her status as a research-led university, supervision of graduate students has been identified as a key contributor and therefore given priority in terms of capacity building initiatives. It is in this spirit that the Quality Assurance Directorate (QAD) and the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training (DRGT) with support from Sida have organized a three-day training workshop to share best practices with supervisors of graduate students at Makerere University.
Speaking at the launch of the workshop yesterday Wednesday, 6th May 2015, the Director Quality Assurance, Dr. Vincent Ssembatya welcomed all participants and facilitators to the workshop and noted that Makerere ought to understand and appreciate the attributes of being a research-led university and constantly attune her activities and processes accordingly.
“We have interpreted being research-led as producing more than 50PhDs at graduation and attaining 30% graduate student enrolment. However, the Higher Education Summit in Dakar has identified Makerere University as one of the flagship universities in Africa which should have 50% of the enrollment as graduate students. This means we are going to be pushed even further and supervision is going to become a big enterprise” noted Dr. Ssembatya.
The workshop is therefore aimed at creating a platform for supervisors to interact with facilitators from the College of Education and External Studies (CEES) so as to help preempt hurdles in the path of graduate students, share best practices and put in place measures to implement them across the various academic units. The Sida-funded workshop will bring together 35 supervisors from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), College of Health Sciences (CHS) and the College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) to receive training and make recommendations on how to boost graduate completion rates.
Makerere University currently has approximately 700 registered PhD students and annually graduates 70 PhDs, which represents only 10% of the population compared the international average of 20%. The cause of the low completion rates has been attributed to the poor relationship between the supervisor and student among other factors, hence the need for interventional pedagogical graduate student support training sessions to help boost graduation figures to at least 120 PhDs per year.
The first facilitator of the Day and Dean-School of Education, Dr. Betty Ezati who shared on the workshop expectations noted that it was important to provide a point of reflection on how well supervisors had performed and where positive performance had been registered, identify ways of making it even better, and eventually adopt systematic ways of training in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). She noted that the workshop was also an avenue to share experiences between senior supervisors with longer experience and their junior colleagues with lesser experience. Continuous professional development that facilitates both academic and professional growth was another expectation shared by Dr. Ezati “There is a need to integrate the problem-based learning model as practiced by the College of Health Sciences into teaching practices across other colleges in order to create an environment where both students and lecturers are lifelong learners benefitting from each others’ experiences.”
Facilitating the “Purpose of Graduate Learning” session, Prof. Charles Opolot Okurut contemplated whether last century’s graduates are equipping 21st Century students with relevant skills, especially in the face of rapid technological evolution. He then proceeded to share the aims and goals of graduate training as: to prepare graduates for a lifetime of gainful employment; to produce graduates who will become productive citizens; to provide specialised knowledge, skills and independent experiences; to gain competence in the use of analytical skills such as critical thinking; to remain competitive in the job market, among others.
Prof. Opolot then shared the following as necessary skills for the 21st Century: the ability to shift jobs and careers more frequently combined with adaptability in acquiring new job skills; Science and Mathematics skills as well as fluency in information and communication technologies; the ability to continuously engage in lifelong learning so as to update both education and job skills; ability to conduct experiments and present results using suitable techniques; ability to learn a set of novel literacy skills based on new media, among others. He however shared low completion rates, academic writing and inability to balance time as key challenges that continue to affect graduate training.
The training which will close on Friday 8th May 2015 with a certificate of participation award ceremony also received feedback from participants key among which included;
• The need to identify different strengths of students and use them to improve their learning experiences
• Creation of a regular non-academic platform where students can freely interact with supervisors as a way of building rapport
• Maximum utilization of systems in place such as the graduate tracking tool www.gradtrack.mak.ac.ug to help improve completion rates
• Refining training methods to indicate competencies so that student assessments measure the ability to demonstrate applied knowledge
• Rewarding good supervisors with a percentage of the student’s tuition as well as reconsidering the policy that stipulates applicants for promotions need to be first authors of all publication presented for vetting
• Instituting a policy on regular graduate seminars so that students receive peer reviews of their research and address most queries prior to the final defence
• Redesign graduate programmes to cater for students who cannot afford to resign from their jobs to pursue further studies so as to boost completion rates
• Equip supervisors with skills to secure funding for their less privileged students that drop out due to lack of funding
Article by Public Relations Office
Veteran Professor changed Makerere and Higher Education
When Professor John Ssebuwufu ambled up to receive a certificate of recognition for his ‘exceptional’ contribution to higher education from the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) at Makerere University (MU), he was thinking of many things, such as rewarding staff, that he could have done differently to impact university education more.
But he did what he could have done, under the circumstances.
He presided over MU (in 1993) when student enrolment was 5,000 and left in 2004 when the population was surging to more than 15,000.
He emphasised the use of information communication technologies in almost all the institutions he had been involved in and sent many academic staff on exchanges to boost research and innovation. Now, more African universities engage in ground-breaking research.
So, he proceeded to accept his recognition and make his acceptance speech, which was mostly about gratitude.
Ssebuwufu, 74, who is currently the chancellor at Kyambogo University and the vice-chancellor of the University of Kisubi, is credited for his exemplary leadership and pragmatic methods that have shaped higher education in Uganda and Africa as a whole.
Japan Africa Dream Scholarship (JADS) Program 2021/2022
The Japan Africa Dream Scholarship (JADS) Program is a capacity building project by the AfDB and Japan which was initiated in 2017 with the aim of providing two-year scholarship awards to highly achieving African graduate students to enable them to undergo post-graduate studies (i.e. a two-year Master’s degree program) in selected priority development areas on the continent and Japan. The overarching goal the AfDB and the Government of Japan seek to attain is to enhance skills and human resources development in Africa in under the Bank’s High 5s agenda (i.e. “Feed Africa”, “Light up Africa”, “Industrialize Africa”, “Integrate Africa” and “Improve the quality of life of the people of Africa”) and key Japanese development assistance initiatives. JADS core areas of study focus include energy, agriculture, health, environmental sustainability, and engineering. The program also seeks to promote inter-university collaboration and university-industry partnerships between Japan and Africa. Upon completion of their studies, the JADS scholars are expected to return to their home countries to apply and disseminate their newly acquired knowledge and skills in the public and private sectors, and contribute to national and continental socio-economic development.
About the JADS program
The JADS Program is open to applicants from AfDB member countries with relevant professional experience and a history of supporting their countries’ development efforts who are applying to a graduate degree program in energy development and related discipline. The program does not provide scholarships to any other graduate degree program.
The scholarship program provides tuition, a monthly living stipend, round-trip airfare, health insurance, and travel allowance.
Upon completion of their studies, the beneficiary scholars are expected to return to their home countries to apply and disseminate their newly acquired knowledge and skills, and contribute to the promotion of sustainable development of their countries.
Who is Eligible to Apply?
The program is open to those who have gained admission to an approved Masters degree course at a Japanese partner university. Candidates should be 35 years old or younger; in good health; with a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in the energy area or related area; and have a superior academic record. Upon completion of their study programs, scholars are expected to return to their home country to contribute to its economic and social development.
- Applicant requests for information and application forms and procedures from the chosen JADS partner university. For any inquiries, please contact JADS@AFDB.ORG
- Applicant completes required documents and sends them to the university.
- University evaluates and selects applicants.
- University sends selected candidates to the AfDB.
- AfDB reviews submissions from universities, prepares and approves the final list.
- AfDB contacts selected awardees, and informs the universities.
WHS Regional Meeting Africa 2021: Finance Chairperson’s Update
SOPs: Our plan is to have 200 sets of people in different spacious rooms…Prof. Tonny j. oyana, finance chairperson whs regional meeting africa
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