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Supervision Holds Key to Cementing Mak Research-led Status

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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.

Director-QAD, Dr. Vincent Ssembatya (L) addresses supervisors and faciliators as Mr. George Henry Tusiime (R) listens during the Supervisors' Training Workshop launch on 6th May 2015, Piato, Kampala Uganda“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.

Dean-School of Education, CEES, Dr. Betty Ezati facilitates the opening session during the training workshopThe 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. Charles Opolot Okurut-CEES facilitated on the Purpose of Graduate Learning, Supervisors' Training Workshop, 6th May 2015, Piato, Kampala UgandaProf. 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

 

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Uganda’s policymakers implored to address forest loss, plastic & water pollution

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Left to Right: Prof. Gunnar Köhlin, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Amb. Maria Håkansson, Commissioner Julius Mafumbo and Prof. Edward Bbaale posing for a group photo before the opening ceremony on 22nd September 2022: Photo by EfD-Mak Centre.

The Vice Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe on Thursday 22nd September, 2022 participated in the opening of the EfD Annual meeting hosted by Makerere University at Speke Resort Munyonyo where he appealed to government to implement the ban on kaveera and address other environmental issues.

The opening ceremony moderated by the EfD Global Hub Manager Gunnar Köhlin and was graced by Uganda’s Minister for Water and Environment represented by the Commissioner for Water, Mr. Julius Mafumbo and the Swedish Ambassador to Uganda, H.E. Maria Håkansson.

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Prof. Nawangwe urges Makerere University community to support the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative

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By Bernard Buteera

Makerere University has launched a two million dollar E-learning Project, dubbed The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program E-learning initiative.  

The launch was held on Tuesday 20th September 2022 at Makerere University, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium. It attracted over 200 participants, who included members of University Management, College Principals, School Deans, Academic and Administrative staff, students and the general university community.

While addressing the gathering, the Chief Guest, Prof. Mary Okwakol, the Executive Director of National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), congratulated Makerere University for winning such a huge grant, which will go a long way in transforming the eLearning infrastructure at Makerere University.

“I am happy to be joining you in launching a project that is at the heart of National Council for Higher Education. Online learning is at the heart of the Council, not only because of the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, but also the world is now a digital world.” Prof. Okwakol remarked.

Prof. Okwakol thanked Mastercard Foundation and other development partners who have continued to support initiatives that help transform higher institutions of learning in Uganda.

“I sincerely thank the Mastercard Foundation and other partners who have continued to support higher education in Uganda, especially in the area of research and online learning. Globally, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, greatly disrupted education systems forcing learners and some schools to shift to virtual learning to curb the spread of the pandemic.” Prof. Okwakol pointed out.

On his part, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe urged the university community, especially the academic staff to take advantage of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning initiative to develop e-content across all Colleges of the University, to enhance capacity for eLearning at Makerere University.

[L -R] Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the E-learning Initiative, Prof. Umar Kakumba, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Prof. Mary Okwakol, the Executive Director of National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda, the Coordinator of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative and Prof. Justine Namaalwa, the Program Coordinator for Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program.

”I appeal to the Colleges to embrace this project and have as many courses adopt this pedagogy development system, even though students will continue with face-to face and phyisical learning, they should be allowed the option of online learning. The platforms that are going to be built, will give our students an opportunity to interact with international students, scholars, teachers and with each other.” Prof. Nawangwe applealed.

The Vice Chancellor, further called upon all other development partners to emulate Mastercard Foundation in supporting Makerere University and other universities on the entire African continent in strengthening digital literacy, so that Africa is not left behind.

”In 2018 I attended a conference on E-learning in Beijing China, where a critical question was asked; Will Africa be left behind again? This was in reference to many advancements that were taking place in the western world, in which Africa had been left behind.” The Vice Chancellor reminded the audience.

Prof. Nawangwe further emphaised the importance of e-learning as one of the critical modes of teaching and learning in the 21st first century.   

”Ladies and Gentlemen, I cannot over emphasise the importance we attach to e-learning the 21st Century, that is why we took a decision to elevate the Department of Open and Distance Learning into an Institute of Open and Distance E-learning with an intention of having e-learning extended to other Colleges of the university.” Prof. Nawangwe pointed out.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs, and Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the E-learning Initiative, Prof. Umar Kakumba, rallied the University community to support the implementation of the project in the University.

“The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program E-learning initiative could not have come in at a better time than post COVID19 era. A pandemic, which exposed our systems and methods of teaching and learning. You all recall, when were hit by the pandemic, with lockdowns and closures of institutions of learning, we all went into a panicky mode on how were going to cope with online learning. I therefore call upon every member of the university to give this project the support it deserves.

Prof. Kakumba reminded the audience the importance and relevancy of online learning at Makerere University and other universities in Uganda.

“The online method of learning is best suited for everyone. This digital revolution has led to remarkable changes in how the content is accessed, consumed, discussed, and shared. Office goers and stay home mothers can take up online educational courses too, at the time that suits them. Depending on their availability and comfort, many people choose to learn at weekends or evenings.” Prof. Kakumba remarked.

Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda, the Coordinator of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative, informed the audience the importance of the project and the expected outcomes for the University.

One of the Champions of e-learning trained by Arizona State University, Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda receiving a certificate from Chief Guest.

“The Mastercard Foundation e- Learning Initiative is a Project funded by Mastercard Foundation aimed at addressing the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic that constrained access and continuity of teaching, learning, research and community engagement activities at Makerere University” Prof. Muyinda pointed out.

Prof. Muyinda further thanked the team that he worked with in putting up the proposal in a very short time that yielded such an important grant for the University.

“I thank the team that spent sleepless nights putting together the proposal that resulted into this project. I must report that Makerere University is privileged to be having the most highly qualified persons in online instruction design and online pedagogy at the IODeL and beyond. It is now up to Makerere University in particular and the Country in general to make use of these persons to transform the terrain of online, blended distance and e-learning education.” Prof. Muyinda remarked.

Prof. Justine Namaalwa, the Program Coordinator for Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University, informed the audience, that the E-learning initiative was one of the many partnerships between Mastercard Foundation and Makerere University geared at supporting the young people to succeed on the African continent.

Members of University Management, staff and students present.

“The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program continues to recognize that in order to enable young people across Africa to succeed, there is need to; Address systemic barriers in Higher education, Strengthen the capacity of Institutions that serve the Young People, and Support innovative solutions across critical sectors.” Prof. Namaalwa remarked.

The colourful launch ended with a panel discussion in which panelists digested the importance and opportunities for open distance and eLearning in higher institutions of learning.

Bernard Buteera is the Communications Officer of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University.

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Supplementary Admissions to Bachelor of Laws Under Private Sponsorship 2022/23

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Mak-Undergraduate-Admissions-2021-2022

The Academic Registrar, Makerere University, informs applicants wishing to be admitted to Bachelor of Laws Private for 2022/2023 Academic year but failed to submit their application online to submit their applications from Friday 23rd to Friday 30th September, 2022 at a non-refundable fee of 50,000/= (Fifty thousand shillings only).

The applicants MUST have passed the Pre-entry Examinations for Bachelor of Laws.

Diploma/Degree holders should submit certified copies of their academic transcript to Room
315 Level 3, Senate Building.

Applicants who have already been admitted need not apply.

For any additional information, contact Undergraduate Admissions Offices 301/303 for A’Level Applicants and Office 315 for Diploma/Degree holders.

ALFRED MASIKYE NAMOAH
AG. ACADEMIC REGISTRAR
Date: 22nd September, 2022

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