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Lifelong Learning in Universities: Re-thinking inclusive and equitable quality education

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The Deputy Vice Chancellor-Academic Affairs of Makerere University, Dr. Ernest Okello-Ogwang has urged PhD Graduates to disseminate research findings to decision makers, communities, media and the wider public. 

“Through research we have been able to discover solutions to community problems. We need to disseminate these findings so that they can benefit society,” emphasized the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs in a speech read by Professor Bernard Bashaasha-Principal of College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Addressing the congregation comprising invited guests, staff, alumni, students and the media during Dr. Peace Buhwamatsiko Tumuheki’s PhD research dissemination seminar on ‘Life-long learning in practice: Understanding and enabling meaningful participation of non-traditional students in University, the Deputy Vice Chancellor-Academic Affairs commended the Presenter of the day (Friday 26th May 2017)- Dr. Tumuheki for undertaking research on lifelong learning; carrying out research aimed at improving the education system in Uganda; and creating a new generation of pure knowledge when higher education has been transformed from the monopoly of the elite to the right of the masses. 

 “You have distinguished yourself as a champion in lifelong learning when you pointed out a topic of great importance in the future of the nation. Life-long learning in practice is a vital topic to this country and yet so little is known about it. Our institutions and nation at large are eager to listen to the latest findings. We should be and we are hungry for knowledge,” he vehemently said.Professor Bernard Bashaasha-Principal of College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

The Chair of the Session, Dr. Ronald Bisaso from the College of Education and External Studies (CEES) underscored the importance of sharing knowledge and research findings for the betterment of society. Dr. Bisaso welcomed Dr. Peace B. Tumuheki who holds a PhD in Lifelong Learning from the University of Groningen, a Master of Arts degree in Development Studies from the Institute of Social Studies in Hague, Netherlands and a Bachelor of Arts with Education degree from Makerere University to make a presentation.

Dr. Tumuheki informed the audience that the main argument of her study is that opening/increasing access alone is not good enough an effort in achieving inclusive and equitable quality education for all. Rather, it is important that in this day and age when higher education has been transformed from the monopoly of the elite to the right of the masses, higher education institutions such as universities must rethink both the way they serve the changed/diverse student populations and their position and purpose in development, as well as in relation to other forms of education.

She highlighted that since the liberalisation of higher education in Uganda in the early 1990s, a lot of changes have taken place in the organisation and provision of university education. The changes are not only seen in the diversification of providers and programmes of study but also in the nature of the students’ body for example in numbers, composition and needs of students.

Dr. Tumuheki’s research findings dwelled on understanding the experiences and participation needs of Non-Traditional Students and to contribute towards enabling their meaningful participation in university education. It was focused on the participation question and needs of students who, prior to liberalization of education, had been excluded (diploma holders) and underrepresented (mature age) in University education.

“For Non-Traditional Students to experience meaningful participation in university education, Universities must take into consideration the changing needs of their students’ population. Universities have  to  recognize  and  appreciate  the  fact  that  when  they  opened  their  doors  to  'a  new  public'  like  their  student  populations,  they  acquired  a  new identity,” Dr. Tumuheki said.

Speaking on status of the higher education system in Uganda, the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Gulu University Prof. George Openjuru, called for the restructuring and development of university policies to benefit all categories of students. According to Prof. Openjuru, the higher education system in Uganda is becoming more diversified hence a need to reform its structure.  

He appreciated the work of Dr. Peace Tumuheki that is addressing the challenges that have for a number of years affected the education system of Uganda. Prof. Openjuru believes that understanding and enabling meaningful participation of non-traditional students in higher institutions would help in bridging the knowledge-distance learning gap.

Reiterating the importance of the research, Dr. Tumuheki’s 1st Supervisor on the PhD Programme, Prof. Jacques Zeelen from the University of Groningen, Netherlands said that the research addressed the major challenges facing the education system in Uganda.

 “When we look at globalization today, there is acceleration of technology and digital development and we need to work towards transformation to a sustainable society. There are more demands that we should be equipped with skills to use the latest technologies, many of which are outside the education training. Uganda’s education is a preparatory and keeps learners in schools, and then sets them out to the labour market for the rest of their lives.” Prof. Zeelen said.Dr. Anthony Mugagga Muwagga (L) and Dr. Ronald Bisaso(R) from the College of Education and External Studies (CEES)

The Deputy Principal-College of Education and External Studies (CEES) Dr. Anthony Mugagga Muwagga, said that the higher education system needs to be redefined to suit the basic requirements of the economy and to produce graduates who are employable.

“Having centered on lifelong learning, there are so many other issues to be addressed. We need to expand the horizon for our PhD students. Higher education is a complex system and there is need to redefine the role of Universities in education.” Dr. Mugagga Muwagga mentioned.

Contributing to the discussion, Dr. Alex Okot from the School of Distance and Lifelong Learning mentioned that the current education system in Uganda only prepares learners for passing exams, which may leave them with no practical skills. He added that the products of our education need to be equipped with marketable skills to become employable. He appealed to higher institutions of learning to review policies to improve the life of non-traditional students.The audience including part of Dr Tumuheki's family

“The structure of our education system is discriminative. We have to restructure our policy to be able to sustain our needs. We need to change our postulates about the non-traditional students and we can achieve a millennium development goal. Lifelong learning is not about education institutions, but learning,” Dr. Okot mentioned.

Prior to undertaking her PhD study, she had accumulated 13 years of work experience in the students’ Registry at Makerere University.  Since 2005 she served for six years as Faculty Registrar at the School of Computing and Informatics Technology-Makerere University and then for two years as College Registrar at the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology-Makerere University.  She also taught part-time on the Bachelor of Development Studies programme in the Faculty of Arts.  It is from the amalgamation of these experiences that she derived the interest to research into the lifelong learning opportunities of non-traditional students participating in university education. 

Story by: Charles Iga, Volunteer,MAK Public Relations Office

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Mak Commissions CoVAB@50 Celebrations, Awards Certificates

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The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (4th L), DVCAA-Dr. Umar Kakumba (5th L) and Principal CoVAB-Prof. J.D. Kabasa (3rd L) with L-R: Mr. Byakatonda Patrick, Mr. Alfred Masikye Namoah, Mr. Felix Okello, the Mace bearer and Dr. Samuel Majalija at the CoVAB@50 Celebrations Commissioning, 17th June 2021, Nakyesasa-Namulonge.

The College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) on Thursday 17th June, 2021 commenced celebrations to mark 50 Years of Veterinary Higher Education, Science, Technology, Innovation and Services (HESTIS) in Uganda. The blended event held at the Industrial Livestock Research, Incubation and Skilling (ILRIS) Center at Nakyesasa, Namulonge as well as online was presided over by the Chancellor, Prof. Ezra Suruma and First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports (MoES), Hon. Janet Museveni both represented by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe.

The event, held as part of Makerere University Centenary Celebrations (1922-2022) was a moment of celebration for 1,930 skilled livestock agribusiness entrepreneurs who were awarded certificates in recognition of completion of their respective courses. Owing to the strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) instituted by the Ministry of Health (MoH) to curb the spread of COVID-19, the students from Incubation Hubs in Atiak, Butaleja, Mubende, Nakyesasa, Sheema and Wakiso were awarded their certificates virtually.

In her remarks read by Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Hon. Janet Museveni thanked Makerere University for supporting grassroots level development through groundbreaking innovations under the Africa Institute for Strategic Services and Development-Skills for Production Enterprise Development and Accreditation (AFRISA-SPEDA) model.

The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (L), Academic Registrar-Mr. Alfred Masikye Namoah (C) and the Principal CoVAB-Prof. John David Kabasa stand for the anthems.
The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (L), Academic Registrar-Mr. Alfred Masikye Namoah (C) and the Principal CoVAB-Prof. John David Kabasa stand for the anthems.

“I am extremely pleased that Makerere University, through those innovative approaches, has developed and launched the alternative approach to building human capital and transferring knowledge to enterprises in communities.

“I would like to encourage all those involved in skills development to adopt methodologies that transform those trainees that go through these programs in ways that enable them also transform the societies they live in” read the Minister’s remarks.

She further noted that commissioning of the CoVAB@50 celebrations was both timely and rewarding. “The commissioning of the college innovations indeed has made meaning. This is a true path to growth of an Academic and Development College of the University, and we congratulate you again.”

Addressing the congregation as Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe congratulated CoVAB alumna and incoming Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MoSTI) under the Office of the President, Dr. Monica Musenero upon her recent appointment. “We thank His Excellency the President for identifying you. Science is in good hands.”

Awardees from the Mubende Incubation Hub raise their caps after virtually receiving their certificates in the blended ceremony on 17th June 2021. Photo credit: Kabaruli Twekambe/Team BOBOMAK
Awardees from the Mubende Incubation Hub raise their caps after virtually receiving their certificates in the blended ceremony on 17th June 2021. Photo credit: Kabaruli Twekambe/Team BOBOMAK

Prof. Nawangwe urged Dr. Musenero to address the structures of managing research and innovation in Uganda, “including the role of the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology and the apparent need to establish a Research Council for Uganda.”

In the same breath he thanked the outgoing and pioneer Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Hon. Dr. Elioda Tumuwesigye, for his role in ensuring that the ministry is empowered to carry out its mandate.

The Chancellor congratulated CoVAB upon training the bulk of Veterinary Doctors in Uganda over the last 50 years and more recently, Laboratory Technologists at the highest level. He recognised Makerere University‘s obligation to contribute to the economic self-determination of Uganda and thanked CoVAB for conducting research that addresses hindrances to national development, especially in the livestock industry.

“The anti-tick vaccine is one of such innovations which will solve the huge problem of tick-borne diseases that have caused enormous losses to our farmers. There are many other problems on which the college is researching and we thank you for the enthusiasm” he added.

Incoming Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation in the Office of the President, Dr. Monica Musenero addresses the congregation.
Incoming Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation in the Office of the President, Dr. Monica Musenero addresses the congregation.

The Chancellor commended CoVAB for being the vanguard of transformation of the grassroots communities through the SPEDA model. “I urge Government to fund this important initiative so that it can more meaningfully contribute to solving the big problem of youth unemployment.”

In her remarks, Dr. Monica Musenero commended the Principal, CoVAB, Prof. John David Kabasa for fulfilling the College’s dream of enabling the masses who drop out of the education value chain as well as those who complete education but have no skills for livelihood, to attain certification in agribusiness entrepreneurship.

“Many people attain academic success and write papers, publish and they become professors but without demonstrable impact on their nation. You have shown by the thousands that you have touched nationwide that indeed you are a professor of national transformation. Congratulations,” remarked Dr. Musenero.

She therefore congratulated the teams at CoVAB and AFRISA upon successfully conceiving and executing a model that is non-traditional, informal, not easily understood and not documented in any textbooks.

The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (R) receives graduation books of the cohorts from Director DIT, MoES-Mr. Byakatonda Patrick (C) and Deputy Commissioner Social Services Development, MoES-Madam Elizabeth Bateme (L).
The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (R) receives graduation books of the cohorts from Director DIT, MoES-Mr. Byakatonda Patrick (C) and Deputy Commissioner Social Services Development, MoES-Madam Elizabeth Bateme (L).

As Minister, Dr. Musenero noted that witnessing thousands of individuals from across the country whose skills had been honed through a university programme receiving certificates gave her a lot of hope and material to embark on her tenure with. “I will be looking forward to harnessing these resources as we initiate work on the next leg of Science, Technology and Innovation in the country under the President’s Office.”

The invitation to the Principal, CoVAB to present students for the award of the ordinary diplomas, ordinary certificates and artisan certificates was given by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs), Dr. Umar Kakumba. He congratulated the awardees upon successfully completing their respective courses and graduating with evidence on an enterprise.

Prof. Kabasa clarified that the approach used to train the day’s awardees was not simply a vocational skilling. “The combination of action research with knowledge transfer, skilling, plus assessment and accreditation processes done by organs like the DIT (Directorate of Industrial Training, MoES) has given us this result, for the University to provide true leadership and transformation of the community.”

Present at the celebrations were the Director, DIT, MoES-Mr. Byakatonda Patrick and the Deputy Commissioner Social Services Development, MoES Madam Elizabeth Bateme who have worked through the Academic-Community-Public-Private-Partnership model to ensure that students graduate as entrepreneurs with micro enterprises.

The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (C), flanked by DVCAA-Dr. Umar Kakumba (R) and the Principal CoVAB-Prof. John David Kabasa (L) commissions the SPEDA Training, Incubation and Research Centre-Nakyesasa on behalf of the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports-Hon. Janet Museveni on 17th June 2021.
The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (C), flanked by DVCAA-Dr. Umar Kakumba (R) and the Principal CoVAB-Prof. John David Kabasa (L) commissions the SPEDA Training, Incubation and Research Centre-Nakyesasa on behalf of the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports-Hon. Janet Museveni on 17th June 2021.

Prior to presiding over the ceremony, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, on behalf of the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports officially commissioned the SPEDA Training, Incubation and Research Centre – Nakyesasa.

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UNMA Advisory on Agriculture and Food Security Jun-Aug 2021

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A male researcher inspects a maize cob in a demonstration plot on 13th August 2010 at the Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK), Wakiso Uganda.

The Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) on 7th June 2021 released the seasonal rainfall outlook for the June-July-August (JJA) 2021 period. Contained in the outlook were advisories to various strategic sectors of the economy.

Particularly, the advisory to the Agriculture and Food Security sector was;

  • JJA season is often part of the normal dry season in the areas of South-western, western, parts of the eastern, and central Uganda. The farming communities in these areas are therefore advised to be vigilant during post-harvest handling by considering proper drying of the harvest on clean surfaces, use of tarpaulins and drying on racks;
  • Preparation of good storage facilities of produce to avoid compromising on quality and safety;
  • Channeling of the run-off water into the gardens in order to maximize on the soil moisture conservation;
  • For those areas where near normal to above normal rainfall is expected (most parts of northern and eastern Uganda), farmers are encouraged to continue with regular weeding, pest and disease surveillance and control;
  • Due to the expected enhanced rainfall in those areas, water logging and proliferation of fungal and bacterial crop diseases are likely to occur.
  • Open drainage channels around household and gardens to reduce risks from stagnant water causing damage to root tuber crops;
  • Flash floods and waterlogging are highly anticipated to occur in low lying areas expected to receive enhanced rainfall such as Katakwi and Kapelebyong. Therefore, communities are encouraged to keep watch over their crops, animals and property;
  • In Karamoja sub-region, where wetter conditions are expected, the pastoral communities are advised to diversify into boosting the production of cereals (sorghum, millet, and maize), beans, and ground nuts and sustain pasture availability for livestock.

Please see Downloads for the detailed outlook.

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4th Call For Applications: MURBS Departmental Ambassadors

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URBRA’s Mrs. Ritah Nansasi Wasswa (2nd L) assisted by Ag. University Secretary-Mr. Yusuf Kiranda (L) hands over a plaque of recognition to Outgoing Trustee-Ms. Dorothy Nannozi Kabanda (2nd R) as Incoming Trustee-Ms. Franco Angida Mugyema (R) applauds during the MURBS Board Handover on 26th March 2021.

In February 2018, the Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme (MURBS) launched the Departmental Ambassadors Programme. MURBS hopes to use this Ambassadors Programme to engage more directly with its membership and enhance member education. MURBS further perceives this Programme as a means to mitigate succession planning risks.

MURBS Fund Value continues to grow, and as at 31st March 2021, it stood at Ushs 235.5bn as compared to Ushs 209.6bn as at 30th June 2020. Given this growth, there is increased need for prospective Trustees, who are well equipped with relevant knowledge and skills, and with practical exposure to the management and governance of MURBS.

Eligibility

  1. Must be employed by the University on permanent terms
  2. Must be an Active Member of the Scheme (currently contributing to the Scheme) and appear on the Official Register of the MURBS Active Membership as at 30th April 2021.
  3. Must be willing to commit time to trainings and other ambassadorial activities organised by the Scheme.

Mode of training for 4th Cohort of Ambassadors

Training for this (4th) Cohort of Ambassadors is envisaged to be conducted over the zoom online platform only, due to Covid-19 restrictions. The Scheme does not envisage any face-to-face interactions.

Tenure of Office & Termination or Withdrawal

There is no tenure of office for the Departmental Ambassador. As long as a member is willing to continue serving as an Ambassador, and the Ambassador continues to satisfy the eligibility criteria above, she or he will remain a MURBS Ambassador.

How to Apply

Interested members should complete the MURBS Departmental Ambassador Application Form 01-0218. The completed Form together with the requested attachments should be sent to info[at]murbs.mak.ac.ug and copy to wilber.naigambi[at]mak.ac.ug no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, 14th June 2021. We discourage hand delivery of applications.

Confirmation/Approval Process

MURBS shall acknowledge receipt of each application received within 12 hours and will respond to the applicants to confirm the status of their application in writing (by e-mail). Upon approval of the application, the name of the approved Ambassador together with the Department and School/Unit will be updated on the list of the MURBS Departmental Ambassadors in the Group 4 category and published on the MURBS website.

NOTE: There is no limit as to the number of ambassadors that MURBS can have in a department.

Please see Downloads for the detailed call and application form.

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