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Experts in Mathematics emphasize the need to create sustainable networks to Strengthen Research in Universities

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Experts in mathematics have emphasized the need to create sustainable groups and networks to strengthen Research in Universities. This was at the opening ceremony of the 3rd Network Meeting for Sida and ISP-Funded PhD Students and Postdocs in Mathematics; held on Monday 20th August 2018 at Imperial Botanical Beach Hotel Entebbe, Uganda.  The meeting was officially opened by the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe represented by the Director of Research and Graduate Training Prof. Mukadasi Buyinza. 

Participants posing for the photo.

The 3rd Network Meeting for Sida and International Science Programme (ISP) funded PhD Students and Postdocs in mathematics brought together over 100 PhD students and Postdoctoral fellows in Mathematics from African partner universities; supervisors and mentors; senior researchers; and coordinators from the Sida bilateral programs, ISP core program and Swedish senior researchers with the aim of strengthening and encouraging collaborative research in Mathematics. The Meeting will run from 20th -24th August 2018 under a theme: Strengthening Research in Mathematics in Universities with Sida and ISP Support.  

According to the Chairperson of the Local Organizing Committee Prof. John Mango, the five days’ workshop brings together participants from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Finland, German, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Myanmar, Rwanda, Sudan, Sweden, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Participants will lay a strategy and develop research agendas on effective and efficient joint publication; and joint applications for research funding. “I am happy to report on the training of 21 staff members at Makerere, Busitema, Gulu, Mbarara and Kyambogo at the Doctoral level in mathematics and the training of 9 Postdocs. This is clearly a bumper harvest from the Swedish support to Mathematics in our country” he said.

The Chairperson of the Local Organizing Committee Prof. John Mango.

Prof. Mango reiterated that the network of researchers as a platform also provides a forum for interaction of PhD, Postdoc students and researchers in mathematics supported by Sida and ISP; with a view of sharing experiences and creating sustainable research groups and networks.

The Principal of the College of Natural Sciences Prof. J.Y.T Mugisha appreciated the Government of Sweden for the support it extends to public universities in Uganda. The Principal also thanked the organizing committee as well as the funders of the meeting for ensuring that the event is successful.   Prof. Mugisha noted that this is a great opportunity for networking and collaborating for the researchers attending the meeting. ‘It is rare to have all the senior scientists in one place and thus the young researchers should use this meeting to start work with the seniors present here’. He further welcomed the participants to Uganda and wished them a peaceful stay in Uganda.

In a speech read by Prof. Mukadasi Buyinza, the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, commended the great work of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) in promoting collaborations in mathematics between universities in Eastern and Southern Africa. 

Prof. Martin Singull making a presentation.

“Such collaborations will involve joint publications, joint applications for funding, sharing of human resources for teaching and supervision, and joint arrangements of conferences and workshops. These efforts are key for a continued sustainable development of mathematics in Eastern and Southern Africa,” he said.

Prof. Nawangwe urged mathematicians in their research groups to carry out research dissemination and translation of outputs into policy briefs when he said, “I know that in applied mathematics and mathematical statistics, researchers collect plenty of raw data, but many times these are not translated or transformed into desired outcomes to be able to serve the reasons for which they are gathered. I therefore urge you to direct your research in areas relevant to your national development goals in order for mathematics to play the role it without any doubt should.”

He acknowledged the support of the Swedish government to Makerere University that has been monumental and critical to the realization of the University’s core functions of teaching and learning, research and innovations, and partnerships and networking. 

Prof. Mukadasi Buyinza addressing participants.

“The support has also greatly improved the research culture in mathematics at Makerere University with an increase of publications in recognized international journals and active participation in international conferences. In the past two decades we have built capacity on PhD, Postdocs and masters level. Therefore, doing research together we will achieve more, help us in laying the strategies and develop research agendas at national and regional levels,” he said. 

Prof. Mango as Chairperson Local Organizing committee was commended for bringing the event to Uganda and Makerere University in particular. The 1st and 2nd network meetings were held in Sweden. Prof Mango has spearheaded many development initiatives in the Mathematics Department in the past two decades. These initiatives have seen many staff in the department trained to PhD and Postdoc levels in Uganda and the region. 

Prof. Mango commended the following members of the Organizing Committee for their selfless service: Prof Kasozi Juma-Makerere University, Dr Silvester Rugeihyamu-University of Dar es salaam, Dr Tembo Isaac-University of Zambia, Dr Minani-University of Rwanda, Dr Eunice Mureithi-University of Dar es salaam, Dr Betty Nannyonga-Makerere University, Dr Mirumbe Ismail-Makerere University and Dr Ssevviiri David-Makerere University.

Some of the participants during the meeting.

Highlighting the importance of mathematics in solving societal challenges, Prof. Leif Abrahamsson Director of Mathematical Sciences at ISP said mathematics is an imperative tool that drives all other science subject. Prof. Leif also mentioned that Mathematics is so helpful in solving societal problems. 

“Its functions might be hidden but we need mathematics to solve societal problems. You will find mathematics in financial institutions, political sectors, business entities and also in the health sector. We have on several occasion used mathematics to find solutions to some of the epidemic diseases such as Ebola and HIV/AIDS,” he stated.

Prof. Bengt Ove Turesson, from Linköping University-Sweden; Department of Mathematics (MAI), emphasized the need to provide career guidance when training mathematics in schools. “Questions like what am I going to do after studying mathematics should be clearly answered during the career guidance sessions so that a student understands some of the opportunities available when he or she studies the mathematics. We should also encourage the construction of resource centres for teachers at various education levels where mathematics teachers will come together and discuss the several ways of improving mathematics,” he mentioned. 

The Head, Department of Mathematics at Makerere University Dr. David Ssevviiri, described mathematics as a language of basic sciences “It is a language for engineers and all science based fields. We should interest the learners when teaching it,” he said.

Ms Ritah Namisango, the Principal Public Relations Officer of Makerere University appealing to the mathematicians to come up with strategies aimed at popularizing mathematics at all levels.

Dr. Betty Nanyonga Kivumbi said that she is one of the three lucky female lecturers at the Department of Mathematics, Makerere University. She therefore, cited the need to empower and mentor girls to have equal access to and success in mathematics “As a department of Mathematics at Makerere University we felt it needful to engage in outreach programs such as visiting schools and talk to girls and teachers, we have organized the mathematics marathon and we started a regional network to promote basic sciences,” Dr. Nanyonga explained.

Ms Ritah Namisango, the Principal Public Relations Officer of Makerere University appealed to the mathematicians to come up with strategies aimed at popularizing mathematics at all levels. “Mathematics is a vital subject, but a number of interactions with pupils and students indicate that most of them fear the subject. I am happy to note that we have over 100 participants from Africa and Europe in this room. I appeal to you to come up with innovative ways of making mathematics attractive,” remarked Ms Namisango. 

In East Africa, Sida has supported mathematics since 2007 through bilateral programmes in Rwanda, Uganda, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Tanzania. The support is mainly for capacity building at PhD and Postdoc levels. ISP support in mathematics started almost two decades ago with the aim of building capacity and improving on the state of mathematics in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia.

Article by: Mak Public Relations Office 

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Veteran Professor changed Makerere and Higher Education

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Professor Pancras John Mukasa Ssebuwufu (L) receives a plaque and citation from RUFORUM Board Member and Vice Chancellor Ndejje University-Professor Eriabu Lugujjo (Right) on 6th May 2021 at the RUFORUM Secretariat, Plot 155 Garden Hill, Makerere University Main Campus,

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.

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Japan Africa Dream Scholarship (JADS) Program 2021/2022

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Japan Africa Dream Scholarship (JADS) Program 2021/2022. Photo credit: AfDB

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.

Application Procedures

  1. Applicant requests for information and application forms and procedures from the chosen JADS partner university. For any inquiries, please contact JADS@AFDB.ORG
  2. Applicant completes required documents and sends them to the university.
  3. University evaluates and selects applicants.
  4. University sends selected candidates to the AfDB.
  5. AfDB reviews submissions from universities, prepares and approves the final list.
  6. AfDB contacts selected awardees, and informs the universities.

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WHS Regional Meeting Africa 2021: Finance Chairperson’s Update

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Prof. Tonny J. Oyana, Finance Chairperson, World Health Summit Regional Meeting Africa, June 2021.

SOPs: Our plan is to have 200 sets of people in different spacious rooms…

Prof. Tonny j. oyana, finance chairperson whs regional meeting africa

We are sincerely grateful to our sponsors…

Over 15 core sponsors…

Sessions: 60% Virtual, 40% Onsite…

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