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Maths teachers urged to adopt modern methods of teaching to enhance students’ abilities

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The Director for Education Standards in the Ministry of Education and Sports Dr. Kedress Turyagyenda, has urged mathematics teachers and trainers to adopt the recently developed technologies of teaching to enhance students’ abilities of learning mathematics. This was at the closing ceremony of the 10 days residential training of primary and secondary Mathematics teachers from Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania; held on 11th January 2019 at Makerere University.  

The 10-day residential course that officially kicked off on 2nd and ended on 11th January 2019, was conducted by the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMSSEC). Organized and funded by Dr. Margaret Babirye Lwebuga Project in partnership with Makerere University, the training will be followed by a 3-months distance learning course that will introduce participants to a teaching methodology that prepares young people with the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to thrive in the 21st century.

The training will also support and empower teachers who are working in remote rural areas and schools in disadvantaged communities, and give them free teaching resources that they can share with other teachers.

Dr. Kedress Turyagyenda who represented Mr. Alex Kakooza delivers her remarks

Representing Mr. Alex Kakooza, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education and Sports, Dr. Kedress Turyagyenda encouraged teachers to identify and understand the potential gaps that exist in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) for their students to understand the modern mathematical context.

“Pupils should be given the opportunities to apply skills, knowledge and understanding from the programmes of study of other subjects. With the modern skills, knowledge and equipment you have obtained through this program, go back and be practical.  Apply the principal of excellence. Whatever your task is at work, do it with all your heart and be faithful to your work,” she said.

She commended the teachers for dedicating their time to not only develop their professions but also change the lives of million pupils in the region.  “Technology is evolving so fast, we therefore need to equip ourselves with the needed knowledge and skill to meet the required 21st century demands.  In life there is need to learn, unlearn and relearn. Science and technologies are the key pillars of our education system and the purpose is to give every child these pillars,” she said.

Some of the Mathematics teachers that took part in the 10-day AIMSSEC MBL Project residential training at Makerere University

She commended Dr.  Margaret Babirye Lwebuga, Dr. Marjorie Batchelor and the families when she said, “through your generous support, you are professionally developing the mathematics sector of Uganda and the region.”

In the same spirit, she appreciated the trainers for dedicating their life and finances to impact millions of children by training their teachers.

Dr. Turyagyenda acknowledged the government’s efforts to improve the science teaching and learning environment in the country.

The Chancellor, Prof. Ezra Suruma delivers his remarks at the AIMSSEC MBL Project Course closing ceremony

“The vision of Ministry of Education and Sports is to provide Quality and appropriate Education and Sports services, for all. It is against this vision that Uganda became the first country to implement Universal Primary Education and Universal Secondary Education. We believe that every child matter and can survive if given a suitable environment where he/she is appreciated and given equal opportunities,” said the Director  

According to the Chancellor of Makerere University Prof. Ezra Suruma, a solid foundation in mathematics is an essential skill for students. To him, Mathematics is the ‘queen of science and the language of nature’.

“ On many occasions, mathematics as a subject has been considered to be very difficult. I would say, mathematics is an essential subject everyone in school must take,” he said.

Toni Beardon delivers her remarks at the AIMSSEC MBL Project Course closing ceremony

“Nevertheless, mathematics is so essential to other disciplines such as economics, social sciences, and humanities hence being called ‘the universal language’. As a Professor of Economics, I have interfaced with so many areas in my field that need the mathematical knowledge,” the Chancellor added.

He thanked participants for dedicating time to attend the intensive residential course and also appreciated the trainers for investing in an African child.  “When engaging in such programs we should also be sure that the multiplier effect of training trainers is very important,” he stated.

Toni Beardon, the Founder and Chairperson of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMSSEC) expressed the team’s commitment to eradicate poverty by providing better education services to African children.

Prof. Noble Banadda, the Head, Department of Agricultural and Bio Systems Engineering, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES)

Participants were presented with certificates of completion of the course. On the same occasion Dr. Margaret Babirye Lwebuga was honored for her tremendous support towards the development Uganda’s education sector.

In an exclusive interview with the Makerere University Public Relations team, the Head, Department of Agricultural and Bio Systems Engineering at Makerere University Prof. Noble Banadda, spoke about Dr. Margaret Babirye Lwebuga as an exceptional lady with a generous heart. Through her profession path as a mathematics teacher, Dr. Margaret Babirye Lwebuga has embarked on improving the quality of teaching and learning of mathematics in Uganda and East Africa at large.

On behalf of the participants Ms. Mirembe Agnes a secondary school Mathematics teacher thanked Dr. Margaret Babirye Lwebuga and the team from the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMSSEC) for the constructive knowledge. According to Ms. Mirembe, participants were introduced to ways of improving the quality of teaching mathematics, developing the pedagogical training for mathematics learners and ways of accessing modern teaching equipment.

Ms. Mirembe Agnes (Left) and a colleague move a vote of thanks

“All participants have been enrolled to AIMSSEC platforms to access modern teaching equipment and software to teach mathematics in an interesting way.  We promise to put what you have taught us into practice,” she said.   

AIMSSEC is the Schools Enrichment Centre (SEC) of AIMS (African Institute for Mathematical Sciences) established in 2003 in Muizenberg, South Africa as part of the AIMS Network. The objective of AIMSSEC is to play a key role in the extension of educational opportunities for disadvantaged communities in Africa and to raise standards by improving the quality of the teaching and learning of mathematics.

Article by Mak Public Relations Office.

 

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Mak Gender Mainstreaming Directorate to Start a University Men’s Forum

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The Director Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine (left) addresses participants at the Male Round Table discussion for Senior Academic and Administrative Male staff on 6th June 2024. Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

As a way of promoting Gender equality and inclusion, the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate on Thursday 6th June 2024 held a Male Round Table discussion for Makerere University Senior Academic and Administrative Male staff. Giving the objectives for the men’s workshop, the Senior Gender Officer Makerere University Mainstreaming Directorate Mr. Eric Tumwesigye stated that the directorate realized the need to provide space for male staff at Makerere University to identify their issues in relation to promoting gender equality.

He also noted that there is need to explore ways of exercising their agency in promoting gender equality and also need to build a male champions at Makerere University and beyond.

Speaking to the audience, the Key note speaker Rev. Nathan Mugalu Balirwana an Anglican Priest in Namirembe Diocese, A Counselling Psychologist who also doubles as the National Male and Religious Champion on Sexual Reproductive and Health Rights (SRHR), and a Male Engagement Specialist echoed on how mental ill health is  affecting and spreading among men in and outside Uganda calling for the need to stand with the affected people to help ease their recovery. He noted that while statistics are important in social issues, it’s important to personify numbers and consider case by case in handling Men’s issues.

Cautioning that acts of basing on numbers when discussing matters that affect people’s lives, and individuals should stand out and speak out alone, as it’s longer about statistics but an individual, and that depressed men become problematic to the society.

Rev. Nathan Mugalu Balirwana addresses participants. Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Rev. Nathan Mugalu Balirwana addresses participants.

“Many men are suffering mental illness but because they lack enough safe spaces where they can be understood with empathy and unconditional positive regard. Men need Male more safe spaces and who to speak to, as  many have resorted to ending their lives. We need to be there for each other. We should know that it’s not about statistics but an individual, depressed men, depress the entire society” remarked Rev. Mugalu.

He noted that there is need for more deliberate efforts to raise masculine Men. The absence of masculinity among men raises deficiencies in Men’s characters that worsen gender injustice, violence, inequalities etc. He noted that masculinity is a positive attribute that needs to be promoted among Men. He further stressed that Toxic Masculinity means the absence of Masculinity.

He noted the need to reach out to Men on the grassroots. Ignored Men are dangerous to their communities. It’s not about how much English we speak, it’s all about how many Men in the Ghettos, villages, Wanainchi that we reach with the message of gender equality, equity and justice. As long as Men on grassroots cannot define equality, we are far away from achieving gender equality.

Some of the Senior Academic and Administrative Male staff interact. Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Some of the Senior Academic and Administrative Male staff interact.

He further stresses the need to involve young men and boys in the struggle of achieving gender equality.

He noted the challenges men face in society and called for creation of safe spaces, where men can meet and share their challenges and get some advice as one of the mechanisms for reducing on the high rate of gender violence men face today, stating that several men today are wounded mentally by  Gender Based violence but have no one to share with and even those that they would share with expect them to be men enough to handle the problem and also to heal others.  

“The untold story is that 8 of 10 men are facing mental  and physical Gender Based violence and they fear to talk about it, as society expects them to be men enough to withstand such challenges, this has affected many families and work places as wounded men wound others but are expected to heal others. Only a man that has been wounded and fully healed can heal others as he understands the pains” said Rev. Nathan.

Rev. Nathan further called for mentorship and engagement of the boys and men if we are to have a better society and also if we are to stop unwanted pregnancies and abortions which occur on a daily basis and cautioned about the generation growing without men, noting that the comfort zones stagnate men, and advised men to get out of their comfort zones and plan for future to avoid retirement issues.

Participants follow proceedings during the Round Table discussion. Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Participants follow proceedings during the Round Table discussion.

“We are risking a society without astute and well-adjusted masculine men, comfort zones are the most stagnating thing for men, there is need to be worried when we bring a generation that has nothing to lose, such people are determined to do anything. Men need to be engaged so much in the struggle to end abortions which occur daily. This can be through sensitization” he said.

The Principal Women in Development Officer, Ministry of Gender Labor and Social Development Hajji Mayanja Idi Mubarak noted that the percentage of men drop out is increasing highly calling for need to look into the barriers that are leading to the cause just like it was done with women.

“The same barriers that were affecting women are now affecting men, previous graduation noted that 52% were females and 48% men, a sign that there is a drop out of universities of the men in completing studies, and there is need to work on barriers of access to education by male students.” He said.

He advised men to balance work and home life to ease management of their responsibilities both at work and home as one way to reduce on the rampant causes of Gender Based Violence among homes.

Hajji Mayanja Idi Mubarak outlined the Ministry’s key objectives in male involvement strategy. Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Hajji Mayanja Idi Mubarak outlined the Ministry’s key objectives in male involvement strategy.

As a way of reducing on the cases of child torture by domestic workers and also unpaid care, Hajji Mubaraka called for day care centers at places of work and also revealed that the Ministry is coming up with a policy to regulate on the exploitation of domestic workers  to see that they earn what is worthy their labor, noting that 90% of them are under paid and yet exploited with too much work load.

“We encourage our wives, sisters and daughters to work and call for salary increment, but we forget the young girls and women whom we leave behind as maids. Most of these are under paid compared to the work they do and some are not paid at all, that’s why we keep hearing cases of house helps torturing our children at home.  It’s here that Ministry is coming up with a policy to regulate on the unpaid care work to see that these maids also earn what’s fair to their services and also need to have day care centers at our workplaces.” He said.

He mentioned that the Ministry’s key objectives in male involvement strategy are;

  • To guide development and review Gender Based Violence policies and programs to integrate interventions on male involvement.
  • To promote transformation of harmful gender norms and practices that perpetuate Gender Based Violence.
  • To provide guidance on provision of male friendly services to meet victims of Gender Based Violence
  • To promote strategic partnership in engaging men and boys in prevention and response to Gender Based Violence.

Revealing that government is putting up spaces to help men going through violence to enable them not only to open up but also get helped from what they go through and urged fellow men to make good use of the space created.

Mr. Mayanja continued to note that involvement of men and boys in the processes that prevent and respond to Gender Based Violence is an indispensable part of the process of changing the power of dynamics of existing   gender roles and values that perpetuate Gender Based Violence as men play key role in bringing gender equality in our society, religions and traditions, since Uganda’s diverse cultural customs and taboos that define men’s status and expectations in different ways.

Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine gives her closing remarks. Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine gives her closing remarks.

The Director Makerere University Gender Main streaming Directorate Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine stated that research was done on 6 universities Kyambogo University, Busitema University, Gulu University, Mbarara University with a purpose to explore the male involvement in the interventions to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in universities and findings showed that efforts to engage men in programs that promote gender equality was regarded as important and exciting topic.

Giving her closing remarks, Dr. Euzobia thanked all the male staff of Makerere University for their participation and feedback that they provided and pledged continuation of more engagements.

“We are happy for the feedback provided by everyone, this is very important for us as we build for the future and we hope for more trainings“ Said Dr. Euzobia.

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Short Course Announcement: Basic Data Analysis

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Some of the participants that attended DataFest Kampala hosted by RAN from 29th to 30th of April 2021. 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.

The Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Makerere University School of Public Health is offering training in Basic Data Analysis over a period of 5 days (Monday 15th – Friday 19th July 2024) culminating in a Certificate of Basic Data Analysis upon completion. The deadline for receiving applications is Monday 8th July 2024.

This program aims to build capacity of the participants to be able to conduct basic analysis of data, given a set of health data. By the end of the course, participants should be able to develop an analysis plan to answer specific research questions of interest to them, to conduct univariate analysis for both numerical and categorical variables, to select appropriate statistical tests and conduct bivariate analysis for different combinations of variables and to interpret and present results from data analysis using appropriate figures and narrative.

This course is suitable for health professionals, health researchers, PhD students and Health program managers who interface with health data and would like to gain the skills needed to analyze this data.

Mode of Delivery

  • A blended learning approach will be used where sessions will be delivered both online (using Zoom) and Face-to-face. Face-to-face sessions will be held at the MakSPH Annex in Kololo, at the RAN Lower Lab whilst a zoom link will be shared for the online participants.
  • Participants will have to indicate beforehand which mode they will use though face-to-face participants will have the added advantage of access to instant facilitator support especially when navigating Stata.

Course Pre-requisites

Prior knowledge of statistical principles and epidemiological methods is a requirement. In order to participate meaningfully and to keep up with the course content and practical activities, applicants to this course should have already taken a basic course in statistics/biostatistics and epidemiology. They must also have a personal computer, conversant with basic use of Windows and Stata (Version 10 or above)

See the application link below: https://forms.gle/vMELSBwww1ckoVaaA

Course Fee:

Payment subsidized course fee of Uganda shillings 600,000/= for nationals and USD 300 for international students payable at the beginning as payment for the course. This will contribute to training materials, Venue, Facilitation fees, Internet Data, and Zoom fees for the whole course.

Payment & Registration Procedure

Selected participants will receive admission letters and bank account details to make full payment before the start of the course.

After banking on the account, scan the Deposit Slip to  imutyaba@musph.ac.ug or deliver the hard copy to Room 3, Ground Floor, Makerere University School of Public Health, New Mulago complex for registration or call +256785510385

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Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe attends WUN/ARUA AGM at the Future Africa Campus, University of Pretoria

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Professor Barnabas Nawangwe (2nd Left) with Left to Right: Dr. Chrispus Mayora-Mak School of Public Health, Professor Rob Marchant-Department of Environment and Geography, and Co-Chair of the York Africa Network (alongside Prof Cathy Mbidde), Edward Kataika-Director of Programmes (ECSA), Elisha Witcomb-Global Partnerships Manager (UoY), Dr. Ana MacIntosh-Director of Strategic Programmes, Assuring Autonomy and AI (UoY), and Professor Paul Revil-Centre for Health Economics (UoY) at the meeting. WUN/ARUA AGM, 22nd - 23rd May 2024, University of Pretoria, South Africa.

On 22 – 23 May 2024, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, joined the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) and African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Presidents’ Forum at their Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at Future Africa Campus, University of Pretoria, South Africa. WUN is a network of twenty-four (24) world-leading teaching and research-intensive universities across six (6) continents, which facilitates collaboration across institutions in order to strengthen the impact of their work. On the other hand, ARUA is a network of sixteen (16) of the Africa region’s leading universities mainly aimed at expanding and enhancing significantly the quality of research done in Africa by African researchers.

This year’s AGM was held under the theme: “Addressing Global Research Challenges in an African Context” and this theme was canvassed under five major thematic areas:

  1. Establishing Equitable Research Partnerships – mapping the historical perspectives and way forward
  2. Building Successful Projects/Collaborations: experiences and lessons from different universities
  3. Developing Research Careers – through PhDs and Postdoctoral Trainings and early faculty career development opportunities
  4. Maximizing the Benefits of Partnership – tackling research challenges effectively through global partnerships and engagements
  5. Opportunities for WUN and ARUA and how to harness the networks.

Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe chaired two thematic discussions, where he also shared the experiences of Makerere University in building and sustaining effective North-South and South-South partnerships for capacity building, knowledge sharing, and research. The Vice Chancellor shared experience of two successful models of collaboration: 1) the Makerere University – Karolinska Institutet collaboration, through which hundreds of PhDs have been trained at Makerere University through the double PhD arrangement; and 2) the NORHED funded collaboration – a long-standing collaboration dating more than 15 years. Prof. Nawangwe noted that these two collaborations have been very instrumental in faculty training and capacity building at Makerere University, to the extent that now Makerere University has more than 70% of its staff with PhDs. Prof. Nawangwe attributed the success of the collaborations to the openness, trust, and mutual respect among the partners. He noted that even when the Northern partners provided funding, they allowed Makerere University to determine the priority research areas that students wanted to pursue. This way, students’ research became relevant to local challenges.

It was noted that Universities in Africa were facing immense pressure and challenges to continue to deliver quality teaching and research. These challenges related to low funding including low investments in Lab infrastructure, and research and development, limited infrastructure, limited number of faculty with PhDs, high staff to student ratios, among others. Surmounting these challenges required deepening research skills within specific disciplines, developing staff with multi and inter-disciplinary skills, developing staff with transferable and soft skills, and most importantly identifying new partnerships and collaborations while sustaining existing ones.

To strengthen PhD training to prepare the next generation of researchers, ARUA had received funding support from Mastercard Foundation and other partners to train up to 100,000 PhDs in Africa in the next 10 years. It is believed that this will boost Universities’ capacities to undertake their mandates and contribute to social transformation of Africa.

Participants also noted that while it is important to focus on PhD trainings, its also important to focus on building careers of University Faculty beyond PhDs. There is more to just getting a PhD degree, a lot of development must happen at Postdoctoral level if Universities are to enhance research capacity. These post-doctoral capacity building initiatives require clear, deliberate, and intentional institutional frameworks including partnerships to achieve. Young faculty need to be supported and mentored as they embark on careers in research. Beyond identifying and building North-South partnerships, it was imperative that African Universities continue to work with each other in South-South arrangements to optimize already existing – yet untapped potentials – within African institutions

Professor Nawangwe meets with team from University of York

The University of York has been a longstanding partner of Makerere University mainly in terms of supporting the Innovations Hub and previous work with the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI). The Centre for Health Economics (CHE) has since 2017 been working with the School of Public Health (MakSPH) to support policy and decision-making at the Ministry of Health. Through the Thanzi La Onze (TLO) collaboration program, University of York is focused on capacity building for health economics and policy in Uganda and the region. The CHE has partnered with MakSPH under the Health Economics and Policy Program (HEPP) to support the establishment of a Master of Health Economics graduate program at Makerere University, which is going to be the first of its kind in the region. Program approval processes are currently ongoing.

Prof. Nawangwe and the York team also discussed additional collaboration in the areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Environment, Climate Change, and Health.

In the meeting, it was noted that the University of York’s Assuring Autonomy, Centre for Doctoral Training in Safe AI, and the wider initiative – the Institute for Safe Autonomy are already existing initiatives that both institutions could explore working on. On his part, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Nawangwe noted that Makerere University had a growing interest in the area of AI and already different initiatives were ongoing. He noted a strand of work on AI at the College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) led by Dr. Rose Nakasi who is working on the AI-Health Lab, where Artificial Intelligence and data science are applied to support and solve health-related challenges especially in the developing world. Makerere University also hosts another AI lab, headed by Dr. Joyce Nabende. Also, under the ARUA-Guild Cluster of research excellence, formed in 2023, there is a cluster on ‘AI, Data Science and Computational Thinking’. The Cluster is a collaboration between University of Stellenbosch (as ARUA lead), Uppsala (Guild lead), Makerere, Coventry, Nairobi, Rwanda, Rhodes, Lagos and Warwick. At Makerere University, the Cluster is coordinated by Prof. John Mango and Dr. Joyce Nabende. Makerere University is scheduled to host a summer school for three weeks (starting 8th July 2024) on Mathematics for AI. The school is jointly organized by the Eastern Africa Universities Mathematics Program (EAUMP), ISP-Sweden, Department of Computer Science and Department of Mathematics at Makerere, Lappeenranta University in Finland, ICTP-Italy, The International Center for Pure and Applied Mathematics (CIMPA) among other institutions.

Next steps

The meeting appreciated the need to continue to work together to advance the mutual interests of the two institutions. It was agreed that follow-up conversations should happen more especially between the team leads at the two institutions to explore opportunities for working together on not only the existing, but also new strands of work. Prof. Nawangwe appreciated the University of York for all the support and committed to follow up on the conversation and specifically the master of Health economics program development process between School of Public Health and School of Economics.

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