On Thursday, 30th May 2019, Makerere University was privileged to host the official launch of the Uganda Economic Update, 13th Edition in partnership with the World Bank Group (WBG). Held in the Main Hall, the event was presided over by the State Minister for Higher Education, Hon. Dr. John Chrysostom Muyingo, who represented the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni.
Delivering the welcome remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe thanked the World Bank Group chiefly represented by the Uganda Country Manager Mr. Antony Thompson, for choosing Makerere University to host the event. He noted that the theme for the 13th Edition; Economic Development and Human Capital in Uganda: A case for Investing more in Education particularly fits in well with Makerere’s mandate to produce quality human resources for the region.
“The 13th Economic Update highlights pertinent issues rotating around improving quality in the Uganda’s Education sector, which are also at the heart of Makerere University. I particularly appreciate the World Bank’s Human Capital Index (HCI) that measures the impact of under investing in human capital on the productivity of the next generation of workers” added Prof. Nawangwe.
Prof. Nawangwe further thanked the World Bank for collaborating with staff at the School of Economics to produce and disseminate the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Uganda Economic Updates as well as allocating a US$900,000 grant to establish a Public Investment Management (PIM) Centre of Excellence at the same School. He noted that the two World Bank funded Centres of Excellence the; African Center of Excellence in Materials, Product Development and Nano-Technology (MAPRONANO) and Makerere University Regional Centre of Excellence in Crop Improvement (MaRCCI) had since inception recruited students at Masters and PhD level, procured equipment and facilitated various capacity building trainings for staff.
In his remarks, Mr. Antony Thompson thanked the Vice Chancellor and University leadership for accepting to host the launch of the 13th Edition of the Economic Update. Admitting that the launch was his inaugural visit to Makerere, he could not hide his admiration for the job well done by KCCA in rehabilitating infrastructure at the University as part of the Second Kampala Institutional and Infrastructure Development Project (KIIDP-2).
Mr. Thompson observed that although Uganda’s economy remains strong and stable, it still faces major risks such as poor quality of the human capital. He advised that countries can only end extreme poverty and create more inclusive societies if they invest in developing their human capital. “In addition to the economic benefits, basic education increases individual’s earnings by about 70 percent. Education reduces the risk of poverty and provides other benefits, including lower under-age pregnancy and better health outcomes.”
The Country Manager however noted that despite advances such as Universal Primary Education (UPE) made by the Ugandan Education sector, the country’s Human Capital Index still remains low. “A child born in Uganda today will be only 38% as productive when she grows up as she could be if she enjoyed complete education and full health.”
He also reported that over 1.4million pupils currently drop out from primary schools and never make it to P7. He nevertheless opined that when this trend is addressed, one million new places need to be created in lower secondary schools in next 6 years to accommodate this additional intake.
“Achieving these ambitious results will require significant changes in educational policy and major additional investments of at least $2 billion between 2019 and 2025 to improve both the quality of learning and enrollment. This requires increasing the current education spending from 10 percent to reach the sub Saharan average of 16 percent” explained the Country Manager.
He nevertheless reiterated the World Bank’s commitment to support the Ugandan Government to realize these goals.
The panel discussion that followed the presentation of the Economic Update brought to light a number of initiatives being undertaken by the Ugandan Government in partnership with the World Bank as well as several points of reflection. The presentation underscored the need to increase budgetary allocation to the Education Sector, expand early childhood (pre-primary) education, scrap the Primary Leaving Examination (PLE) in preference for continuous assessment, adopt the automatic promotion policy and improve the transition rate from Primary to Secondary school among other recommendations.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES), Mr. Alex Kakooza shared that through the Uganda Teacher and School Effectiveness Project (UTSEP), MoES had with support from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) under supervision of the World Bank been able to improve early grade literacy instruction and parent participation in children education. UTSEP has also improved parent participation in school activities like feeding programmes. He added that the outcomes from the pilot districts in Eastern Uganda had been tremendous so far, with pupils as low as P3 exhibiting improved literacy and numeracy skills.
Mr. Kakooza however observed that more resources will be required to implement the World Bank recommendations, especially in the recruitment of more teachers and construction of additional classrooms. “Currently, over 1,000 parishes in Uganda do not have primary schools. If these were to be constructed, an additional 20,000 teachers would need to be recruited to teach these pupils.”
He nevertheless thanked the World Bank for sharing cost effective infrastructure development plans, which would enable the Ministry meet the rapidly growing demand for classroom space.
The Executive Director National Planning Authority (NPA), Dr. Joseph Muvawala observed that whereas Uganda constantly trumped up the benefits of reaping a demographic dividend from its relatively young population, well structured investments were of utmost importance. “I thank the World Bank for this report but wish to state that dividends accrue to those that invest and it is clear that we are not investing enough.”
On the scrapping of PLE, Dr. Muvawala said that whereas this was technically the most viable option, it would not be implementable as observations had revealed teachers’ preference of a final exam over continuous assessment. He also stressed the need to further investigate the high dropouts recorded at primary level and come up with investments aimed at addressing the findings.
The Deputy Secretary to the Treasury, Mr. Patrick Ocailap’s opportunity to speak was highly anticipated as most recommendations had in essence called for increased budgetary allocation to the Education sector. He thanked the World Bank Group for its report and concurred with all the findings and conclusions therein. He nevertheless asked the calls for increased funding to be matched with an analysis of efficient use of current allocations to the sector.
Mr. Ocailap also advocated for improved efficiency in revenue collection as a way of boosting government revenue but cautioned that as the economy expands, marginal and not proportional allocations to the education sector might be the more viable option.
The Deputy Secretary to Treasury also weighed in on the calls for increased salaries to teachers, noting that they were indeed legitimate. He however emphasised that this ought to be balanced by evident improvements in students’ performance and improved efficiency of teaching in schools.
Mr. Patrick Kaboyo the Executive Director, Coalition of Uganda Private School Teachers Association (COUPSTA) reminded the gathering that whereas world leaders meeting in Muscat, Oman in 2014 had agreed to commit 6% of national GDP to Education, Uganda’s commitment still stood at less than 3%. He nevertheless applauded the Cabinet for approving the National Teacher Policy on 1st April 2019, which would go a long way in improving teachers’ productivity, discipline, retention and motivation.
He acknowledged that whereas the Ugandan Education Sector is currently in reform mode, there was need to look beyond improving access and massification to ensuring that the sector produces critical thinkers. These, he noted, would be better suited to function in today’s creativity-driven marketplace.
A curriculum that matches personal development and attainment of knowledge with the skills that meet current industry demands will be a great asset to the implementation of WBG recommendations and achievement of the Education Sector’s targets. Dr. Rovincer Najjuma a Lecturer and Curriculum Specialist in the College of Education and External Studies (CEES) shared that Uganda requires a curriculum that offers holistic development of skills at all levels of education because the employability of a workforce starts with skills developed right from the foundational stages of lower primary.
She however cautioned that developing a great curriculum should not take precedence over the training of quality teachers. This position, she said, was derived from reports showing that a child in sub-Saharan Africa spends a great percentage of their school going age interacting with teachers. As such, teachers possibly have the greatest influence on pupils. She therefore advocated for a Centre of Excellence to develop teachers’ capabilities.
Delivering the final address of the day, the Guest of Honour, Hon. Dr. John Chrysostom Muyingo thanked the Makerere University Management for accepting to host the important launch. He equally thanked the WBG Country Director for the well researched report, noting that it would generate a lot of debate from almost every Ugandan. He asked the audience to observe a moment of silence in respect of a great academic and former Prime Minister and Chancellor of Makerere University, Rt. Hon. Prof. Apolo Robin Nsibambi who passed away on Tuesday 28th May 2019.
Reading the First Lady and Honourable Minister of Education and Sports’ remarks, Hon. Muyingo said that Africa has been reported as the region of the world having the highest return on Education. He shared that MoES has been reviewing the Government White Paper on Education (1992), which analyses the full scope of education sector and its polices. He added that MoES is working with the WBG under the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to review Uganda’s Integrated Early Childhood Development Policy so as to ensure adherence to minimum standards.
The State Minister for Education further reported that the Government had approved the Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Policy. The policy will pave way for an employer-led TVET System and TVET Qualification Framework. He added that MoES would soon come up with an ICT Education Policy to enhance access to the vast online resources.
Hon. Muyingo concluded his remarks by appreciating all partners who work with the Ministry of Education and Sports to ensure timely delivery of quality education and thanked WBG for the well-timed release of the report, noting that it will inform ongoing policy reform.
Article by Public Relations Office.
Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda calls for full involvement of men and boys in achieving Gender Equality
The Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda Her Excellence Maria Håkansson has emphasized the need to fully engage men and boys in all the initiatives geared towards achieving Gender Equality in Uganda and other parts of the world. She said this on 28th November 2023 at a press conference organized by the Embassy of Sweden in close collaboration with Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, UN Women and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to unveil the National Orange Pledge campaign and officially launch the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
The press conference was headlined by a Ugandan rapper and record producer Daniel Lubwama Kigozi, popularly known by his stage name Navio and his fellow from Sweden Jason Michael Bosak Diakité popularly known as Timbuktu. Over 200 students both male and female from Makerere University and other institutions of higher learning attended the press conference at Makerere University Rugby Grounds.
According to Her Excellence Maria Håkansson, Gender Equality cannot be achieved without involving men and boys to take their responsibilities and be the drivers of change. “For real change to happen, we need to change attitudes and norms that might cause Gender Based Violence, one of the social ills in Uganda and an extreme of gender inequality that occurs at all levels of society,” she said.
Referring to the national survey conducted in 2020, the Ambassador was concerned about the escalating burden of gender based violence in Uganda when she said, “the Survey highlighted that 95% of women and girls experience physical or sexual violence since the age of 15.”
She therefore emphasized the Global 16 Days of Activism as key international movement to increase awareness and advocate for an end to Gender Based Violence. The Ambassador also mentioned that preventing and responding to Gender Based Violence is a cornerstone for Sweden’s commitment to promote democracy, human rights and gender equality and this is done as an investment in a society that upholds the principles of equality, dignity and justice.
She acknowledged the full participation of university students in all campaigns and activities geared towards achieving gender equality as well as ending Gender Based Violence when she said, “You are the leaders of tomorrow and you have an opportunity to build a future where everyone can thrive. So please use today to take an active stand against Gender Based Violence.”
Every year Uganda joins the rest of the world to enhance the global campaigns on 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and also add a voice to the call for an end to violence against women and girls. These campaigns run from 25th November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) until 10th December of the Human Rights Day.
The United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 initiative calls for global action to increase awareness, galvanize advocacy efforts and share knowledge and innovations to help end all types of violence against women and girls. This year 2023, the UNiTE campaign theme is; Invest to Prevent Violence against Women & Girls.
Over the years, Makerere University through its Gender Mainstreaming Directorate and School of Women and Gender in partnership with UN Women and many other partners have been at the fore front to support the campaign on 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence in Uganda. This has been done through debates, theatre forums, student dialogues, thematic artistic presentations, media exposures, drama and music skits presentation, and student peer led discussions and quarterly competitions.
This year 2023, the University in partnership with the Embassy of Sweden, UN Women and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) unveiled the Orange Pledge. According to Eric Tumwesigye the Senior Gender Specialist at Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, this campaign calls upon government, policymakers, activists, civil societies, academicians, students and all members of community from all parts of the country to make their heartfelt pledges towards ending Gender Based Violence in Uganda and the rest of the world.
The UN Women Country Representative Paulina Chiwangu recognized the investment Makerere University, the Embassy of Sweden and UNFPA have made to end violence against women and girls. “Thanks to our collective efforts, the silence that used to shroud violence against women has now been broken” said.
In the same spirit, she acknowledged the progress Makerere University has made in establishing and implementation of the University’s Policy and Regulations against Sexual Harassment to protect students and staff from potential abuses of power and conflict of interest. She also applauded the increased support and training for students and the strengthened mechanisms for investigations that allow students and staff to anonymously report sexual misconduct.
“We are however, aware that despite this, sexual harassment is still happening in the university and that not many students report to the authorities when they experience it. It is therefore, our humble appeal to the university leadership to continue monitoring the implementation of the Policy and Regulations Against Sexual Harassment, take all allegations of sexual harassment and violence seriously, ensure that all personnel have information on available support services and take action to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable.”
Reaffirming the University’s position in fighting GBV and particularly sexual harassment, the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe was highlighted the various measures Makerere University has put in place to prevent and respond to Gender Based Violence. To him, the Policy and Regulations against Sexual Harassment; the appointment and capacity building for the Vice Chancellor’s Roster of 100 eminent people from the various colleges and administrative units; recruitment and training of the Gender Mainstreaming Programme Student Peer Trainers and setting up Sexual Harassment Investigation Committees are bigger milestones to celebrate.
He appreciated the move by the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate and all the partners to embrace entertainment and artistry as a critical advocacy and awareness tool to reach several communities especially the youth.
“We firmly believe in the transformative power of music and the arts in promoting social change. Music and art does serve as a powerful medium to advocate for the world free from violence especially violence against women,” said to Mr. Dainel Alemu, the UNFPA Deputy Country Representative.
“It is heartening to see artists like Navio taking a stand and using their influence to challenge harmful norms. As we revel in the beats and melodies, let us not forget he underlying message that everyone , regardless of gender, has a role to play in fostering a world where everyone is free from shackles of gender based violence,” he added.
Speaking at the Press Conference at Makerere University Rugby Grounds, Navio said that for the 20 years he has been an activist of Gender Based Violence, he has faced the reality of many young girls and women in Uganda being victims of sex and physical abuse. He therefore sent a huge condemnation to men especially artists that who are perpetrators of Gender Based Violence and called for serious government action and clear policies and laws against such injustices.
Navio applauded the women and men who have stood tall over the years to fight against Gender Based Violence in Uganda when he said, “ As we launch the 16 days activism in Uganda and through these pledges we are making, let us be accountable for our actions. For long in our cultures, men have considered force and violence as power and protection. They have been tough to their children hence instilling fear to the extent that the children cannot freely interact with them on serious matters such as abuse and torture.”
He applauded all families that have adopted the new parenting model of free conversations and interaction hence encouraging children to freely open up whenever they have challenges. Navio also acknowledged the role of his mother Mrs Maggie Kigozi as a human rights activist and a champion in fighting against Gender Based Violence in Uganda.
Jason Michael Bosak Diakité popularly known as Timbuktu from Sweden appreciated the wider platform provided by the music industry globally for artists to act as role models and champion of change. The rapper highlighted the need to respect women for their roles and support towards community development.
“I am a son and it is extremely important for me to respect my mother and all women. Also being a father to a beautiful daughter, I am always eager and looking forward to seeing the best future for her. I want daught to grow up in the world where she is able to feel safe and be allowed to freely associate without being discriminated or threatened because of her gender,” he said.
Scholars & Alumni of Mastercard Foundation light up Achukudu Community, Napak District
By Bernard Buteera
On Saturday 2nd December 2023, all roads led to Achukudu Community Primary School in Napak District, Karamoja sub-region, as the Scholars and Alumni of Mastercard Foundation at Makerere University commemorated their Scholars’ Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback). The 2023 Scholars Annual Day of Community Service was held at Achukudu Community Primary School, Napak District in the Karamoja sub-region. Established in 2013, Achukudu Community School serves two ethnic communities—The Iteso and Karamojong.
With a total population of 1,097 pupils only three government-paid teachers, and nine community-paid teachers, the School faces a plethora of challenges. Key among the challenges is the lack of Classrooms, decent Ventilated Pit Latrines, and Desks. Therefore when the Scholars identified the School as one that deserved to be given a gift of a classroom block, it was a befitting choice!
The Scholars with support from the alumni, the Program Team, Members of the Steering Committee, and partners of the Scholars Program at Makerere University intervened by constructing a two-classroom block, which was supervised by one of the alumni who is an Engineer. Alongside the classroom block, the Scholars also provided 40 desks, helping the school meet UNEB Center eligibility criteria.
While presiding over the event, the area member of Parliament, Hon. John Bosco Ngoya, thanked the Scholars and alumni community at Makerere University for supporting the young pupils of Achukudu Primary School and the entire community by gifting them with a two-classroom block.
“Thank you Scholars and alumni of Mastercard Foundation at Makerere University for the Christmas gift of a classroom block to the young people and the entire community of Achukudu. This classroom block will go a long way in improving the learning environment of the young children of Achukudu primary school.” Hon. Ngoya pointed out.
Hon. Ngoya called upon other people to emulate the Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation in embracing the spirit of giving back to the vulnerable people in the community. On his part, he donated One Million Five hundred shillings (1,500,000/=) to help the School purchase more desks, and he had earlier contributed One million shillings (1,000,000/=) towards the construction of the classroom block.
The District Education Officer (DEO) for Napak District, Ms. Joyce Nakoya, praised the Scholars Community for embracing and practicing the spirit of giving back to other people at an early age.
“Thank you Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation at Makerere for embracing the spirit of giving back to other people at such an early age. If all people gave back to the less privileged in our communities, we would have a better world for everyone.” Ms. Nakoya pointed out.
Ms. Nakoya further pointed out every child deserves to study in a decent environment, therefore it was a befitting cause for the Scholars to construct a classroom block for the young pupils of Achukudu community primary school, who were studying in open grass thatched classrooms.
The Program Manager of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University, Ms. Jolly Okumu who led the team of Scholars, alumni, and staff to Karamoja thanked the community of Achukudu for supporting the Scholars to deliver the class block by contributing to the construction sand.
“We come here today to join with you as a community driven by a shared commitment to education, empowerment, and ethos of giving back. Today is a historic occasion as we celebrate the completion and commissioning of the classroom block, which is a remarkable testament to the transformative power of education and our unwavering spirit of community service.” Ms. Jolly remarked.
The President of the Scholars Association, Mr. Godfrey Okello, thanked all the Scholars and alumni, and all stakeholders who contributed to the construction of the classroom block, which was a dream that became a reality.
“I would like to thank my colleagues and people of goodwill who supported us to realize our dream of constructing this classroom for our young brothers and sisters of Achukudu Primary School. Together we can make a difference in the lives of our fellow young people in Uganda and Africa as a whole.” Mr. Okello remarked.
The Headteacher of the School, Mr. Eryebu Raymond, who was visibly very excited was full of praises for Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation, for what he termed as an iconic classroom block they had gifted to his School.
“This day is very special to us, we will not see this day again. We are delighted to receive the Scholars and alumni of Mastercard Foundation from Makerere University, thank you for considering supporting our School” Mr. Eryebu excitedly remarked.
The Headteacher revealed that one of the major challenges the school was facing was an acute shortage of classrooms for his 1,097 pupils. He was therefore grateful to Mastercard Foundation Scholars for choosing to construct a two-class block for the School.
“This donation of a classroom block and Desks is a testament to your commitment to education and empowering the lives of the vulnerable people in the community. This classroom block and desks will go a long way in improving the quality of teaching and learning at our school.” Mr. Eryebu further remarked.
The 2023 Scholars Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback) was punctuated with a lot of joy, pomp, and fanfare, as the pupils and the entire community of Achukudu danced and ululated at the commissioning of the classroom block. The construction of the classroom block and purchase of desks for Achukudu Community Primary School was made possible by generous contributions by the Scholars, alumni, the Program Team, and members of the Steering Committee.
Among the Partners who made financial contributions towards the class block construction included; DFCU Bank, Post Bank, URA, Katumba Estates, Footsteps Furniture Ltd, and Sion Travels Ltd.
The Scholars and Alumni Day of Community Service (Give back) is an annual event, where Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation go out into the community to give back by providing solutions to challenges that a particular community is facing. Over the years Scholars have given back to the communities in numerous ways that range from offering professional services and erecting major projects like classroom blocks.
Bernard Buteera is the Communications and Public Relations Officer of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University.
Innovations using low cost locally available materials for point of use water treatment system unveiled
The College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) conducted a Research Dissemination of two studies aimed at the Development of Materials for point of use water treatment systems.
The investigations were conducted by a team of researchers comprised of P. W. Olupot, H. M. Kalibbala, E. Menya, G.M. Wangi, J. Jjagwe, J. Wakatuntu, M. Turyasingura, R. Walozi, C. Kanyesigye and R. N. Kulabako.
The dissemination event held on Wednesday 29th November 2023 follows the successful completion of two MakRIF supported Research projects namely; Development of rice husk based granular activated carbon for point-of-use water treatment systems and Development of zeolite-based nanocomposite filters for drinking water treatment.
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