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Prof. Senteza Kajubi Lecture Re-awakens Debate on Quality Education



The Second Professor William Senteza Kajubi Memorial Lecture was yet another opportunity for the family, friends and educationists from all over Uganda and beyond to celebrate the life of this gallant alumnus and career teacher. Held in the Central Teaching Facility 2 (CTF 2) Auditorim, Makerere University on Thursday 14th November 2019, the Lecture was organised by the College of Education and External Studies (CEES) with support from friends and the family of the late Professor William Senteza Kajubi.

Delivering the keynote address on the theme, "Fostering the Quality of Education in Uganda" the Vice Chancellor, Uganda Christian University (UCU) Rev. Canon Dr. John Senyonyi expressed his joy at being chosen to deliver the Second Memorial Lecture in honour of a man he first met as an S.5 student at King’s College Budo in 1973.

“Prof. Senteza Kajubi later on become my Vice Chancellor at Makerere University, where I returned in 1978 to teach in the Department of Mathematics” he added.

The Vice Chancellor, Uganda Christian University, Rev. Canon Dr. John Senyonyi delivered the 2nd Prof. William Senteza Kajubi Memorial Lecture on 14th November 2019, CTF 2, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda

Rev. Canon Senyonyi’s lecture was insightful and holistic as it tackled the subject of quality right from pre-primary level to higher tertiary education institutions. It regularly posed questions that provoked members of the audience to ponder, and was full of quotes from fellow educationists, philosophers and world leaders.

One of these was from the President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address of 1961, “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for youask what you can do for your country.”

His resounding call at the end of each discourse on a level of education was the need for Government to step in and regulate the seemingly ‘runaway’ establishment of institutions. In particular, he noted that “Government should take a keen interest in Pre-Primary education… setting up an independent institution to handle the regulation of Pre-Primary Education will ensure quality right from the start.”

Attendees of the 2nd Prof. William Senteza Kajubi Memorial Lecture included; Prof. Paul Mugambi (Left), Hon. John Ken Lukyamuzi "The Man" (3rd Left), Prof. John Musaazi (Right), Prof. Semakula Kiwanuka (2nd Right), Dr. Edward Kayondo (3rd Right) among others

Dr. Senyonyi explained that learners at this stage are very susceptible to bias and any bad experience that causes them to detest going to school could stay with them the rest of their academic life. This, he noted, is much harder to undo as the student advances, hence the need to ensure quality right from the foundational stages.

The discourse on Higher Tertiary Education is where the need for better quality came to roost. Here, Dr. Senyonyi started on a poignant note saying “Higher Education might not be for all and yet the development of our country cannot do without it…”

He discussed the mismatch between the increasing numbers of graduates who cannot find jobs and the job market that cannot absorb qualified ones owing to their lack of practical skills. The Keynote speaker in this case proposed the need to establish a network of incubation centres, where learners ought to spend considerable time honing their ability to translate the theory learnt in class into practical skills.

Former Mak Librarian-Prof. Maria G.N. Musoke (Right), Fmr. Katikkiro of Buganda-Owek. Dan Muliika (5th Right) and other friends attended the 2nd Prof. William Senteza Kajubi Memorial Lecture on 14th November 2019, CTF 2, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda

The presence of strong regulatory bodies in any industry is one of the guarantors of good quality outputs. Dr. Senyonyi in this case called for the need to strengthen the education regulatory bodies by funding them adequately. He noted that this would be the only way to ensure that these bodies are able to carry out their work autonomously and effectively, political interference notwithstanding.

Touching on the sensitive subject of moonlighting by lecturers, Dr. Senyonyi shared that “it is a reality today that universities are sharing full-time staff.” He attributed this to the lack of a critical mass of qualified lecturers and the absence of a proper tracking mechanism. The UCU Vice Chancellor therefore called for the need to establish a database of all academic staff by which they can be monitored and accredited.

The evolution of technology and its effect on teaching and learning was another subject that the keynote address tackled. “Higher Tertiary Education cannot ignore the need for E-learning, E-teaching, E-Libraries and other E-resources in the delivery of quality education” noted Dr. Senyonyi. He however, warned against “death of contact” as the negative consequence of e-learning. Personal contact between teachers and their students, he noted, is important in imparting other social skills useful in the job market.

The Vice Chancellor, Ndejje University-Prof. Eriabu Lugujjo urged Ugandans especially the youth to be frugal with the little resources available for implementation of recommendations on improving the quality of education at the 2nd Prof. William Senteza Kajubi Memorial Lecture on 14th November 2019, CTF 2, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda

Conducting prolific research without a clear strategy for dissemination is a drawback for many academic institutions and research agencies. In his now familiar style of posing questions, Dr. Senyonyi challenged his audience to reveal the conferences or other platforms through which Ugandan research institutes and bodies disseminate the findings of their work.

Funding for Higher Education Institutions is another topic whose discussion can rage on for days. Dr. Senyonyi who presides over a privately-funded institution challenged his hosts despite being a Government-funded institution, not to overly rely on this mode of funding. He instead recommended that Higher Education Institutions be supported by Government to build endowment funds, which can then be used to fund their operations.

The keynote lecture discussant Dr. David Onen, Senior Lecturer, CEES, was equally up to the task as he gave an emotional but rousing response to the keynote address. He thanked his college of recognizing Prof. William Senteza Kajubi, noting that his contribution to Uganda’s education sector cannot be ignored. The discussant therefore gave his response in the context of Prof. Senteza Kajubi’s exemplary life versus the current situation.

Discussant of the 2nd Prof. William Senteza Kajubi Memorial Lecture Keynote address, Dr. David Onen, Senior Lecturer, CEES, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda

Dr. Onen cautioned the audience to think about the inequality that has cropped up in our schools in terms of different amounts of fees paid by schools in Kampala and those in the rural areas. He noted that this inevitably leads to a difference in the quality of education delivered in rural and urban settings, which wasn’t the case when Prof. Senteza Kajubi went to school.

“Professor Senteza Kajubi loved teaching, he loved his colleagues and his students unlike today’s teachers who are no longer dedicated” said Dr. Onen as he addressed another topic, before adding “Most teachers in Uganda today are angry people; they come to class annoyed and leave even more annoyed.”

The discussant also shared that whereas Prof. Kajubi did not attain a PhD, his writings and manuscripts portray him as a man of quality and a distinguished scholar. He added that as an Educational Administrator, Prof. Senteza Kajubi was a jolly man who knew how to cooperate with colleagues.

Principal CEES-Prof. Fred Masagazi Masaazi (Right) presents a commemorative T-Shirt to Dr. Jessica Aguti (Left) who moderated the debate following the Keynote address and discussion at the 2nd Prof. William Senteza Kajubi Memorial Lecture on 14th November 2019, CTF 2, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda

Dr. Onen however decried what he termed as ‘today’s generation’s loss of the sense of what true quality is’, instead settling for anything goes. “Quality education must focus on truth” he appealed. “However, people only say what they want people to hear and as a result, truth is a causality among us for several reasons” added Dr. Onen almost sorrowfully.  

The discussant concluded his response by noting that none of the recommendations made by Dr. Senyonyi in his keynote address, unfortunately, were new to the audience. He nevertheless noted that we, as a country, need to do a better job of implementing the wonderful recommendations of various committees.

Responding to the day’s presentations, the Principal CEES, Prof. Fred Masagazi Masaazi reassured the audience that the content from Dr. Senyonyi’s keynote address and Dr. Onen’s response would be published so as to reach a wider audience. He added that the findings from the keynote address and recommendations from the day’s proceedings would be shared with stakeholders in the Ministry of Education and Sports.

The DVCAA-Dr. Umar Kakumba (Left) receives a commemorative T-Shirt from the Principal CEES-Prof. Fred Masagazi Masaazi (Right) at the 2nd Prof. William Senteza Kajubi Memorial Lecture on 14th November 2019, CTF 2, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda

Delivering his remarks at the lecture, the Acting Vice Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs), Dr. Umar Kakumba, quoting a poem paying tribute to Professor William Senteza Kajubi following his demise, noted that “he was a candle that lit other candles”. He therefore thanked CEES, friends and Prof. Senteza Kajubi’s family for ensuring that his legacy still lives on today through events such as the Memorial lecture.

Dr. Kakumba shared that Makerere University has made great strides in training quality human resource for Uganda and the region as was shown by the diversity of alumni; some well over 60 years of age, who graced the Memorial Lecture. “Our very own Chairperson of Council is an alumna of the School of Education” he added, followed by thunderous applause and cheers from the audience.

The Acting Vice Chancellor nevertheless challenged CEES to organize more debates discussing the quality of education and topics of similar importance, especially as Makerere University prepares to celebrate 100 years of existence in 2022.

The Chairperson, Makerere University Council-Mrs. Lorna Magara addresses the 2nd Prof. William Senteza Kajubi Memorial Lecture on 14th November 2019, CTF 2, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda

The Chief Guest at the Memorial Lecture and Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara in her address to the gathering thanked the University Management and CEES for organizing the Memorial Lecture and encouraged them to continue providing many similar forums where in-depth discussions that are of generational impact on society can be shared.

“I am honoured to be at this very distinguished session and discussion celebrating the life of Professor William Senteza Kajubi who was a door opener; he opened doors of opportunity for many” she said.

Mrs. Magara added that quality education is a multi-dimensional aspect that goes beyond the transference of information from teacher to student to the impartation of life. She therefore decried the current trend that celebrates the academic prowess of a few prolific candidates and not quality education.

“It saddens my heart when for weeks after the release of PLE results by UNEB, our newspapers are awash with candidates who have got 4 aggregates… what we applaud becomes the standard… can we kindly move away from the 4 aggregates to what the value of quality education is?” pondered Mrs. Magara.

Mr. Wasswa Kajubi spoke on behalf of the Professor William Senteza Kajubi family at the 2nd Memorial Lecture on 14th November 2019, CTF 2, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda

The Chairperson of Council concluded her remarks by urging all teachers to ensure that they go beyond simply communicating knowledge to being the true embodiment of quality in whatever they do and the character they portray to their students.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Mr. Wasswa Kajubi could not help but express his gratitude to Makerere University, CEES, friends and sponsors for the spirit and effort that goes into organizing the Professor William Senteza Kajubi Memorial Lecture. Wasswa is a son, and one half of the three sets of twins that Professor William Senteza Kajubi and his wife Princess Elsie Nabaloga had, a feat that none of the offspring are yet to replicate. He nevertheless sent the audience into rapturous laughter when he added, “however, there is still hope and in the spirit of the Gayaza High School motto, we shall NEVER GIVE UP.”

Mr. Kajubi also thanked several distinguished personalities as well as all members of the audience for sparing time off their busy schedules to attend the Memorial Lecture. He concluded by thanking CEES for hosting and maintaining the bust erected in honour of Professor William Senteza Kajubi at the School of Education.

Please see Downloads for the Keynote address and Response

Article by Public Relations Office

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