On Thursday 5th November, 2020, a project titled Enhancing Capacities of Women to Leadership Positions in Universities in Uganda (WOLEP) held a Dissemination Event at the Central Teaching Facility 1 (CTF1), Makerere University. The Principal Investigator (PI) WOLEP is Dr. Florence Nakamanya, Lecturer, East African School of Higher Education Studies and Development (EASHESD), College of Education and External Studies (CEES). The WOLEP team that also includes Assoc. Prof. Ronald Bisaso and Ms. Sharon Ainmbabazi recommended that Continuous Professional Development (CPD), Suitable Networking Platforms and Structured Mentorship Programmes are needed to enhance capacities of both incumbent and aspiring women leaders in Uganda’s Higher Education sector. The Dean, EASHESD, Assoc. Prof. Ronald Bisaso who was the moderator welcomed members to the dissemination and gave a preamble of the WOLEP project. The event started with a prayer led by Sr. Bernadette Lutaaya.
The event attracted a number of distinguished personalities who attended both physically and online. In attendance online were; Prof. Joy C. Kwesiga, the Vice Chancellor of Kabale University and the Guest of Honour, Prof. William Bazeyo, the Chairperson Grants Management Committee (GMC), Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF), Prof. Charles Masembe, GMC Member, Prof. Fred Masagazi Masaazi,the Principal, College of Education and External Studies(CEES), Ms. Harriet Adong, Head, Communication, RIF, Prof. Monica Chibita, Dean, Faculty of Journalism, Media and Communication, Uganda Christian University (UCU), Assoc. Prof. Betty Ezati, Dean, School of Education, Makerere University and GMC Member. In the physical meeting, we had the project team members, women leaders from Ugandan Universities including Makerere University, Kyambogo University, Ndejje University, Kampala International University, St. Lawrence University, Al-Mustafa Islamic College and female employees from the National Planning Authority (NPA) among others.
Dr. Nakamanya in her presentation highlighted that the project was made possible with funding from the Government of the Republic of Uganda through Mak-RIF. The PI noted that there exist leadership training programmes aimed at building capacities of female leaders in different parts of the world including Uganda. However, the numbers of women in leadership positions are still miserably low. For instance, she noted, we have only three female Vice Chancellors in Uganda and yet there are over 50 universities. Besides, the leadership training programmes provided are adhoc in nature, they are developed in the western world and adapted to African context, do not meet the current and emerging needs and largely depend on the availability of funding. This then created the need for the WOLEP project.
She enlisted the objectives the project as follows;
- To analyze the Leadership-related Training Programmes (LTPs) that women in leadership positions in universities in Uganda have attended.
- To establish the leadership-related competence profile for women in leadership positions in universities in Uganda.
- To investigate whether the existing leadership-related training programmes influence women’s aspirations and progression to leadership training positions in universities in Uganda.
- To examine women’s experiences with the existing Leadership-related Training Programmes in universities in Uganda.
- To identify the capacity needs and what works for women to occupy leadership positions in universities in Uganda.
The WOLEP project employed an interpretive approach to research because the team wanted to get an in-depth understanding of the issue that was under investigation. The participants of the project included the incumbent and aspiring female leaders. The Incumbents comprised of senior female leaders like Vice Chancellors, the middle leaders (Deputy Principals and Deans) and the lower leaders such as examination and research coordinators. The aspiring female leaders constituted any female academic member of staff in the university. The participants were purposively selected on the basis that they had ever attended a leadership-related training programmes and were drawn from the different categories of Ugandan Universities. The universities were categorized into public, private religious-affiliated and private-for-profit universities. Data was collected through interviewing 29 participants comprising of 2 senior female leaders, 9 middle female leaders, 9 lower female leaders and 9 aspiring female leaders.
The findings of the study include;
Objective One, where different Leadership-related Training Programmes (LTPs) were analyzed: It was discovered that the participants had attended international leadership-related programmes. Whereas the senior female leaders had participated in programmes organized by the Commonwealth, Higher Education Resources Services, Inter-University Council of East Africa, RUFORUM, the middle female leaders highlighted trainings such as the International Deans’ Course adn COACH AFRICA workshops in South Africa and Finland. Importantly, the international trainings were attended by mostly participants at all levels of leadership from the public universities. The middle female leaders had attended national leadership-related trainings particularly those organized by the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) whereas the lower and aspiring female leaders had mostly participated in internal institutional trainings.
Objective Two, which was about the competence profile of female leaders: She said that during the interviews, the participants shared competences related to leadership and management, teaching and research. Specifically, competences related to pedagogy, curriculum, research, social challenges, customer care, ICT, confidence building, teamwork, conflict resolution among others. She asked participants to reflect on how they teach and supervise graduate students in higher education.
Objective Three, on whether the existing LTPs influenced women’s aspirations and progression to Leadership: The female leaders shared that the training enabled them to acquire knowledge, share experiences, provided opportunities for personal professional development and networking. In-depth analysis had confirmed that the female leaders’ experiences with the existing LTPs influenced their desire to aspire and progress to academic and administrative leadership positions in Ugandan universities. For example, a female senior leader serving in a public university had said that “we are always given an opportunity to share experiences in the leadership training programmes. I ask colleagues and they would tell me how to solve it. I would get tips that I learn which makes me perform better in my work.”
Objective Four focused on experiences with LTPs: The focus was on the programme structure, stakeholder involvement and post-training experiences. The participants shared that the content provided in the trainings was too broad, theoretical and delivered in a very short period of time and yet very costly. She noted that there was limited stakeholder involvement, the training needs analysis was hardly done and there was unclear selection process. It was also found out that most of the LTPs that female leaders attend in Ugandan universities lacked the aspect of mentorship and did not make follow-ups. In view of this, achievement of the intended outcomes was constrained.
Objective Five identified the Capacity Needs for female leaders: The findings showed that the female incumbent and aspiring leaders would like to be capacitated in areas including networking and mentorship, research and publishing as well as leadership and management skills.
The study concluded that:
- Female leaders had attended International, National, and Institutional LTPs.
- The competence profile of female leaders comprised of leadership and management, teaching and research skills developed from the training programmes.
- LTPs had influenced women’s desire to aspire and progress to leadership positions.
- LTPs were too costly, theoretical with broad content, with limited stakeholders’ involvement, no follow up and lacked mentorship opportunities.
- Networking, mentorship, research and publishing as well as leadership and management skills were the capacity needs of incumbent and aspiring female leaders in Ugandan Universities.
The study recommended that:
- Continuous Professional Development should be rolled out for both incumbent and aspiring female leaders. The modularized programme that has been developed out of the current study will span a reasonable period of time and will be flexibly delivered using blended training approaches at the East African School of Higher Education Studies and Development, Makerere University.
- Universities should initiate sustainable networking platforms that provide avenues for incumbent and aspiring leaders to share experiences, challenges and new insights on how to perform their duties through periodic meetings and reflective seminars that could be flexibly organized or delivered using online technologies and social learning platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Zoom etc.
- The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development and other relevant stakeholders should collaboratively initiate and support robust structured mentorship programmes for women in higher education where those with rich experience are invited to share their life stories which could be published in different formats like videos and used to continually nurture aspiring leaders and equally enhance women’s progression to leadership
The study proposed an intervention/solution/programme informed by a range of capacity needs that were highlighted by women at the different levels of leadership. The two modules developed to be flexibly delivered are:
- Leadership and Management in Higher Education
- Career Advancement of Women in Higher Education
The PI shared a quote by Sheryl Sandberg:“If more women are in leadership roles, we’ll stop assuming they shouldn’t be”.
In her welcome remarks, Prof. Joy Kwesiga the Guest of Honour congratulated the project team on the important research in which she participated and that she had been looking forward to the general research results. She highlighted that there was a minimal number of females that participate in higher education leadership. She shared her past experience while serving in Makerere University and expected the findings to trigger reflection on how to increase the number of women in leadership positions through established policies, support mechanisms and practices. Prof. Kwesiga noted that when the only female presidential candidate Nancy Kalembe said that females are going to break the glass ceiling and that becoming president was one of them, her mind was drawn to the importance of gender perspectives in leadership and management, in teaching, and research. Finally, she said she was glad that the study had been successfully conducted and that it would open up into a wider field so that we can have specialists.
The Principal CEES, Prof. Fred Masagazi Masaazi in his remarks, congratulated the lead researcher Dr. Nakamanya Florence and the research team upon attaining the milestone. He said that, whereas research was a boost to our academic endeavors, it was also a springboard for opening up space for national development. He further said that he strongly believed that the findings would go a long way in informing gender policy and other aspects related to gender and Higher Education. He thanked the Dean, East African School of Higher Education Studies and Development (EASHESD), for the support in ensuring that the School contributes to the body of knowledge, and for impacting on the College’s visibility. He further thanked the Mak-RIF team for the support and for identifying and funding the special area of study on enhancing capacities of women to leadership positions in universities. He concluded by noting that young researchers like Dr. Nakamanya were pillars for the University’s development.
Prof. Charles Masembe, Member of the Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee (GMC) in his speech welcomed the participants noting that they had been drawn from different universities and organisations. He thanked them for making time to attend the dissemination. He thanked the researchers and innovators for their tireless efforts. In a special way, he thanked the Government of Uganda for the continued support to Makerere University and for funding research through Mak-RIF. He further said that for a country to move from lower to middle income status, it needs research. In addition, he said that Mak-RIF is aimed at complementing available research funding to address unfunded priorities critical to accelerating development across different sectors of the economy in Uganda. He was happy that the WOLEP project had unearthed the capacity needs of the different categories of female leaders. He implored the project team to partner with a range of stakeholders to address the capacity needs as they roll out the project’s proposed training programme.
Prof. William Bazeyo Chairperson Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee (GMC), thanked the organizers for the Dissemination. He highlighted that this was the first dissemination he had attended ever since the fund started. He congratulated Dr. Florence Nakamanya and her team and thanked the Principal, Professor Masagazi for supporting research efforts in CEES. He noted that he believed in negotiation and he challenged every researcher to become a negotiator so as to ensure research uptake by the policy makers. He noted that since Makerere has the capacity and the negotiation skills, it should do better. He acknowledged the contributions of other teams on RIF1 and RIF2 and announced that RIF3 had been approved. He emphasized that whereas RIF1 was UGX 30 billion, RIF2 was UGX 30 billion and COVID-19 Response UGX 9.3 billion, he had negotiated for a greater allocation of funds for RIF3 and it will be higher, if not double.
He informed participants that he was also negotiating on how Makerere University (Mak) can support other universities to do research. He cited an example of a model university in Malaysia which was leading in research and had been funded to support research and capacity building in other public universities. Furthermore, he re-echoed the need of researchers to reach out to stakeholders and different ministries to share research findings. He called upon all researchers to begin writing policy briefs. He finally set a challenge to his colleagues on the GMC to start a programme to train researchers on how to write policy briefs.
Article by John Nuwagaba, CEES
Police approves new compulsory soft skills training course
The Uganda Police Force (UPF) in partnership with Makerere University have approved a new training course intended to impart soft skills in police trainees.
The program dubbed “Promoting community policing by integrating soft skills in Uganda Police training” funded by the Government of Uganda through Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF) is expected to be rolled out in 2025 and it will be part and parcel of the police training course.
SCP Anne Tusiime, the Deputy Director Human Resource Development, embraced the program and pledged support for the course.
“I believe with this project that is ongoing, we are heading to making the force better,” she noted
This idea was conceived in 2020 by Dr Badru Musisi, a senior lecturer at the College of Education and External Studies (CEES) and the Principal Investigator (PI) following the public’s outcry that police is brutalising people and the general feeling that police is anti-people.
SCP Tusiime revealed that they are facing challenges arising from lack of soft skills and those having the skills lack the tactics to use those skills.
“While we have put in much effort, we still have some challenges, especially from lacking skills or having skills and we don’t use them the way they are supposed to be used. And picking from our name, some of the skills are typically hard skills not soft ones. And so we end up losing out some bits,” She added after approving the course during the workshop which was held at the Police headquarters in Naguru, Kampala on November.
She asked the team of the principal investigators to design a way how skills that may look to be hard, can be simplified and made a little bit softer.
“Let’s hold our hands to see that we pull it through. The pledge on behalf of the force is that we are committed to human resource development. We pray that this project will give us a serious backup in whatever we are doing,” SCP Tusiime emphasised
SCP Fred Enanga, the Police Spokesperson told the team of researchers that when passing out officers, they are trained in soft skills because in exercising their duties, they use negotiations but the practice has not been direct as this course is intending to do.
Dr Musisi revealed that the three-year project has finally started to bear fruits after soft skills taxonomy was approved by the top officers.
“We are going to use the soft skill taxonomy to develop a transformative framework for embedding soft skills in police training programs,” he noted.
On this move, researchers believe that when they secure the balance between the hard and soft skill policing, community policing will ultimately be promoted saying, “We expect to have police officers that build a cordial relationship between the force and the community.”
After developing the transformative framework, Dr Musisi noted that they are going to train the instructors of all police training schools and colleges in the country how to use that framework to embed soft skills in their routine training programs.
“The soft skills taxonomy is going to give us a foundation of which soft skills are going to be embedded. And our next step is to develop the transformative framework for embedding soft skills that will be tested, refined, passed and thereafter in the third year, we shall be rolling it out,” he revealed.
Ms Evelyne Baelvina Nyachwo, the Research Support Officer from Mak-RIF who represented Prof Fred Masagazi Masagazi revealed that the Makerere University Research and Innovations fund (Mak-RIF), funded by the government of Uganda and started in 2019 to support research to provide solutions through innovations to the current challenges Ugandans face.
“We receive money to support research and so we give this money to Makerere lecturers so that they can be able to develop ideas which are majorly tailored to solving our local problems. We identify what is disturbing us and then through research, we come up with the solutions and innovations to solve these problems.” she said
She noted that this project was very timely owing to the issues coming up between the community and the police. “There is limited trust and yet police are supposed to be an arm that protects the community. We want to ensure that our officers have extra soft skills added to them to ensure that they can serve the nation but also become better people and provide better service,” she added.
Student teachers join hands to make a difference in the environment
On Thursday, November 9, 2023, students of the College of Education and External Studies (CEES), mobilized by the college chairperson, Mr Ssebina Solomon, united in a display of environmental conservation as they gathered to pick litter around the Makerere University premises under the theme “The teacher’s walk against littering in Makerere University.”
The main goal of the event was to rebrand the teaching profession and reawaken teachers as agents of social change. The teacher’s walk also emphasized the critical role of teachers in shaping morals, values, and character, of their learners and those around them. ” Teaching is a noble profession that shapes generations to come, yet often faces challenges and misconceptions,” Mr Ssebina said.
To counter these stereotypes and create a positive image, the teacher trainees at Makerere University decided to come together in an activity that would not only benefit the environment but also highlight their dedication to their chosen profession.
Littering being a common and widespread problem throughout the country that not only affects the aesthetic appeal of the environment but also poses serious health concerns, calls for intervention countrywide. The CEES Community took initiative to ensure a litter free Uganda starting with their very own campus grounds.
The event kicked off at around 9:00am and was officiated by Dr. Muhammad Kiggundu, The Head Department of Languages. The students started by cleaning their very own college grounds and moved to Mary Stuart hall picking up any litter found along the streets. The trek continued to the western gate, CEDAT, CONAS , CHUSS and ended at the Complex hall. Here the students sang the national anthem, the Makerere University anthem and Buganda Anthem which depicted the nationalistic and patriotic spirit embedded in the teacher solidarity.
Mr Bakulumapagi Ibrahim, one of the event organisers noted, “Today was a testament to the strength of community spirit. We achieved a lot in just a few hours, and this is just the beginning of our efforts.” The students came back to CEES where they were welcomed back and given lots of logistics to share.
The success of this cleaning picking event has inspired hope for future initiatives aimed at preserving the environment and fostering a strong sense of community responsibility. It showcased the power of collective action and community spirit in addressing environmental challenges. It was a reminder that small steps, when taken together, can lead to a cleaner, more sustainable future.
In summary, the litter picking event carried out by teacher trainees from Makerere University was not just about cleaning up the campus; it was a bold statement to the world. It demonstrated that the teaching profession is not confined to the four walls of a classroom but extends to the community and beyond. By taking the initiative to reshape public perceptions of teaching, these future educators are exemplifying the qualities that make teaching a profession of pride and purpose. They are proving that a teacher’s influence is not limited to textbooks but extends to the hearts and minds of their students and society at large.
Youth & Innovation Expo to nurture financially stable teachers
The Makerere University Youth and Innovation Expo 2023 that kicked-off on Friday, October 06 with the grand opening ceremony presided over by key persons in the country ended on Saturday, October 07, with student innovators exposed to the market and ushered into how they can commercialize their products.
The two-day event attracted student- innovators from all walks of life exhibiting their products for the world to give them a go ahead after obtaining trademarks.
Prof. Anthony Muwagga Mugagga the Principal College of Education and External Studies (CEES) said they are intending to implement the competence based curriculum in the lower and upper secondary.
“The innovation of teacher trainees is a show of our support to government in implementing this curriculum. Students have manufactured shoe polish, soap, medicine, and snacks among others. These things are going to be replicated by the school children when they go back to the field,” he said.
He lauded the sponsors including the University, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), MTN and others for coming up to sponsor the expo.
“We don’t expect poor teachers who beg all the time. We expect teachers who make their own money. And even some are going to be self-employed. The students learn the usefulness of being innovative and how to market themselves. This is like teaching practice; we are monitoring what they are doing.” Prof Mugagga added.
Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, the Makerere University Vice Chancellor noted that this is the first ever youth expo in the history of Uganda and showed hope of how this initiative shall breed youngsters helping government to create job opportunities for the poor Ugandans.
“We are all aware Uganda is a youthful country, majority of the people are youth and we must tap into their energies to move this country forward positively. Makerere University has resolved to be a leader in research and innovations because we realize we must empower these youths to create jobs for themselves and other people who are disadvantaged,” he remarked on Friday.
He said that with youths identifying the problems and going ahead to provide solutions to these problems in their societies through innovations, it will be a supplement to investors and there is hope many people will move out poverty.
He revealed that they are planning to establish an innovation hub that will provide support to these young innovators to have their dreams come true.
“UNDP is supporting us to come up with an innovation hub, the first of its kind I believe in East Africa and our youth will have the opportunity to come here and develop their ideas and move out of these gates with companies in their pockets to go out and create jobs for all the Ugandans.” He revealed before saying “we have already created the first university-wide innovation hub and young people with their good ideas will come to learn how to keep money, how to improve the products that they have come up with, and to improve the processes.”
The VC called upon all innovators to come and get support from professors to help them until they go out to commercialize whatever they have through their companies.
Patience Afoyorwoth, a student at CEES who came up with a cough syrup said her medicine is 98 percent effective.
“We used mango leaves, guava leaves, ginger, bottle brush and honey. The honey works as a preservative and it also makes it sweet. And it is also an antibiotic itself,” she noted.
She started with 30 bottles of the cough syrup and plans to make more in the future with each bottle sold at Shs2500.
While opening the expo, Hon. Thomas Tayebwa, the Deputy Speaker pledged government support to innovation and lauded Makerere for transforming from training job seekers to job creators.
“I am really excited to see the transition that Makerere is going through,” he said.
He asked other universities to emulate Makerere and revealed how innovation is widening the tax gap of the government as there is more tax payers who are going to emerge out of the institution.
“Makerere you are the leader in youth innovation, let other institutions follow this. Be creative and look at creative funding. Now let us look at commercializing the innovations. Write proposals and we as government, we shall give you money since you are doing a good job,” he pledged.
He promised full support of the young innovators saying: “As government, we are looking at how we can support local innovators, we are going to update the copyright law so as your innovations are well protected under the law such that no one benefits from them.”
Mrs Lorna Magara, the Chairperson of the University Council said Makerere is transforming from a second-Generation University to a third generation University.
“We are fully cognizant of our exploding youth population and the challenges that this poses so their creativity and numbers have to be put to productive use,” she said.
It is our hope that the Youth and Innovation Expo will serve as an annual rallying point to foster entrepreneurship through the provision of master classes, inspirational lectures, access to financing, market opportunities through product launches and game-changing technology tools,” she stressed.
Third generation universities are known to enhance competitiveness of enterprises. And the enhancement is born out of proficiency in the utilization of knowledge, and deeper connection between industry and universities.
Ronald Kiyimba, a student of Distance Education and an innovator from the Knowledge Rethink Bureau Uganda (KRBU) exhibited the mental health knowhow game, an innovation that helps boost mental abilities.
He said the game will help to realize the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number three that deals with mental capacities.
“The game has come embracing knowledgeability and reasonability. There are so many people internationally who do not play any game. They are watchers, they are supporters so we are transforming the greatest majorities who do not play to become active players as the UN wants.” He explained.
The mental health knowhow game has sessions including the vocabulary development. The component ensures that every learner or participant generates 10,000 vocabularies without cramming and copying.
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