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Mind Education, an Enabler of National Development

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In 1962, the GDP per capita of South Korea was US$90. Matters weren’t helped by the fact that country had poor soils, no mineral resources to exploit and hostile neighbours. During the winter when the temperatures dropped to -5 degrees centigrade, it was not uncommon for the less fortunate to either starve or freeze to death.

 This vicious cycle of poverty continued until the 1960s when President Park worked hard to introduce Mind Education to help change the mindset of the South Korean population. Mind Education programmes were introduced in school curricula and as the mindsets of people changed, the country evolved. Today, South Korea is ranked highly among developed countries with a GDP per capita above US$30,000.

This picture of South Korea’s remarkable transition was painted by Prof. Johan Kim, Chairman of the International Youth Fellowship (IYF) in East Africa. Prof. Kim made his presentation at the virtual Mind Education Workshop for staff of Makerere University hosted by the Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe on Friday 6th November 2020. The Workshop was organized by the Principal, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), Assoc. Prof. Josephine Ahikire and the Dean, School of Psychology, Assoc. Prof. Grace Milly Kibanja in partnership with IYF.

Welcoming participants to the workshop, Dr. Kibanja shared that the School of Psychology had been collaborating with IYF since 2015. Together, the School and IYF have organised youth conferences both within and outside the university and reached out to prisons to conduct Mind Education.

“In 2019 we piloted the Mind Education Course among second year students of the Bachelor of Industrial and Organisational Psychaology and this is still ongoing. We are planning to conduct an evaluation of the programme soon” added Dr. Kibanja.

Explaining why the School had taken lead in this initiative, the Dean said that since Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour, as sure as night follows day, training in upright judgment and clear reasoning would inevitably lead to positive behavioural change. “Mind Education is geared towards strengthening our hearts and minds to overcome resistance to change by rising above our unpleasant desires.”

Assoc. Prof. Grace Milly Kibanja (Left) and the rest of the IYF Uganda Team at their office in CTF1, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda during the Mind Education Workshop on 6th November 2020.

In her remarks, the Principal CHUSS observed that it is important to generate a network of people who will not just complain about problems but seek to create solutions and forge a way forward. “As Principal, I am happy about Mind Education because I think it will go a long way in creating a generation that will take the future in its hands and craft solutions accordingly.”

In this regard, she thanked the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Nawangwe for always being on the lookout for opportunities that can foster the delivery of Makerere University’s mandate. “The mindset change conversation is very important to us as an institution and we need to mainstream it in the programmes that we teach at Makerere.”

Dr. Ahikire pointed out that although people on the African continent face a number of challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated that we have the capacity to come up with appropriate solutions. Strengthening this mindset, she noted, would enable us to train a resilient generation.

“I therefore thank the International Youth Fellowship for this very important collaboration with the School of Psychology and Makerere University in general. We welcome you and we embrace the Mind Education Programme as we build for the future.”

Prof. Johan Kim in his presentation noted that the mindset change in South Korea had spawned a generation of optimistic innovators and researchers who helped to turn their national economy around. This evolution meant that the hitherto disadvantaged country had gradually become a leading global exporter of goods whose raw materials they didn’t even produce.

“Today, South Korea is the seventh leading exporter of refined petroleum, a leading exporter of coffee and for a country that doesn’t have iron ore, home to the largest shipbuilding companies in the world” remarked Prof. Kim.  

The Founder of Good News Mission, International Youth Fellowship (IYF) and Gracias Choir-Rev. Dr. Ock Soo Park (R) delivers his special lecture on Mindset with the help of his interpreter (R) during the Mind Education Workshop on 6th November 2020.

He concluded his presentation with the illustration of Koi’s law. Koi is a Japanese fish whose growth is proportional to the environment it is kept in. In a fish bowl, it grows to from 5 to 8cm, while in a pond it grows from 12 to 25cm. However, when the same fish is placed in a river it grows to a whooping 90 to 120cm. “The environment in which we keep our minds will determine where (how far) we go.”

Prof. Kim reassured that once the youth acquire a strong and positive mindset through Mind Education, the way they look at their country is bound to change. “Through Mind Education, we shall be able to move the mindset of our young people from the fishbowl to the pond to the river.”

As participants were still absorbing Prof. Kim’s fascinating presentation, it was time to be treated to yet another captivating performance, this time by the Gracias Choir, an orchestra and choral ensemble founded by Rev. Dr. Ock Soo Park in the year 2000. Their melodious and well-assembled performance of the Ugandan National anthem and Yansumulula Nze; a Luganda gospel song, amazed the participants.

Following this spectacular performance, the Keynote Speaker Rev. Dr. Ock Soo Park “took to the stage” to deliver his Special Lecture on Mindset with through his proficient translator. He began by stressing the importance of applying ones heart to scenes that play out daily, noting that people who’d mastered the art of taking care of and using their heart were a world apart.

Like a true Evangelist, Rev. Dr. Park delivered his special lecture in storytelling fashion, starting off with his own life as a nineteen year old and the difficulties he faced to the story of the beautiful, well-educated young lady who against all advice chose to marry a crippled uneducated young man.

He captivated his audience by painting a picture of the uphill task faced by the girl in breaking the news to her parents, to the suspicion she aroused from the young man’s family, which suspicion melted into pure bliss when they discovered how serious she was. Rev. Dr. Park had us all eating out of the palm of his hand as he narrated how this love story progressed into marriage, complete with all the facial expressions, appropriate sounds and hand gestures, leading us past blooming flowers up the mountain to the peak.

Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe delivers the closing remarks at the Workshop organised by CHUSS in partnership with IYF.

Suddenly, the beautiful tale veered off, taking a dark ghastly turn. Happily ever after gave way to ominous foreboding as the young man’s envy and rage overwhelmed his sense of reason. Mistaking his beautiful bride’s market errands for moments spent cavorting with other able-bodied men, he resorted to violent assault, shattering body and heart, a sad turn of events, a bitter end.  

The Evangelist now had us where he wanted. It was time to deliver his blow, or so we thought. He then switched gears, shifting to a tale of South Korean car manufacturers and how the power of Mind Education had turned this sector’s fortunes around. Having depended on the Japanese to supply car engines for their brands for years, the South Koreans felt that they had gained sufficient experience to assemble their own and therefore asked their former supplier to teach them this skill. This request had been met with persistent “it’s too hard” responses year after year. When the South Koreans threatened to make their own engines, this announcement was received as the joke of the century by the Japanese.

Frustrated and insulted, the South Koreans had returned home, assembled their teams, shared their vision to build their own engines going forward and embarked on the herculean task. As fate would have it, they were pleasantly surprised to learn assembling car engines wasn’t as hard as the Japanese had made it seem. The rest as they say is history. Today South Korean car exports are worth billions of dollars.  

“If you think more deeply, you get to think of things other people don’t. Leave behind your first level of thought and try to embrace deep thinking. If you go about life thinking deeply, you will live a blessed glorious life” concluded Rev. Dr. Park.

In the reactions that followed, a participant wondered why mindset change has been less experienced in Africa and whether the environment had any effect on this. In response, Prof. Kim noted that South Koreans too were in the past more concerned about basic living (eating and sleeping), and quitessentially focused more on how to become rich. “Many people in Africa are focusing on the materialistic or hardware more than the software part of our life. We need a lot of awareness through Mind Education especially for the youth so that they can think more in terms of development than daily needs.”

Another participant sought to find out whether frustration plays a role in mindset change. Prof. Kim responded by sharing that a weak heart and mindset are the primary reason why people are easily frustrated or stressed by anything. “This is because such a person is usually avoiding burdens or difficulties of life. When we continuously allow our mindset to collide with burdens and difficulties, our hearts become stronger. As such, we are able to easily overcome hardship when it comes our way.”

Part of IYF’s Technical Team that coordinated the Mind Education Workshop at work in CTF1, Makerere University

Delivering the closing remarks, the Host, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe shared that civilization started in Africa 5,000 years ago and for over 800 years, the Moors occupied Spain. Whereas these ancient civilizations had collapsed, the Vice Chancellor opined that it was still possible for Makerere University to be inspired by the South Korean success and as the top black University lead the mindset change campaign. “For the last few weeks, I have seen a lot coming out of Makerere University in the form of research and innovations from every college. This is commendable.”

Prof. Nawangwe observed that whereas our population is exploding, our resources are not and as such a quick solution is needed to address this. As a first step, the School of Psychology was working closely with IYF to explore how to incorporate Mind Education into the curriculum. The Vice Chancellor also shared that a second workshop was in the offing and staff would be informed about the dates accordingly.

He thanked Rev. Dr. Park for delivering the keynote, as well as Dr. Ahikire, Dr. Kibanja and the IYF representatives, Prof. Kim and Pastor Part for organizing the Workshop. He equally thanked all participants taking time off to attend the workshop. “We cannot continue leaving our fate to chance; we have this fate in our hands.”

Article by Public Relations Office.  

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Engineering, Art & Tech

A Successful Ph.D. Defense by Vianney Andrew Yiga

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The CEDAT community is proud to share our congratulations to Vianney Andrew Yiga following his successful Ph.D. defense that happened yesterday Monday 3rd October 2022 at the College of Engineering, Design, Art, and Technology (CEDAT).

His Thesis was titled; Thermal Stability of Fiber- Reinforced Polylactic Acid Composites for Flameretarded Applications.

The candidate was supervised by Eng. Dr. Michael Lubwama and Eng. Dr. Peter W. Olupot both from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, at CEDAT.

Dr. John Wasswa, Department of Chemistry, College of Natural Sciences (CONAS), Makerere University was the opponent that interrogated the candidate to enable a clear understanding of the study.

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Makerere University Launches National Parenting Draft Manual

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The Director of Culture at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo (Centre) and Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC (Right) interact with a participant at the workshop on 22nd July 2022, Kampala.

By Agnes Namaganda

On July 22nd 2022, Makerere UniversityChild Health and Development Centre (MakCHDC) launched a draft manual for the National Parenting Standards. The Centre has been working together with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) with funding from UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund), to develop standards that are agreeable to all organisations in the country that are involved in parenting work. The draft manual was being presented to members of a consortium that brings together all these organisations together, called the Parenting Agenda Consortium.

“We produce many documents and they are shelved,” Irene Ayot Chono, who was speaking on behalf of UNICEF said. “We hope that this document will not be one of them,” she emphasized.

Irene Ayot Chono-UNICEF, urging participants to utilize the manual once it is complete.
Irene Ayot Chono-UNICEF, urging participants to utilize the manual once it is complete.

Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC who presented the draft manual to participants, emphasized that if any organization is doing parenting work, there should be a minimum package that they should offer.

Draft Manual Content

The manual which will have several modules. These modules will be delivered face-to-face in 1.5 hour sessions. Some of these include; Module 6 which will focus on “understanding responsible masculinity and fatherhood” and on “understanding the concept of head of family.”The draft manual also proposed that Module 11 focuses on Parenting in the 21st Century. Some of the sessions in this module will include Children and Technology, Contemporary Influence on Children and Modernity, Culture and Morality.Module 9 will focus on Parenting for Adolescents and some of the suggested sessions within this module are Needs for Adolescents and The Art of Communicating with Adolescents. Module 5 will focus on Preventing Violent Parenting and Promoting Alternative Discipline Strategies while Module 10 will be about Parenting to Address the Mental Health for Children and Adults.

Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC presenting the contents of the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual.
Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC presenting the contents of the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual.

Participants’ suggestions

After the presentation, participants raised several suggestions for discussion and consideration. These included whether there should be a module on spirituality since Uganda is a strongly religious nation. There was also the concern of how children in remand homes should be parented. Another concern raised by a participant was as to whether teachers who make an undeniable contribution to parenting, should be taken through the parenting manual.

A participant gives her input at the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual launch.
A participant gives her input at the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual launch.

In her closing remarks, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo, the Director of Cultural Affairs at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) said that the manual is for the parenting organisations to utilize and not for MGLSD.

The Director of Culture at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo making closing remarks at the workshop.
The Director of Culture at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo making closing remarks at the workshop.

Ms. Chono also adjured the team behind the manual to use picture illustrations in the manual that can be relatable by the Ugandan parents.

Contact: Agnes Namaganda – agnesvioletnamaganda@gmail.com

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Launch of Mak-RIF Round 4 Awards & PhD Call for Proposals

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Mak-RIF 4 Awards and PhD Call For Proposals, 29th September 2022, 9:00 to 10:00 AM EAT.

Makerere University received funding from the Government of the Republic of Uganda, earmarked to support high impact Research and Innovations. This unique initiative arose after engagements between the top University Management and the Government of Uganda. This fund illustrates the increasing importance that the Government attaches to Research and Innovation as a driver of development and transformation. The objective of the fund is to increase the local generation of translatable research and scalable innovations that address key gaps required to drive Uganda’s development agenda. 

In the Financial years 2019/2020, 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 the Government of the Republic of Uganda through Mak-RIF has funded implementation of over 750 multidisciplinary research and innovations within the various Colleges, while engaging multiple stakeholders within and outside Makerere University. The Grants Management Committee (GMC) has finalized the award process for the Mak-RIF round 4 call for funding for this Financial Year 2022/2023.

The Grants Management Committee (GMC) hereby invites you to the Launch of the Mak-RIF Round 4 awards and PhD Call for Proposals scheduled to take place tomorrow Thursday 29th September 2022 from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. EAT. 

Please use the following details to join the launch.

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwpcu-urDIjE9ZgxdsbEmA2IkNMMiJVECt_ 
Meeting ID: 884 5662 9992
Password: 292624

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