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CEPIDE Lays Ground for Innovative Doctoral Education in Ugandan HEIs

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CEPIDE is an acronym for the Capability Enhancement Project for Innovative Doctoral Education at Ugandan Universities (CEPIDE). Funded by the Government of Uganda under the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF), this two-phase project aims to build institutional capacity and individual capabilities of doctoral supervisors at Ugandan universities by giving rise to a shift from traditional modalities to innovative approaches of doctoral education.

On 28th January 2021, stakeholders gathered in the Central Teaching Facility 2 (CTF2) Auditorium, Makerere University, to receive findings from Phase one of the project. This phase entailed conducting a baseline study of the state of doctoral education in Uganda. Phase one will also involve writing a course module for a specialized blended capacity building training for supervisors of doctoral candidates at Ugandan universities. Phase two on the other hand will involve implementing the course module developed in phase one as well as creating a database and an online platform for e-networking, knowledge sharing and professional support among doctoral supervisors in Ugandan universities.

The East African School of Higher Education Studies and Development (EASHESD) under which CEPIDE falls has aligned its activities along four thematic areas namely; Policy and advocacy, Research and Innovations, Leadership and Management, and Training and Learning. These thematic areas position EASHESD to contribute to research in the understanding of the field of higher education, with the CEPIDE study intricately feeding into this.

EASHESD is predominantly a graduate School offering Masters and PhD programmes and as such, the CEPIDE study on improving the quality of Doctoral Education and Training in Universities in Uganda is a fulfillment of its mandate. Addressing the dissemination workshop, the EASHESD Dean Dr. Ronald Bisaso elaborated that CEPIDE study is aligned to the School’s own practice and grounded in research undertaken therein.

“As Dean, I am happy to note that the members of staff from the East African School of Higher Education Studies and Development wrote proposals and received funding to support three projects under the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (MakRIF). These projects include: i.  Capability Enhancement project for Innovative Doctoral Education at Ugandan Universities (CEPIDE), ii. Enhancing Women to Leadership positions in Universities in Uganda (WOLEP) and iii. Pedagogical  Leadership of Academic Staff in Higher Education Institutions to Enhance Graduate Work Readiness and Transition to Work (PLASHE-WIL).

“Through the aforementioned research projects, the School has ensured that key stakeholders namely female Vice Chancellors, the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), National Planning Authority (NPA) and the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) participate in the research projects as well as actively engage with researchers during the dissemination of findings on higher education” remarked Dr. Bisaso.

Seated L-R: Dr. Paul Birevu Muyinda, the Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Dr. Nora Mulira-NCHE, Dr. Sabrina Kitaka – Mak-RIF GMC and Mr. Timothy Sejjoba-MoES with CEPIDE PI-Dr. Irene Etomaru (In Blue 2nd Row) and other participants at the Research Dissemination, 28th January 2021, CTF2, Makerere University.

He concluded by saying that the involvement of key stakeholders in research and dissemination has enabled EASHESD to build a network that connects research in higher education with Government agencies that focus on higher education and development as well as universities in Uganda.

Presenting an overview of the project, the Principal Investigator (PI) Dr. Irene Etomaru said the study was driven by the acute shortage of a critical mass of doctorates with requisite knowledge and skill sets to undertake translatable research and train innovative researchers in Uganda. “There are only about 26 researchers per million inhabitants in Uganda, which is well below the world average of 1,083, about 1,000 PhD holders in various disciplines are unevenly distributed across the academia, government ministries, agencies and research institutes and 80% of these are at Makerere University.”

The PI shared that through CEPIDE, it is envisaged that an Enhanced Postgraduate Environment (EPE) will be created in Ugandan universities. The EPE, she said, would lead to the nurturing of a new cadre of doctorates able to undertake translatable research, train innovative researchers as well as develop innovative models to address local societal needs and improve Uganda’s innovative capacity.

In terms of data collection, the CEPIDE team reviewed laws, plans, policies and reports, and held Focus Group Discussions (FDGs) with NCHE. Furthermore, they collected data from fourteen institutions offering doctoral education and training in Uganda and held in-depth interviews with a total of 49 participants.

Prof. Fred E. K. Bakkabulindi another member of the research team tasked with the role of mentorship then delved into the context and history of doctoral training in Uganda. Statistics for the period 1970-2020 revealed that Makerere University at 90% had the highest number of PhDs among the five doctorate awarding Public HEIs in Uganda. Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) followed with 7.2%, Gulu University (GU) with 1.5%, Uganda Management Institute (UMI) with 1.1% and finally Kyambogo University (KyU) with 0.2%. The glaring difference in percentages could be attributed to the fact that whereas Makerere’s statistics stretch back to 1970, the other four HEIs only started awarding PhDs in the 2010s with GU coming closest in 2013.

The statistics shared by Prof. Bakkabulindi further proved the unfortunate fact that doctoral education and training in Uganda is biased in favour of males. Only 23.4% of the total numbers of PhD graduates in the aforementioned 50-year period were female. UMI led the percentages with 45.5%, followed by Makerere at 23.6%, MUST at 20.5%, GU at 14.2% while KyU is yet to graduate any female PhDs.

Prof. Bakkabulindi also examined the Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) versus non-STEM dichotomy with telling results. KyU proved that it is a predominantly STEM HEI by producing 100% STEM PhDs. KyU was followed by MUST at 79.5%, Makerere at 67.6%, GU at 40%, while UMI produced none.

The Dissemination Moderators Dr. Tom Balojja (R) and Ms. Ritah Namisango (L) confer during the event

With the contexts established, it was time for the participants to hear the team’s findings from their baseline study. Dr. Tom Balojja who also doubled as the day’s emcee in delivering a summary of the findings shared that doctoral education and training in Uganda had low throughput rates. Furthermore, doctoral education and training is biased in favour of males and STEM disciplines, and has its capacity concentrated in Makerere University.

He then went on to present the findings in detail, as espoused by the European Commission’s Seven Principles of Innovative Doctoral Training. These seven are; Research excellence, Attractive institutional environment, Interdisciplinary research options (cross-disciplinarity), Exposure to industry and other relevant employment sectors, International networking, Transferable skills training and Quality assurance.

The CEPIDE study recommended that;

  • Government of Uganda should integrate doctoral education and training in national development planning within the context of the policy objective of increasing the percentage of the GDP spending on Research and Development (R&D).
  • National targets should be set and resources should be committed to achieve the set targets in order to address concerns about the inadequacy of the critical mass of researchers in the country.
  • Government of Uganda should introduce a sufficient and well-structured legal framework necessary to regulate doctoral education and training. The legal framework should regulate the structure of doctoral programs and curriculum issues, support systems and staffing to improve the quality of the postgraduate training environment in HEIs in Uganda.
  • Government of Uganda and institutions offering doctoral education and training should work out mechanisms which will enable them to work with the industry and other research institutions in promoting research and innovations.
  • Institutions should transit from offering PhD by research to the taught PhD
  • The scope of doctoral education and training should be broadened to incorporate other models of the doctorate such as PhD by coursework (taught PhD), Professional doctorates, Work-based doctorates.
  • The role and funding of Doctoral Schools in Universities should be underscored to create enhanced postgraduate environment (EPE)
  • More research and interventions into doctoral education and training in Uganda.

Reacting to the presentation, the Director Directorate of Research and Graduate Training (DRGT), Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi requested the NPA to come up with a PhD training strategy for Uganda that clearly outlines the demand for PhDs particularly in the industry as well as resources to train them. He emphasized the need to preserve the quality of PhDs trained as the drive for more PhDs is impressed upon HEIs. In the same breath, the Deputy Director DRGT, Dr. Robert Wamala advocated for a mechanism to ensure productivity of PhDs as a third factor to consider in addition to quantity and quality.

ED National Planning Authority-Dr. Joseph Muvawala (R) addresses participants as Dr. Sabrina Kitaka (L) and Mr. Timothy Sejjoba (C) listen at the CEPIDE Research Dissemination.

Dr. Paul Birevu Muyinda, the Deputy Principal College of Education and External Studies (CEES) in his remarks commended Mak-RIF for changing the terrain of research and innovations at Makerere University. “CEES was one of the Colleges that wasn’t attracting much funding but with the coming of Mak-RIF, we have seen a very significant increase from only two research Projects to twenty.”

He thanked NPA for accepting to conduct both virtual and physical training for staff at Makerere University who are interested in writing impactful policy briefs.

Dr. Sabrina Kitaka who represented the Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee (GMC) Chairperson, Prof. William Bazeyo commended the CEPIDE research team for recognizing that Makerere as a leader ought to strive to bridge the gap in doctoral training and education between itself and younger institutions. She thanked the Government of Uganda for providing funding to more than 500 Research Projects all aimed at informing national development priorities.

“The Volatility, Uncertainty Complexity and Ambiguity (VUCA) phenomenon created by the COVID-19 is teaching us how to be innovative by disseminating our findings both physically and online. Any innovation that results in training of scholars is not only exciting but brings closer the possibility of an education that is boundless” said Dr. Kitaka.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (R) and Deputy Principal CEES, Dr. Paul Birevu Muyinda confer during the CEPIDE dissemination

Mr. Timothy Sejjoba who represented Dr. Jane Egau, Director for Higher Technical and Vocational Education and Training – HTVET, Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) in his address congratulated Makerere University upon not only securing funding under Mak-RIF but also putting it to good use. “We believe that you are going to inspire other institutions to reach the heights that they should.”

He noted that the CEPIDE study had brought very interesting findings and conclusions to the fore and that his Ministry would be very glad to continue discussing these with HEIs. On the issue of quality assurance for PhDs Mr. Sejjoba advised that HEIs ought to be self-regulating so as to guarantee the brand of their programmes and graduates in the job market.

In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe congratulated the CEPIDE team upon delivering possibly the most important Mak-RIF seminar to-date, owing to its addressing of the University’s core strategic direction head-on. He equally thanked the Government of Uganda for providing; i. Funding for over 500 research and innovations through Mak-RIF, ii. Increasing the monthly salary of a Professor to UGX 15million, and iii. Funding infrastructure development for research. “We now have some of the best labs anywhere in the world and there is no reason why as a University we cannot drastically contribute to transformation of our society.”

He reiterated Makerere’s commitment to support other HEIs to build their capacity in doctoral training and teaching and commended the decision by the Higher Education Student Financing Board (HESFB) to start offering loans for postgraduate study at Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Uganda.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe makes his remarks at the CEPIDE study dissemination event

The Executive Director National Planning Authority (NPA), Dr. Joseph Muvawala in his address commended the ongoing policy work between the School of Economics, College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS) and his authority, noting that this ought to be duplicated between other Schools and Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies. He shared that increasing number of graduate students seems to be sufficient condition for Uganda to take off in terms of economic development and emphasized the importance of Makerere University implementing its new 10 year strategic plan, which he described as “good”.  

He advised the CEPIDE team and all researchers to improve their capacity to write policy briefs, noting that policy makers lack the time to read research papers in their entirety. “I am here to say that you have our full support as NPA and my colleague Dr. Mugendawala will draft a concept on how to connect graduates to industry.”

Concluding the day’s remarks, the Chief Guest Dr. Nora Mulira who represented the Executive Director NCHE, Prof. Mary Okwakol acknowledged that the Council as a participant in the CEPIDE study had gleaned a number of lessons to incorporate in the UNESCO instrument that feeds the state of Uganda’s Higher Education. She added that the study provided a number of options on how to advance the National PhD programme and thanked the Vice Chancellor for effectively using the funds received from Governement of Uganda.

“To the Principal Investigator, this is a pivotal study that is going to move Uganda ahead and is well aligned with strategic development framework as enshrined in NDPIII and Vision 2040, which look at research and innovation as a driver for development” commended Dr. Mulira.  

She urged the research team to formulate an output plan that stipulates the specific actions that need to be undertaken by particular stakeholders within set timelines.

Article by Public Relations Office.

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Government Asked to Make Fine Art Compulsory in Secondary Schools

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Group photo of workshop participants. Launch of findings of the pilot report for the Visual Arts Curriculum Review by the College of Education and External Studies (CEES) on 17th April 2024, E-Learning Centre, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Government through the Ministry of Education and Sports has been called upon to find ways of popularizing the subject of art and crafts in lower and higher secondary education.

Prof. Anthony Muggaga, the Principal of the College of Education and External Studies at Makerere University, said yesterday that the government should explore measures including making the subject compulsory.

“We should have at least a module for one term like we have General Paper or computer,” he said.

Prof. Anthony Muwagga Mugagga. Launch of findings of the pilot report for the Visual Arts Curriculum Review by the College of Education and External Studies (CEES) on 17th April 2024, E-Learning Centre, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Anthony Muwagga Mugagga.

Prof. Mugagga believes that without popularizing Fine Art, the education sector will continue churning out students who lack critical thinking.

“Fine Art is what will cultivate a critical mindset amongst our learners. That is why we encourage children in nursery school to draw; we are trying to bring out what is in their minds,” he said.

“It is the same reason that art is considered therapy for mental health patients. When they draw, they express what is taking place in their minds.”

Prof. Mugagga was speaking at the launch of the findings of the pilot report for the Visual Arts Curriculum Review.

Dr. Julius Ssegantebuka. Launch of findings of the pilot report for the Visual Arts Curriculum Review by the College of Education and External Studies (CEES) on 17th April 2024, E-Learning Centre, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Dr. Julius Ssegantebuka.

Dr Julius Ssegantebuka from Makerere University College of Education and External Studies and the lead researchers said the curriculum review project is intended to prepare secondary school art and design teachers, by equipping them with practical skills and values that match the modern world.

“During this second phase of the project, we had trial lectures and discussions with the teachers. We also embarked on removing obsolete content and replaced it with new content and also separated some of the art disciplines that were formally combined,” he said.

The updated curriculum he said, puts emphasis on research, group discussions, and field studies among others.

Dr. Grace Baguma, Director NCDC. Launch of findings of the pilot report for the Visual Arts Curriculum Review by the College of Education and External Studies (CEES) on 17th April 2024, E-Learning Centre, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Dr. Grace Baguma, Director NCDC.

Speaking as chief guest at the launch, Dr Grace K Baguma, the Director National Curriculum Development Center commended the initiative.

“I commend Dr Ssegantebuka and the team for this initiative, which is aimed at contributing to the development of quality curricula that employ modern pedagogies that respond to societal needs,” she said.

On her part, Dr Moreen Muwanga from Kyambogo University called for the integration of ICT in the teaching of visual arts.

“Many of us have a phobia of handling a computer. Yet the students we are teaching are flexible and conversant with ICT,” she said.

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Vice Chancellor Meets Delegates from German Adult Education Association

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The Acting Vice Chancellor, Assoc. Prof. Umar Kakumba has welcomed a delegation from the German Adult Education Association (DVV International) led by the Board Chair Hon. Martin Rabanus. The delegation was in the country to assess the impact of their partnership with Makerere University and the community.

DVV International and Makerere University, Department of Adult and Community Education have been partners since 1986.

The support has been in the areas of teaching and learning. DVV International supported the development and launch of the Master of Adult and Community Education (MACE) in 2007. Makerere University has since graduated many who now work as lecturers in Higher Institutions of Learning, programme managers, development workers, adult education trainers and so on. Before then, DVV International was supporting undergraduate students of the Bachelor of Adult and Community Education (BACE) with financial support towards internships and practical training during the Recess term of Year 2.

Speaking in his office on April 15, 2024, Assoc. Prof. Kakumba appreciated the Germany government for the support over the years. Saying through this support Makerere has continued to foster adult education by settling up Adult Education centres in Lira and Mbale for this purpose.

Hon. Martin Rabanus (L) receive souvenirs from Assoc. Prof. Kakumba

DVV International has over time supported staff in the area of research and publications. Some of the beneficiaries include Dr. Stella Achen, Dr. Twine Banakuka, among others. In early 1990s the organization helped to renovate the building housing adult and community education. The organization has also previously supported staff to acquire Masters and PhDs.

Prof. Kakumba appealed to Hon. Martin Rabanus to consider renewing the MoU between the two institutions in an effort to continue training adult educators.

Hon. Martin Rabanus applauded Makerere University for the achievements obtained so far and the contribution the partnership has enabled. “We are happy that we were able to provide adults an opportunity for them to get a certificate and improve their lives,” he said. “Thank you for the corporation for the last 40 years.”

Present in the meeting were the Principal of College of Education and External Studies(CEES), Prof. Anthony Mugagga, the Dean of the School of Distance and Lifelong Learning, Dr. Harriet Nabushawo and Dr. Stella Achen – Head of Department, Adult and Community Education.

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Scholars call for incorporating patriotism in education curriculum

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Group photo of the workshop participants. Stakeholders’ workshop to discuss the integration of patriotism in the teacher education curriculum among selected Public Universities a project supported by the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF) at the College of Education and External Studies (CEES), 15th April 2024, Telepresence Centre, Senate Building, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Scholars have called for the inclusion of patriotism in the country’s curriculum, arguing that starting as early as nursery school will go a long way in transforming our society. The call was made during a stakeholders’ workshop organized to discuss the integration of patriotism in the teacher education curriculum among selected Public Universities a project supported by the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF).

Lack of a shared Ugandan culture, beliefs & national value system is one some of the things that were identified as those that hinder the spirit of Patriotism.

Dr. Dorothy Kyagaba. Stakeholders’ workshop to discuss the integration of patriotism in the teacher education curriculum among selected Public Universities a project supported by the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF) at the College of Education and External Studies (CEES), 15th April 2024, Telepresence Centre, Senate Building, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Dr. Dorothy Kyagaba.

It was also noted that the sense of patriotism demonstrated by most students who graduate from universities in Uganda is at its lowest. This, Dr. Dorothy Kyagaba, said is manifested in the persistent riots, rise of the crime rate, vandalism, rampant students’ death, Individualism which are detrimental to the nation.

Although legal frameworks & initiatives, National Patriotic Programs, trainings in secondary schools, and patriotism clubs in high schools exist, the sense of patriotism among universities is still disturbingly low, Dr Kyababa said.

To this end, the research teams seeks to analyze the teacher education curricula to ascertain aspects of patriotism among selected Public Universities in Uganda, to establish teacher trainees’ perception of patriotism among selected Public Universities and to build capacities of teacher trainees in integrating Patriotism among selected Public Universities in Uganda.

Prof. Mugagga, the Principal of CEES. Stakeholders’ workshop to discuss the integration of patriotism in the teacher education curriculum among selected Public Universities a project supported by the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF) at the College of Education and External Studies (CEES), 15th April 2024, Telepresence Centre, Senate Building, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Mugagga, the Principal of CEES.

Some scholars have argued that using practitioners & teacher education to build a sense of patriotism in preservice teachers as a community of practice increases the odds that future generations will care about each other and love their country.

Speaking during the stakeholders’ meeting on April 15, 2024, the Principal of CEES, Prof. Anthony Muwagga Mugagga, said that many people confuse patriotism with being a member of a political party. This he said is far from the true meaning of the word. Patriotism according to scholars’ entails living in harmony with each other, limited violence, sense of unity, peaceful environments with each other, preserving a county’s heritage, interests, respecting each other’s culture, values, and love and commitment to the country’s democratic principles. To achieve this, Prof. Mugagga advised that people ought to be taught about self-management, honesty, emotional intelligence, etiquette, hygiene, entrepreneurship, soft skills and survival skills among other things.

Assistant Commissioner of the National Secretariat for Patriotism Corps Dr. Tibamwenda Brenda. Stakeholders’ workshop to discuss the integration of patriotism in the teacher education curriculum among selected Public Universities a project supported by the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF) at the College of Education and External Studies (CEES), 15th April 2024, Telepresence Centre, Senate Building, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

In her remarks, the Assistant Commissioner of the National Secretariat for Patriotism Corps Dr. Tibamwenda Brenda demystified the Misconceptions about Patriotism emphasizing that it is not an NRM agenda or a recruitment group but it is rather a program that would help learners better through protecting the environment, cherishing hard work, honesty, accountability and fairness.

Prof. Betty Ezati, who also attended the meeting advised that patriotism ought to start at home. “Patriotism should start at home and pre-primary. For higher institutions of learning, let us train the teachers to love their country and in so doing, they will pass this on to the young generation,” she said.  

Prof. Betty Ezati (Left) and Madam Kawuma Caroline (Right) at the event. Stakeholders’ workshop to discuss the integration of patriotism in the teacher education curriculum among selected Public Universities a project supported by the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF) at the College of Education and External Studies (CEES), 15th April 2024, Telepresence Centre, Senate Building, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

In her closing remarks, the Principal Education Officer, Teacher Education Training & Development, Ministry of Education and Sports Mrs. Elizabeth Kisakye Nsamba emphasized “a need for a think tank to re-conceptualize Patriotism in Teacher Education with a well-structured programme”

The Stakeholders’ workshop was graced by key Stakeholders from the Ministry of Education and Sports, Uganda National Institute of Teacher Education, Uganda National Teachers’ Union, National Secretariat for Patriotism Corps Teacher Educators and Preservice teachers among others.   The study will be conducted at the School of Education Makerere University, Faculty of Education, Kyambogo University and Faculty of Education, Mountains of the Moon University.

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