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Education Minister Expresses Readiness to use Scientific Findings to Revive Sector

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The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni while presiding over the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF) College of Education and External Studies (CEES) Open Day has expressed Government’s and her Ministry’s preparedness to learn from the scientific evidence generated by research and innovations to guide the sector’s recovery from the effects of COVID-19.

The Open Day held physically in the Central Teaching Facility 1 (CTF1) and streamed online to a virtual audience on 7th October 2021 was based on the theme “Education Research for Sustainable Development”. It was graced by the Chairperson of Council Mrs. Lorna Magara, Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Chairperson Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee (GMC) Prof. William Bazeyo, University Secretary Mr. Yusuf Kiranda, Principal CEES Prof. Fred Masagazi Masaazi, Deputy Principal CEES Assoc. Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda, Staff as well as Students.

“The Government is committed to supporting research and innovations in Universities, as you really now know, to provide high quality data to inform policy decisions. I want to encourage you to prioritise projects that are crucial to social and economic transformation” remarked the Honourable Minister.

She particularly took note of the “Inter-disciplinary Enhancement of Science Education in the Uganda Primary Thematic Curriculum” project as timely. The project among other objectives sought to appraise the importance of folklore in the teaching and learning of science in lower primary education.

“I think it is time that we find a way to bring out those issues in science that make sense to each child at a primary level in their mother tongue. That is when science will make sense to us and we will become transformational” urged the First Lady.

She lauded the researchers and University for the individual and institutional efforts to support the Education sector’s development and review of curricula at various levels, development of a National Teacher Policy as well as the Early Childhood Development Framework. She equally acknowledged Makerere’s support to the establishment of the Uganda National Institute of Teacher Education as well as to the ongoing development of the Digital Agenda of the Education and Sports sector.

“The Ministry appreciates all these contributions and I call upon you to continue supporting the Ministry in all possible ways – you must understand that a strong Ministry of Education is a strong sector of National Education throughout the country” she said.   

The Minister commended the Mak-RIF GMC for identifying projects with the capacity to influence national development, noting that “the showcase projects are testimony that the funds are being properly utilised and it is my prayer that universities continue to do more and indeed live the purpose for which they exist as knowledge hubs for development.”

Some of the Principal Investigators, Researchers from CEES and the audience that attended the Mak-RIF CEES Open Day listen to proceedings.
Some of the Principal Investigators, Researchers from CEES and the audience that attended the Mak-RIF CEES Open Day listen to proceedings.

She applauded the University Council and Management for the efforts to support continuity of learning for students, and urged all in attendance to join hands and mobilize staff and students to get vaccinated in preparation for the reopening of tertiary institutions on 1st November using a staggered approach.

The seven presentations by CEES at the dissemination included;

  1. Investing in Data and Research to Inform Education Policy by Prof. Anthony M. Mugagga,
  2. Resilient Communities for Quality Primary Education in Uganda (ReCoPE) by Mr. Philemon Mukisa & Mrs. Alice Nankya Ndidde,
  3. Enhancing Continued Learning to Rural Contexts during the COVID-19 Lockdown: Case of Kyotera District Rural Contexts by Dr. Tom D. Balojja,
  4. Mapping Makerere University’s Capacity to Mainstream e-Learning in University Education by Dr. Michael Walimbwa,
  5. Pedagogical Leadership for Academic Staff in Higher Education Institutions to Enhance Graduate Work Readiness and Transition to work (PLASHE-WILL) by Dr. Ronald Bisaso,
  6. Using Blended Learning to Fast Track Capacity Development for Teachers Implementing the Lower Secondary School Curriculum (BL4CD) by Dr. Paul Birevu Muyinda and
  7. Inter-disciplinary Enhancement of Science Education in the Uganda Primary Thematic Curriculum by Dr. Henry Busulwa.

The Chairperson of Council Mrs. Lorna Magara in her remarks welcomed the First Lady to CEES her college where she is a treasured alumna, and thanked her for the charismatic leadership of Uganda’s Education sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She noted that the Open Day had been made possible with generous support from Government to Research and Innovations at Makerere University to the tune of UGX 30 Billion annually and on behalf of the University leadership sincerely appreciated the gesture.

“The College of Education and External Studies has been a centre of excellence in pedagogy since the founding of the School of Education. Presently we have challenged the college to deliver research and innovations that prepare responsive professionals for the emerging realities in teaching and learning including globalization and technology and the COVID-19 situation and I can say that they have responded well” remarked Mrs. Magara.

The Chairperson of Council added that Makerere has relied on CEES for leadership through the Institute of Open, Distance and e-Learning (IODeL) to deliver the blended learning model, which enabled teaching and student assessment to continue during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe delivers his remarks.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe delivers his remarks.

The Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe in his remarks prior to the Chairperson’s welcomed the First Lady and Honourable Minister “home” and sincerely thanked her for the support in obtaining Cabinet approval for funds to reconstruct the University’s iconic Main Building.

He noted that Makerere was already taking giant steps one year into implementing her ten year strategic plan aimed at making her a research-led University, thanks to the generous support from the Government of Uganda through Mak-RIF and the Presidential Scientific Initiative on Epidemics (PRESIDE).

“The two interventions by Government have enabled us to improve our research infrastructure and avail funds to our researchers. Practically every College, School and Department is now engaged in research and development activities” appreciated Prof. Nawangwe.

The Vice Chancellor acknowledged the central role played by CEES in enabling the University to continue conducting teaching and assessment despite the challenges posed by COVID-19. “We are happy to share the expertise developed at Makerere with our sister universities in Uganda.”

He added that the seven research projects presented at the Open Day were proof of Makerere’s enormous capacity to find solutions to the challenges that face Uganda’s Education system right from Pre-Primary to Universities, especially in the wake of COVID-19. The Vice Chancellor renewed the University’s call to Government to fund graduate student education, noting that this would help the country to develop faster.

“Honourable Minister, Makerere is ready to support you in your enormous task of enabling recovery of the Education sector from the effects of COVID-19, and I would like to believe that the presentations that you have listened to and seen are testimony to that readiness” affirmed the Vice Chancellor.

A screenshot of the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Museveni (Top R), Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara (Bottom) and Prof. William Bazeyo (Top L) as the latter made his remarks during the Mak-RIF CEES Open Day.
A screenshot of the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Museveni (Top R), Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara (Bottom) and Prof. William Bazeyo (Top L) as the latter made his remarks during the Mak-RIF CEES Open Day.

Speaking on behalf of the Mak-RIF GMC, the Chairperson Prof. William Bazeyo paid tribute to Hon. Janet Museveni for being that Minister of Education and Sports that inspired Makerere to become a research-led University. “We responded to your call and here we are to show the fruits of what you inspired us to do and we sincerely thank you.”

He thanked the Chairperson of Council for embracing the Minister’s vision for Makerere University to become research-led and the Vice Chancellor for taking up the mantle. “Getting Makerere to have this research and come up with findings that help Government and respond to national development goals is not easy and I want to thank you Professor Nawangwe.”

Prof. Bazeyo equally paid tribute to the College Principals and researchers for coming up with projects that will impact the Ugandan society saying, “I want to thank my colleagues and congratulate the Principal and your team for the great job done.”

On this note, he was pleased to inform the Honourable Minister that findings from one of the projects “Enhancing Continued Learning to Rural Contexts during the COVID-19 Lockdown: Case of Kyotera District Rural Contexts” revealed that the greatest impact on teaching and learning during the COVID-19 lockdown had been as a result of the teaching materials whose distribution she strongly advocated for.

“And now we have evidence to show that what the Ministry (of Education and Sports) did was the right thing” added Prof. Bazeyo.

A screenshot of the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Museveni (Top R), Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara (Bottom) and Prof. Fred Masagazi Masaazi (Top L) as the latter made his remarks during the Mak-RIF CEES Open Day.
A screenshot of the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Museveni (Top R), Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara (Bottom) and Prof. Fred Masagazi Masaazi (Top L) as the latter made his remarks during the Mak-RIF CEES Open Day.

The Principal Prof. Fred Masagazi Masaazi in his address thanked the First Lady and Minister for accepting the invitation to grace the Open Day. “This is an important day in many ways; first, we are proving our capacity as a College in contributing to National Development through posing questions on Education issues and providing answers to some.”

He added that as Makerere University marks 100 years of service and contribution to the world, CEES had commenced her celebrations with the Open Day, and preparations were underway to host a reunion day for the College’s alumni adding, “We are hopeful that our Chief Guest will join us.”

Prof. Masagazi Masaazi shared that their research findings had indicated that the education sector was not likely to go back to the pre-COVID-19 school setting, but was well primed for change through innovative re-imagination. He cited curriculum, instructional materials, assessment, teacher preparation, retooling of teachers, leadership, and leadership development as some of the areas that would need to be innovatively re-imagined.

The Principal pledged his college’s commitment to continue providing innovative education solutions through the establishment of the Makerere University Institute of Teacher Education Research, “which will mainstream and further institutionalize cutting-edge research on teacher education in Uganda and beyond.”   

Education

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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