The Department of Humanities and Language Education, College of Education and External Studies today January 13, 2022 received a new head following the expiry of Dr. Nambi Rebecca’s tenure.
Dr. Nambi handed over office to Dr. Muhammad Musoke Kiggundu after serving 4 months as acting head of the department. Dr. Nambi highlighted some of her achievements which included the introduction of seminar series, which have resulted in the publication of 13 papers, three staff promotions to the rank of senior lecturer. Three staff graduated with PhDs. She also introduced the Display Board where staff display their publications. Dr. Nambi welcomed Dr. Kiggundu and wished him a good tenure. She thanked management for the opportunity to serve her department and the staff for the support given to her during the term of office.
She requested the incoming head to conduct staff trainings for the new curriculum and also spear head curriculum review which is already in the pipeline.
Dr. Kiggundu thanked the staff of the department for the overwhelming support given to him during the voting process and pledged build on the achievements of Dr. Nambi.
Some of the activities he plans to undertake include retooling of the students the college is training so that they fit the new curriculum issued by the Ministry of Education and Sports. Dr. Kiggundu noted that the department needed more research projects, saying they would be a good incentive for the staff. He called for the support of the Principal and the departmental staff in this endeavor. “I am happy to take on the responsibility given to me and with your support I know that we will achieve a lot,” Dr. Kiggundu said.
On his part, the Principal, Dr. Fred Masagazi Masaazi, thanked Dr. Nambi for holding fort during her tenure and congratulated Dr. Kiggundu upon his election as Head. He cautioned that with the new curriculum, there is need to conduct in-house trainings for staff to bring them to speed with the new teaching and learning methods. He called on the new Head of Department to read his terms of reference in order to avoid conflict. “It is important to know what is expected of you and the reporting hierarchy,” Prof. Masagazi said.
He also advised Dr. Kiggundu to ensure proper record keeping, saying even documents as old as 100 years are still important. The principal concluded by pledging his support to the new head of department.
The handover was also attended by the Dean of the School of Education, Dr. Mathias Mulumba who thanked Dr. Nambi for steering the college to higher horizons, pointing out that she took over leadership of the department at a difficult time when the university was in the process of conducting online examinations but she effectively managed the period. He congratulated her upon the introduction of seminars and leading the curriculum review process.
He congratulated Dr. Kiggundu, saying “I know you are a people person which give me pleasure to see you coming in as HoD”. The Dean cautioned Dr. Kiggundu against fights with both his seniors and his juniors. He asked him to always reach out to colleagues and solve all the challenges and differences they may be experiencing. “Conflicts are too costly so solve them as soon as they arise,” Dr. Mulumba advised.
He asked him to serve all people fairly, follow the university structures and also familiarize himself with the university policies especially those in regards to examinations and teaching and learning.
The handover was also witnessed by the Human Resources Officer of the college, Mr. Godfrey Makubuya, Dr. Josephine Kakeeto, Prof. Anthony Muwagga Mugagga, Mr. Mark Rujumba and Ms. Betty Kyakuwa among others.
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CEES to Equip Ghetto Youth with Entrepreneurial Skills
A team of researchers from the College of Education and External Studies (CEES) is set to train ghetto youth and equip them with entrepreneurial skills as well as give them seed capital for their businesses.
The team, led by Dr. Badru Musisi, has embarked on a stakeholder engagement with the ghetto youth, youth organizations, the Police, the Ministry of Kampala Capital City and Metropolitan Affairs among others to carry out a needs assessment before undertaking the study. The project, titled Kampala Ghetto Youth Training for Entrepreneurial Promotion (KGYTEP) seeks to offer an opportunity of self-employment to the youths.
Speaking during the stakeholder engagement, the Minister for Kampala Capital City and Metropolitan Affairs, Hon. Minsa Kabanda said the ghettos have three categories of youth, the educated but unemployed, the school dropouts and the criminals, who each require different interventions. Some need orientation and training while others require rehabilitation.
She said many youths in the ghetto had never got an opportunity to be employed and therefore was pleased to learn that Makerere University had embarked on a project to help them.
The youth in Uganda make up 70% of the population but more than half of these are unemployed, which has forced them to move into slums. The Minister said she had worked with the youth in Kampala and was confident that the ghetto youth want to improve their livelihoods and was therefore positive that this project would be supported.
She requested KCCA to undertake a census and registration of the youth in the slum areas of Kampala. She also called for the establishment of industrial parks and training centres, which should offer mindset change to the youth. She pledged support of the ministry during the execution of the project.
The Principal of CEES, Prof. Fred Masagazi Masaazi thanked the government for the financial support to Makerere University through the Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF) and he also pledged the college’s willingness to work with the different stakeholders to uplift the lives of the ghetto youth. The Principal congratulated Dr. Musisi and the research team upon winning the grant.
It is estimated that more than half of the youth population is unemployed. This high rate of unemployment has driven the youth into crime and slum areas. It is this unemployment that the project seeks to address. The problem of unemployment creates a social, economic, political and security danger to the county.
The project seeks to offer scalable and sustainable training of the ghetto youth in the five divisions of Kampala using a model called STEP – Student Training for Entrepreneurial Promotion because it is evidence based and scientifically evaluated.
STEP is a strategic and Innovative skilling program designed to combat youth unemployment in developing countries. The goal of the training is to develop youths’ skills to pursue an entrepreneurial career as a viable employment option by changing their mindset to consider self-employment as an alternative career option, increase business start-up rate to boost the number of ghetto youth venture and produce more job creators.
The youth will be grouped in five people and given startup capital. The project is a 3-year project that is hoped will impact the lives of the youth.
The ghetto youth called on the public to show them love if they are to bring change into their communities. They said the biggest challenge that the ghetto youth face is stigma. The youth shared the challenges that hinder self-employment. They included, lack of finances, financial illiteracy, drug abuse, communication skills, marketing stills among others. They called on Dr. Musisi’s team to equip them with financial management skills, communication skills, marketing, saving, critical thinking among others.
The training was also attended by the Commissioner of Community Policing in the Uganda Police Force, ACP Anatoli Muleterwa who also called on the youth to be law abiding citizens and avoid violence and crime. He reechoed the youth in saying the slums had many talented youths who needed a boost. He thanked the university for the project which he hoped will impact the lives of the youth, their homes and their communities.
CEES Launches Research to Evaluate Blended Learning
The College of Education and External Studies (CEES) has launched research to evaluate the processes and outcomes of blended learning at Makerere University. Blended learning is a teaching approach that combines physical classes with online learning.
Blended learning uptake at Makerere University has since become a necessity following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic which saw the closer of all learning institutions.
Speaking during the launch, Dr. Arthur Mugisha, the Principal Investigator of the project said his team will evaluate the learners’ satisfaction and the different modes of delivery.
“We shall document the learners’ challenges, establish solutions to the challenges and document proposed ideal blended learning approaches which take care of the learners needs and expectations,” Dr. Mugisha said.
It was noted however, that although blended learning became popular during the pandemic, the pedagogy had started in 1991 with student of Bachelors of Education External of B. Commerce External, the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academics Affairs, Prof. Kakumba Umar revealed.
Professor Kakumba noted that the Open Distance e-learning system (MUELE) is something that should have been embraced and taken seriously when it was first introduced in the University in 1991.
Prof. Kakumba said after the senate approval of the e-learning module in 2014, the office of academic affairs saw it fit to institutionalize e-learning hence the creation of the Institute of Online and Distance E-learning (IODEL) which was approved in 2015. The DVC noted that before the pandemic, 30% of the University colleges were enrolled on the Makerere University E-Learning Environment, but this has changed, seeing 100 % enrollment by colleges.
With the growth of blended learning update, the university has engaged in various activities to ease the uptake of e-learning at Makerere. Some of the things the university is doing, according to Prof. Kakumba include;
- IODeL benchmarking on online course design.
- Staff capacity building in online utilisation of emergency ODeL courses development.
- Student capacity building for emergency ODeL awareness and practicability.
- Needs assessment for staff and students in the use of ODeL for teaching and learning.
- NCHE Approval of emergency ODeL
As revealed by Dr. Mugisha, the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic forced the university to implement blended learning across all programmes in the university. “For sustainability and to ensure the full potential of blended learning is achieved, the project proposes to comprehensively evaluate the adoption and utilization of blended learning with focus on students’ participation, expectations and benefits accruing from the mode of teaching,” Dr. Mugisha said.
In order to ensure proper findings and evaluation for the blended learning pedagogy, Dr Mugisha said the project intends to use primary data collected from 380 respondents in 10 colleges of the University and this will be from a cross-sectional survey design employing a mixed research approach. Focus group discussions shall be held with system administrators while face-to-face discussions will be held with key informants.
This kind of survey will enable them develop long lasting strategies to ease the use of blended learning at the University as it is the new normal in the academic sphere.
The occasion was graced by the Executive Director of National Council for Higher Education, Prof. Mary J. N. Okwakol, who said it is high time the country started an open and e-learning university.
“At some point I thought we were almost there; I don’t know what happened. Countries like Tanzania, Malaysia and the University of Nigeria that have open learning, have a student enrollment of over 70,000 students,” she noted.
Most of the things to be put into consideration for a successful blended learning as pointed out by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs) of Uganda Christian University (UCU), Rev. Dr. J. Kitayimbwa, included the attitude both from students and lecturers, skilled personnel, internet accessibility, possession of tools or gadgets to use, efficiency among others.
Makerere University Guild President-elect Shamim Nambassa speaking on behalf of the student community called upon the stakeholders to lobby the Ministry of ICT to scrap off the 3% tax on internet bundles to enable students easily access their classes because “the bundles are already expensive.”
The project team include Dr. Arthur Mugisha as the principal investigator, Dr. Harriet Najjemba co-Principal Investigator, Dr. Paul Birevu Muyinda, Dr. Jessica N, Aguti, Mr. Joshua Bateeze, Dr. Aine Robert.
Web-based correspondence or distance education was pioneered in South Africa by the University of South Africa in 1946 a thing that shows that blended learning has been in existence for many years but its uptake has been slow until the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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