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Gone but still lives on: Makerere University celebrates Prof. Kajubi’s legacy

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Professor William Senteza Kajubi, the first African to receive a Fulbright scholarship in 1952 and a renowned educationist who diversified and chaired a committee to review Uganda’s Curriculum in 1990 was remembered and celebrated by Makerere University College of Education and External studies (CEES) in a public lecture that happened on 22nd September 2022 at the Yusuf Lule teaching facility Auditorium at Makerere University.

Part of the audience at the Professor Senteza Kajubi Memorial Lecture included Prof. Eriabu Lugujjo (L) and Prof. Ikoja Odong (2nd L).
Part of the audience at the Professor Senteza Kajubi Memorial Lecture included Prof. Eriabu Lugujjo (L) and Prof. Ikoja Odong (2nd L).

The ceremony themed “Internationalization of Higher Education in the next Century” presided over by the United States’s Ambassador to Uganda Her Excellency Natalie Brown brought together many academicians, educationists and students across the world to celebrate the life and achievements of the person of Professor William Senteza Kajubi. In attendance were Vice Chancellors from Ugandan universities e.g. Soroti, Muni, Bishop Stuart, Bugema, Ndejje and Busitema.

Besides remembering the life of Prof. Kajubi, this public lecture also happened to be marking the Makerere University’s 100 year anniversary, Uganda’s 60 years of independence and its fruitful relationship with the United States that has paved way for the Fulbright Scholarship program and many other partnerships that have impacted lives of Ugandans.

The Principal CEES, Prof. Anthony Muwagga Mugagga.
The Principal CEES, Prof. Anthony Muwagga Mugagga.

While addressing the congregation, the Principal College of Education and External Studies (CEES) Professor Anthony Mugagga hailed Professor Kajubi for the 1989 report on Education which the National Resistance Movement government incorporated into its 10-point program.

“In 1954 when Pope Leo the 10th appointed Ben Kiwanuka as the first African Bishop, he cautioned him to be successful so that he can inspire more African theologians. Kajubi never got lost in the States, neither did he do drugs but he clang to studies and paved way for other scholars of the Fulbright Scholarship program,” added Professor Mugagga who concluded his remarks cautioning the congregation to emulate Prof. Kajubi, and also thanked all staff who participated in seeing this event a success.

Mr. Wasswa Kajubi speaks on behalf of the Senteza Kajubi family.
Mr. Wasswa Kajubi speaks on behalf of the Senteza Kajubi family.

On behalf of the Senteza Kajubi family, his son Wasswa Kajubi expressed their deepest gratitude and honor to Makerere University and CEES administration for always remembering their loved one even when he passed on long time ago.

The Chairperson Makerere University Council Mrs.Lorna Magara highlighted how the Late Prof. Kajubi’s life symbolized hard work, persistence and courage to pursue excellence and greatness. She added that Prof. Kajubi’s passion for education at Makerere and the University of Chicago resulted into a lot of phenomenal education reforms that saw admission of private sponsored students to Makerere.

The Chairperson, Makerere University Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara.
The Chairperson, Makerere University Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara.

“Prof. Sentenza Kajubi’s life symbolized hard work, passion for the profession,
creativity, innovation, and courage to pursue and carry out a vision”. This hard work ethic, Mrs. Magara informed the gathering, was reinforced daily by a family motto in the Kajubi sitting room, “OMULIMU LYE LINNYA LY’OMUNTU,” which may be translated as ONE’S WORK IS ONE’S NAME.

The Deputy Chairperson, Makerere University Council, Rt. Hon. Daniel Kidega.
The Deputy Chairperson, Makerere University Council, Rt. Hon. Daniel Kidega.

The late Prof. Kajubi’s passion and pursuit for knowledge can be traced through his education journey, from Mengo Junior Secondary school to Kings College Budo, to Makerere University, and on to the University of Chicago on a Fulbright Scholarship graduating with an MSC. with a concentration in Geography. Upon return, he embraced the privilege and honor of serving as a teacher, and Administrator. His dedicated service saw him rise through the ranks to serve as Director, National Institute of Education (1964- 1977) and twice as Vice Chancellor, Makerere University (1977-1979; 1990-1993).

Her Excellency Natalie Brown the United States Ambassador to Uganda said,” Professor Kajubi is a shining star among Fulbright alumni, in Uganda and beyond.  He traveled to the U.S. in 1952 as a Fulbright student to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Chicago.  He returned to make great contributions to the education sector in Uganda and the region.  His two-time tenure appointments at the helm of this university demonstrate his outstanding leadership ability”.  Professor Kajubi did not limit himself to education alone, he went on to serve as a delegate to Uganda’s Constituent Assembly which created the new constitution in 1995, among other things.  His legacy of service to his country remains an inspiration to generations of faculty and students alike”.

The U.S. Ambassador to Uganda, H.E. Natalie Brown.
The U.S. Ambassador to Uganda, H.E. Natalie Brown.

Ms. Brown said the US Mission in Uganda are proud to manage the Fulbright program in Uganda where 12 Ugandan Fulbright grantees were sent this year to academic programs for Masters, PhD and research in the United States, and in exchange Uganda welcomed nine U.S. Fulbrighters to conduct research.

Makerere University and the people of America have had great partnerships that have seen America’s public Health enthusiasts and other specialists come to Uganda to conduct research. They include the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and so many others.

H.E. Natalie Brown, dignitaries and part of the audience applaud during the proceedings.
H.E. Natalie Brown, dignitaries and part of the audience applaud during the proceedings.

The keynote speaker of the day and the Vice President and Associate Provost for Internationalization at the University of Notre Dame, Dr. Michael Pippenger challenged African Universities to ensure solidarity, commitment and transparency if they actually want to internationalize since it not only helps them realize weaknesses, strengths and potential areas of collaboration but also builds transformative and global minded students.

“It is not the MOUs and agreements we sign that show internationalization, but rather the work we do while together on ending pandemics, fostering rule of law and other community impactful engagements. Surprisingly Prof Kajubi knew all this”. Concluded Dr. Pippenger who urged universities to stick to their visions and missions which should reflect on the communities they serve.

Dr. Michael Pippenger delivers the keynote address.
Dr. Michael Pippenger delivers the keynote address.

Prof. William Senteza Kajubi served as the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University at two different intervals 1977 – 1979 and 1990 – 1993. He was also a member of the constitutional Assembly that drafted Uganda’s constitution of 1995. He devoted his life to Academics and impacting communities until his death on May 1st, 2012.

Background 

Prof. Senteza Kajubi was born in 1926, in Singo county (modern day Mityana District), to Yoweri Bugonzi Kajubi and Bulanina Namukomya. His family later moved closer to the capital and settled in Busega, a suburb in the outskirts of Kampala, where he began his long journey with, or rather in, education at the Mackay Memorial Primary School in 1933. He then attended Mengo Junior School from 1941 to 1943 before transferring to King’s College Budo for his Advanced Level, finally making it to Makerere College in 1947 where he pursued a Bachelor of Arts with a Diploma in Education. 

Shortly after he graduated, Prof. Kajubi taught at Kako Junior Secondary School before going to the University of Chicago for a Master of Science in Geography. Later, in 1955, he went back to his alma mater, King’s College Budo, and taught Geography. It was during this period that he taught other notable personalities in Uganda’s history such as Mathew Rukikaire and Prof. Apolo Nsibambi in a predominantly white environment. The only other native teachers at Budo, then, were the Deputy Headteacher, Mr. Sempebwa and Erisa Kironde, an English language teacher. 

As one of the few Protestant members of a predominantly Catholic Democratic party (DP), Senteza Kajubi was a member of the National Symbols Committee which was tasked with selecting the national anthem, flag and coat of arms. 

The Moderator-Dr. Euzobia Baine Mugisha (L) and Panelists (L-R): Dr. James Nkata, Prof. Umar Kakumba and Dr. Cosmas Mwikirize.
The Moderator-Dr. Euzobia Baine Mugisha (L) and Panelists (L-R): Dr. James Nkata, Prof. Umar Kakumba and Dr. Cosmas Mwikirize.

His political acumen propelled him to chair a number of government boards over the years until he directly participated in electoral politics in 1994 as a delegate of the Constituent Assembly representing Kyadondo North.

Two years after Uganda got independence, now a lecturer at Makerere University, Prof. Senteza was appointed the Director of National Institute of Education. He served there until 1977 when he became Vice Chancellor for the first time. 

Education Policy Formation in Uganda

As the Secretary General of the Uganda Teachers’ Association from 1959 to 1962, Prof. Senteza Kajubi was a member of the famed Castle Commission on Uganda’s post-independence education policy framework.

Instituted and appointed in January 1963, the Castle Commission had been tasked with examining the content and structure of education in Uganda in light of the approved recommendations of the International Bank Survey Mission Report, Uganda’s financial position and its future manpower requirement. 

In the execution of its mandate, the commission dealt with a dilemma; if the formulated policy disproportionately focused on universal primary education and adult literacy while neglecting secondary, tertiary and higher education, it would fail to produce high level manpower which was required to staff government and teach in schools. However, on the other hand, the country did not have the resources to make improvements across the board and had to prioritise one option to the detriment of the other.

Since Makerere was still under the University of East Africa and higher education was still an inter-territorial responsibility, the commission instead focused on prioritising teacher-training, expanding secondary school enrolment and improving relevance, quality and access of primary education in remote areas.

In 1977, during his first tenure as the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof. Kajubi went on to chair the Education Policy Review Commission (EPRC) which was appointed by Idi Amin’s Minister of Education, Brig. Barnabas Kili.

Dr. Michael Pippenger (R) joins members of the Panel on stage during the interaction with the audience at the Prof. Senteza Kajubi Fulbright Memorial Lecture.
Dr. Michael Pippenger (R) joins members of the Panel on stage during the interaction with the audience at the Prof. Senteza Kajubi Fulbright Memorial Lecture.

Owing to the political climate at the time, the education system was facing even dire problems. The gross human rights violations had led to a mass exodus of highly qualified professionals from civil service, teachers and university faculty into exile. Imploding diplomatic relations rendered external assistance with regard to education inexistent and the government had to deal with shortages from personnel to instructional material.

Prof. Senteza Kajubi was then tasked with the responsibility of leading an effort to circumvent some of these challenges and therefore keeping the education system in Uganda alive. Unfortunately, the findings and recommendations of the report, from its members and constituent sub-committees were overtaken by events in 1979 when war broke out and the Idi Amin regime was overthrown. The report was shelved and never formally presented to cabinet.

In 1987, after the ascendancy of the NRM government into power, another commission, once again headed by Prof. Senteza Kajubi, was appointed. Still under similarly unique circumstances, this commission too had to work within the socio-economic confines of a post-war society riddled with scarcity of resources. Eighteen months later, the commission’s report was produced in January 1989.

The Department of Performing Arts and Film (PAF), Makerere University puts on a show during the musical interlude.
The Department of Performing Arts and Film (PAF), Makerere University puts on a show the musical interlude.

The most notable outcome of this committee report was a government white paper which brought to life the famous Universal Primary Education. This recommendation alone, for all its limitations, has contributed significantly to literacy levels in Uganda and to the education system as a whole.

After chairing the second Kajubi commission, he then became the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University for the second time, from 1990 to 1993, preceded by Prof. George Kirya and succeeded by Prof. John Ssebuwufu.

The Fulbright Program

In 1952, Prof. Senteza went on to the University of Chicago, on a Fulbright Scholarship, to pursue a Master of Science in Geography, making him the first African beneficiary of this scholarship program.  

The student exchange scholarship program, which was started shortly after the Second World War by an act of Congress, was named after the American Senator J. William Fulbright, its framer. He made the case that “educational exchange could turn nations into people, contributing as no other form of communication can to the humanising of international relations.” 

Through his notable achievements and illustrious career, it is clear that this initiative to bridge cultural gaps through an international education exchange program had Prof. Senteza as one its successes.

Education

Boosting Cognitive Development Through Early Childhood Nutrition Education

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Integration of nutrition education into the training programs for early childhood development (ECD) teachers research dissemination and launch of the recommendation report by College of Education and External Studies funded by Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF), 11th June 2024, AVU Conference Room, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

In an ambitious move to enhance early childhood development, researchers from Makerere University’s College of Education and External Studies are advocating for the integration of nutrition education into the training programs for early childhood development (ECD) teachers. This groundbreaking initiative aims to equip future educators with essential knowledge and skills to foster healthy eating habits among young learners, potentially leading to significant improvements in their cognitive development, academic performance, and long-term health outcomes.

The Call for Integration

Led by Dr. Josephine Esaete, the research team highlighted the critical role of nutrition in the overall development and well-being of young children. Dr. Esaete emphasized that teachers, particularly those in early childhood education, have a unique opportunity to shape the eating habits and nutrition knowledge of their students. By incorporating nutrition education into teacher training programs, educators can become powerful agents of change, promoting healthy behaviors that will benefit children throughout their lives.

Dr. Josephine Esaete. Integration of nutrition education into the training programs for early childhood development (ECD) teachers research dissemination and launch of the recommendation report by College of Education and External Studies funded by Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF), 11th June 2024, AVU Conference Room, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

“By integrating nutrition education into teacher training programs, we can ensure that early childhood teacher educators are equipped with the necessary knowledge to promote healthy eating habits and behaviors among young children,” Dr. Esaete said during the dissemination workshop.

A Holistic Approach

The dissemination of the research and launch of the recommendation report saw a strong emphasis on collaboration. The research team underscored the importance of a cooperative effort between schools, parents, and community organizations to guarantee children access to nutritious foods both at school and at home. This holistic approach aims to address food insecurity and promote overall health and well-being among students, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, where malnutrition is a significant issue. In Uganda, alarming statistics reveal that 49% of child deaths are associated with malnutrition, and a substantial proportion of school-age children suffer from stunting, underweight, thinness, and obesity.

Prof. Anthony Muwagga Mugagga, the principal of the college, reinforced the need for this comprehensive strategy, urging the focus to extend beyond early childhood learners to include those in universal primary education who often face hunger. He highlighted the necessity of addressing food insecurity across all educational settings to ensure that children have access to nutritious meals.

Integration of nutrition education into the training programs for early childhood development (ECD) teachers research dissemination and launch of the recommendation report by College of Education and External Studies funded by Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF), 11th June 2024, AVU Conference Room, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Ms Harriet Adong, who represented the Makerere University Research and innovation fund, the funding agency congratulated the research team saying that the proposed guidelines are crucial for promoting the health and well-being of young children in schools. She also emphasized the importance of ongoing research and collaboration to ensure effective implementation of these guidelines.

Implementing the Vision

The project activities, already initiated in five primary teacher colleges including Bishop Willis CPTC and St. Aloysius Core Primary Teachers College, aim to make lasting changes in the curriculum. Dr. Esaete and her team are working on a policy brief to advocate for these changes at the governmental level, aiming to influence the Department of Teacher Education, Training, and Development at the Ministry of Education and Sports.

Prof. Merab Kagoda, Dr. Josephine Esaete, Dr. David Kabugo. Integration of nutrition education into the training programs for early childhood development (ECD) teachers research dissemination and launch of the recommendation report by College of Education and External Studies funded by Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF), 11th June 2024, AVU Conference Room, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Key recommendations from the study include:

  1. Sensitizing ECD teacher trainees about the MoES (2013) school feeding guidelines.
  2. Encouraging teacher training colleges to embrace these feeding guidelines.
  3. Continuous parental sensitization on providing healthy and safe midday snacks for children.
  4. Initiating nutrition interventions that start with teacher education.
  5. Reworking the content of nutrition courses taught to ECD teacher trainees to incorporate emerging global nutrition issues relevant to their professional practice.

Paving the Way Forward

The research team, comprising Dr. Josephine Esaete, Mr. Edward Kansiime, Dr. Gaston Ampeire Tumuhimbise, Dr. Michael Walimbwa, and Dr. Alfred Buluma, is committed to seeing these recommendations take root. Their efforts signify a proactive step towards creating a supportive environment where children can learn about nutrition and make healthy choices, ultimately shaping the well-being of the next generation.

As these initiatives progress, the hope is that by equipping educators with the right tools and knowledge, the cognitive development and health of young children in Uganda, and potentially across Sub-Saharan Africa, will see significant improvement. The integration of nutrition education into early childhood development teacher training is not just a proposal; it’s a necessary evolution in educational practice that promises to nurture healthier, more informed future generations.

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CEPIDE Study Identifies Challenges and Solutions for Low Doctoral Completion Rates in Universities

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Left to Right: Dr. Mulira from NCHE, Prof. Openjuru, Chair Vice Chancellors' Forum and Prof. Robert Wamala, from Mak-RIF. College of Education and External Studies (CEES), Mak-RIF-funded Capability Enhancement Project for Innovative Doctoral Education at Ugandan Universities (CEPIDE) study research dissemination and launch of Innovative Doctoral Supervision for the 21st Century: Specialized Capacity Building Training Course for Doctoral Supervisors in Uganda, 30th May 2024, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

A recent study by the Capability Enhancement Project for Innovative Doctoral Education at Ugandan Universities (CEPIDE) reveals significant challenges in the country’s doctoral education system. The study, conducted over the period 2011-2024, underscores low conversion and completion rates among doctoral candidates in Uganda, raising concerns about the future of the nation’s research and innovation capacity.

The study findings were released during a dissemination workshop held on May 30, 2024 at Makerere University.

Key Findings:

  1. Low Transition Rates: Only 7.6% of master’s graduates advanced to doctoral studies.
  2. Enrollment Figures: Public institutions enrolled approximately 1,903 doctoral students from 2011 to 2020.
  3. Completion Rates: Of these, only 69.6% completed their doctoral programs by 2024, amounting to just 1,324 graduates.
  4. Institutional Disparities: Makerere University dominated doctoral completions, accounting for 81.4% of the total.
  5. Gender Disparity: Female graduates represented only 33.8% of doctoral completions.
  6. STEM Focus: 58% of doctoral completions at Makerere University were in STEM fields.
Dr. Irene Etomaru - PI of the Project. College of Education and External Studies (CEES), Mak-RIF-funded Capability Enhancement Project for Innovative Doctoral Education at Ugandan Universities (CEPIDE) study research dissemination and launch of Innovative Doctoral Supervision for the 21st Century: Specialized Capacity Building Training Course for Doctoral Supervisors in Uganda, 30th May 2024, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Dr. Irene Etomaru – PI of the Project.

Challenges Identified:

The study highlights several constraints impacting the doctoral pipeline, including:

  • Supervision Challenges: Insufficient support and resources for doctoral supervisors.
  • Situational Factors: External and personal circumstances affecting students’ ability to complete their studies.
  • Institutional Factors: Lack of robust support systems within universities.
  • Student Characteristics: Variability in students’ preparedness and resilience.

The team also used the same forum to unveil and launch a course module intended to equip supervisors with more skills. The course named Innovative Doctoral Supervision for the 21st Century: Specialized Capacity Building Training Course for Doctoral Supervisors in Uganda.

Speaking at the launch, the guest of honour, the ED of the NCHE, represented by Dr. Norah Miliira underscored the importance of doctoral studies saying NCHE recognizes the need for critical high-level knowledge and skills to power Uganda’s economy through research and Innovations. Dr. Muliira noted that NCHE had proposed to government to include a National Research Fund in its planning in an effort to support doctoral research. 

Dr. Tom D. Balojja - Co-PI of the project. College of Education and External Studies (CEES), Mak-RIF-funded Capability Enhancement Project for Innovative Doctoral Education at Ugandan Universities (CEPIDE) study research dissemination and launch of Innovative Doctoral Supervision for the 21st Century: Specialized Capacity Building Training Course for Doctoral Supervisors in Uganda, 30th May 2024, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Dr. Tom D. Balojja – Co-PI of the project.

Prof. Julius Kikooma, the Dean East African School of Higher Education and Development, advised that if we are to meet the development needs of the country, we ought to produce 1,000 PhDs every year.

Prof. Anthony Mugagga, the Principal of CEES called on NCHE to formulate PhD policies that have crosscutting courses, a thing he said would help in quality assurance.

The Executive Secretary-Uganda National Council for Science & Technology, in a speech read for him by Ms Beth Mutumba said the council is set to establish a research integrity code of conduct for which universities will have institutionalized policies to cab unethical practices and continue dissemination of the national regulatory frameworks.

Dr. Hamis Mugendawala who represented the ED of National Planning Authority cautioned universities against focusing on training more PhDs but rather focus on training quality PhDs in skills scarce areas. He pledged NPA’s support in implementing some of the key recommendations of the study.

Participants at the event. College of Education and External Studies (CEES), Mak-RIF-funded Capability Enhancement Project for Innovative Doctoral Education at Ugandan Universities (CEPIDE) study research dissemination and launch of Innovative Doctoral Supervision for the 21st Century: Specialized Capacity Building Training Course for Doctoral Supervisors in Uganda, 30th May 2024, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Participants at the event.

The research is funded by the government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund. Represented by Prof. Robert Wamala, the MakRIF chair, Prof. Fred Masagazi-Masaazi, congratulated the research team upon the study and said that the findings will be crucial in guiding policy makers and stakeholders in addressing the skills gap in the country. He emphasized the importance of collaboration between universities and government agencies to ensure that research outcomes are effectively utilized for national development. He appreciated government’s support to the university.

Conclusions: The study concludes that Uganda’s doctoral pipeline is “leaky and constrained,” resulting in low participation in graduate education and subsequently fewer researchers in the national system. This shortfall affects the country’s ability to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 9.5 and hampers progress toward national development goals. Additionally, the underrepresentation of women in research careers may further impede efforts to attain gender parity.

Recommendations:

CEPIDE proposes several measures to address these issues:

  • National Framework: Development of a national framework for doctoral education to enhance quality and accountability.
  • Research Culture: Promotion of a supportive research culture, ensuring proper funding and resources.
  • Supervisor Training: Mandatory training and certification for doctoral supervisors.
  • Equity Initiatives: Affirmative actions to boost female participation in doctoral programs and research careers.
  • Quality Assurance: Establishment of a specialized quality assurance system for doctoral education.
  • Institutional Support: Enhanced support services for graduate students, focusing on information, resources, and personal wellbeing.
Participants at the event. College of Education and External Studies (CEES), Mak-RIF-funded Capability Enhancement Project for Innovative Doctoral Education at Ugandan Universities (CEPIDE) study research dissemination and launch of Innovative Doctoral Supervision for the 21st Century: Specialized Capacity Building Training Course for Doctoral Supervisors in Uganda, 30th May 2024, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Participants at the event.

Implications for the Future:

These recommendations aim to bolster Uganda’s research and innovation ecosystem by improving the doctoral education pipeline. Implementing these measures is crucial for increasing the number of doctoral graduates, enhancing research capacity, and fostering national development. The focus on gender parity and STEM fields aligns with Uganda’s strategic priorities, but addressing systemic issues in the doctoral education system remains essential for sustained progress.

About CEPIDE:

The Capability Enhancement Project for Innovative Doctoral Education at Ugandan Universities (CEPIDE) is part of the Makerere University Research and Innovation Fund (Mak-RIF). It is funded by the Government of Uganda to support impactful research and innovation, aiming to align academic outputs with national development priorities.

As Uganda continues to position itself as a knowledge society, the findings and recommendations of the CEPIDE study offer a roadmap for strengthening doctoral education and, by extension, the nation’s research and innovation potential.

Research Team:

Dr. Irene Etomaru, Dr. Tom Darlington Balojja, Dr. Louis Theophilus Kakinda

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Mak vision for blended learning is alive, Prof Kakumba

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A group picture of the guests, research team and participants of the workshop. Dissemination workshop of the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF)-funded Comprehensive Evaluation of Blended Learning (CEBL) Phase II by Open Distance and e-Learning (ODeL), College of Education and External Studies (CEES), May 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Makerere University’s vision for blended learning which was adopted during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, is on track, the Acting Vice Chancellor (VC) who doubles as the Deputy VC Prof Umar Kakumba has said.

Prof Umar Kakumba said Makerere has already integrated Open, Distance and e-learning (ODeL) into the teaching and learning of students.

He said the institution has ensured capacity building with two high-end servers installed to support the generation of course content.

“The servers are very powerful and will be enabling tools for lecturers during repository of heavy files, videos and other learning materials,” DVC said.

 He was speaking at the dissemination workshop of Comprehensive Evaluation of Blended Learning (CEBL) Phase II at the university’s main campus in Kampala recently.

Researchers led by Mr Arthur Mugisha, the principal investigator (PI) of CEBL, conducted research to assess the e-learning model integrated into teaching and learning.

Their research launched in 2021, was aimed at evaluating long distance learning, how it works and the requirements to ensure effectiveness in higher institutions of learning.

The first phase of the study was conducted on undergraduate students.

CEBL I

The study revealed that the students called for sustainable resources, technologies and methods to improve the learning of students.

The study evaluated the learner’s status, to establish readiness, satisfaction and challenges they were facing and also establish potential solutions to the challenges they had.

“51 percent of the students were willing and were ready to take up blended learning for purpose of continuity because they were under lockdown,” the research finds revealed.

The study also indicated students were not consulted much but it was something that was helping them as well.

Prof. Kakumba Umar, the Acting VC. Dissemination workshop of the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF)-funded Comprehensive Evaluation of Blended Learning (CEBL) Phase II by Open Distance and e-Learning (ODeL), College of Education and External Studies (CEES), May 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Kakumba Umar, the Acting VC.

However, 49 percent of the students from the samples were a little bit skeptical, critical and were reluctant to adopt blended learning.

“60 percent of the respondents had not received adequate learner support but as students were looking for support, the lecturers were also looking for support,” the research further stated.

Mr Mugisha added: “89 percent of undergraduate students were getting support from their lecturers via zoom. And accessing this platform was mainly through smartphones and laptops.”

CEBL research also revealed how students at the end of the day, accepted that e-learning was the only way to go.

“We suggested that there should be a one-student support centre because students were asking how they can be supported,” the project PI said.

The support needed included a number of players that is the technical support, academic support, social support, equipment and resources and non-academic support.

CEBL Phase II

E-learning evaluation phase II looked at graduate students and how they understood ODeL.

According to the research, graduate students were yearning for quality blended learning and were so interested in it because it is convenient.

However, they noted people had misunderstood blended as the use of Zoom which was not correct.

Mr Arthur Mugisha the PI. Dissemination workshop of the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF)-funded Comprehensive Evaluation of Blended Learning (CEBL) Phase II by Open Distance and e-Learning (ODeL), College of Education and External Studies (CEES), May 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Mr Arthur Mugisha the PI.

Being a working class group, they believed if the university provided a cross-cutting course during entry to introduce them to how e-learning workers, it would be helpful to them.

e-learning infrastructure

IoDEL scholars led by Prof Kakumba worn a grant of Shs7bn to enhance capacity building including upgrading of the Makerere University e-learning (Muele) platform.

The University management has ensured the internet at campus is strengthened.

“Muele has been upgraded to increase on the operating speed because we received complaints that it was not stable and could not provide a conducive learning environment to students.”

“In the capacity building process, all the programmes offered by Makerere both at undergraduate and post-graduate level have a slot on Muele,” Prof Kakumba said.

Introduction of e-learning course for Mak staff

Working with the Institute of teaching and learning under the College of Education, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Makerere looks at capacity building.

A short certificate course is in the pipeline to equip academic staff with the skills needed, Prof. Kakumba said.

He said Senate and the University Council passed a proposal of retooling lecturers and once approved, all staff will be subjected to that course.

The short course is expected to take four-six weeks of training focusing on how to design course content, assessing competitiveness of learners and setting learning outcomes among others.

The proposal was informed by the Directorate of Quality Assurance after learning that some academic staff lacked delivery skills when teaching o-line.

Implementation of the e-learning Policy

Makerere’s learning agenda through the policy framework was passed by Senate and University Council concerning blended learning and a brief report will be sent to parliament.

Prof. Masagazi, the chair Grants management committee of MakRIF. Dissemination workshop of the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF)-funded Comprehensive Evaluation of Blended Learning (CEBL) Phase II by Open Distance and e-Learning (ODeL), College of Education and External Studies (CEES), May 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Masagazi, the chair Grants management committee of MakRIF.

The policy the DVC said is a pillar of innovative teaching and the Mak revised teaching and learning policy 2023 has enshrined the blended teaching and learning.

Principal of the College of education, Prof Anthony Muwagga Mugagga, noted that all lectures at his college have already adopted blended learning.

“As a leader in the educational pedagogy and ICT, we will be able to help the entire university to adopt blended learning and teaching and to help our students,” Prof Mugagga said.

Call for government support towards research

Prof Fred Masagazi Masaazi, the Chairperson of the Grants Committee/Makerere University Research and Innovation Fund (Makrif), called for government support.

He noted that the university receives Shs30 billion every financial year but he was concerned that for this fiscal year about Shs5 billion had not been received.

“Applications are overwhelming but there are no funds currently to facilitate research. We request the government for funds before the end of this financial Year,” he said.

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