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.
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.
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.
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.
“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 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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Improving performance in Science subjects: Mak scholars translate science books into local languages
Makerere University scholars have translated science terms into local languages to ease learning of the students in lower primary classes.
The scholars include Dr Henry Busulwa, Dr Harriet Nabushawo, Dr John Ssentongo, and Dr Allen Nalugwa.
The quartet conceived the idea of translating learner’s materials in 2020 after conducting research that showed that there was decreasing interest and performance by learners in science subjects.
They (scholars) therefore translated two resource books into Luganda and Lumasaaba languages following the thematic curriculum of lower primary to help learners easily grasp the content taught when they reach primary four. The lower primary curriculum directs teachers to teach children in their mother tongue from primary one to primary three and start learning in English only when they reach primary four.
Dr Busulwa, the Principal Investigator of the project found out that between 2015 and 2019, less than 5000 pupils got distinctions in science and over 1000 children failed completely.
“This is because these children are not given a chance to learn most of the terms in their mother tongue. They may be knowing something in English but cannot translate it to their local language which is not right,” he said.
The scholars therefore conducted research in a project dubbed “inter-disciplinary enhancement of science education in the Uganda Primary thematic curriculum”, a project funded by the government of Uganda through Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF).
The innovators interacted with teachers, learners and elderly persons in Mbale, Manafwa, Mpigi, Lwengo, and Masaka districts to give them the suitable terms for the science terms.
“We sampled 24 thematic curriculum teachers, 24 elders and used instruments like questionnaires and Focused Group Discussions. We were however surprised to find out that at least 80 percent could not translate science terms into their mother tongue,” he noted.
The scholars also found out that there is no science subject in lower primary, they rather incorporate different terms in Literacy I and Literacy II subjects.
Out of the teachers who teach lower primary, the study revealed that very few teachers from the sample taken have taught for over four years.
He further explained that schools in the villages use local languages a lot unlike those in urban centers which do not follow the thematic curriculum.
“Many teachers are relatively young and they can’t teach in local languages. A good percentage of teachers could not articulate the science in the themes and yet some were not comfortable teaching science in local languages,” he added
The books will help teachers to teach science comfortably without struggling.
Prof Anthony Muwagga Mugagga, the Principal of the College of Education and External Studies, lauded the principal investigator for having pulled through the project saying, “Last year, many Biology students in the country failed. We look at the failure of science students at Advanced level as having stemmed from primary school because students do not understand the meaning of what they study.
He added: “Abroad, science is taught in their mother tongue for example Britain, where their mother tongue is English. Your study does not only solve the problem of teaching science but also medicine. We have lost a lot of medicine because we don’t know about them.”
He thanked the team of scholars for rejuvenating the traditional learning and noted that their intervention at a lower level will make things better.
Ms Lovenance Napokoli, a teacher from Mbale who helped researchers in developing the Lumasaaba book noted that the book will be useful to the learners and teachers since it translates words from a local language to English.
“Many teachers have been finding it difficult to teach children because they don’t understand what they teach in their mother tongue. The innovation is therefore timely and it will help teachers in conveying what they teach to learners.”
Mr Michael Ssonko, the representative from Wakiso district noted the challenge they have is that elders who used to teach science had better knowledge than the people currently teaching science and noted that current learners are not getting the information required.
Ms Gloria Naggayi, the Research Support Officer who represented the Grants Management Committee said the innovation has a foreseeing impact on the education sector and if they are taken up by the Ministry of Education a lot will be changed.
The resource books are designed following the thematic curriculum of lower primary and if the government provides more funding to the project, the materials will be replicated into other local languages.
The National Curriculum Development Center (NCDC) asked the scholars to digitalise their resources such that it can be read by many people.
Dr Deborah Magera, the representative of NCDC noted that children can only understand science concepts in the language they understand.
Police approves new compulsory soft skills training course
The Uganda Police Force (UPF) in partnership with Makerere University have approved a new training course intended to impart soft skills in police trainees.
The program dubbed “Promoting community policing by integrating soft skills in Uganda Police training” funded by the Government of Uganda through Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF) is expected to be rolled out in 2025 and it will be part and parcel of the police training course.
SCP Anne Tusiime, the Deputy Director Human Resource Development, embraced the program and pledged support for the course.
“I believe with this project that is ongoing, we are heading to making the force better,” she noted
This idea was conceived in 2020 by Dr Badru Musisi, a senior lecturer at the College of Education and External Studies (CEES) and the Principal Investigator (PI) following the public’s outcry that police is brutalising people and the general feeling that police is anti-people.
SCP Tusiime revealed that they are facing challenges arising from lack of soft skills and those having the skills lack the tactics to use those skills.
“While we have put in much effort, we still have some challenges, especially from lacking skills or having skills and we don’t use them the way they are supposed to be used. And picking from our name, some of the skills are typically hard skills not soft ones. And so we end up losing out some bits,” She added after approving the course during the workshop which was held at the Police headquarters in Naguru, Kampala on November.
She asked the team of the principal investigators to design a way how skills that may look to be hard, can be simplified and made a little bit softer.
“Let’s hold our hands to see that we pull it through. The pledge on behalf of the force is that we are committed to human resource development. We pray that this project will give us a serious backup in whatever we are doing,” SCP Tusiime emphasised
SCP Fred Enanga, the Police Spokesperson told the team of researchers that when passing out officers, they are trained in soft skills because in exercising their duties, they use negotiations but the practice has not been direct as this course is intending to do.
Dr Musisi revealed that the three-year project has finally started to bear fruits after soft skills taxonomy was approved by the top officers.
“We are going to use the soft skill taxonomy to develop a transformative framework for embedding soft skills in police training programs,” he noted.
On this move, researchers believe that when they secure the balance between the hard and soft skill policing, community policing will ultimately be promoted saying, “We expect to have police officers that build a cordial relationship between the force and the community.”
After developing the transformative framework, Dr Musisi noted that they are going to train the instructors of all police training schools and colleges in the country how to use that framework to embed soft skills in their routine training programs.
“The soft skills taxonomy is going to give us a foundation of which soft skills are going to be embedded. And our next step is to develop the transformative framework for embedding soft skills that will be tested, refined, passed and thereafter in the third year, we shall be rolling it out,” he revealed.
Ms Evelyne Baelvina Nyachwo, the Research Support Officer from Mak-RIF who represented Prof Fred Masagazi Masagazi revealed that the Makerere University Research and Innovations fund (Mak-RIF), funded by the government of Uganda and started in 2019 to support research to provide solutions through innovations to the current challenges Ugandans face.
“We receive money to support research and so we give this money to Makerere lecturers so that they can be able to develop ideas which are majorly tailored to solving our local problems. We identify what is disturbing us and then through research, we come up with the solutions and innovations to solve these problems.” she said
She noted that this project was very timely owing to the issues coming up between the community and the police. “There is limited trust and yet police are supposed to be an arm that protects the community. We want to ensure that our officers have extra soft skills added to them to ensure that they can serve the nation but also become better people and provide better service,” she added.
Student teachers join hands to make a difference in the environment
On Thursday, November 9, 2023, students of the College of Education and External Studies (CEES), mobilized by the college chairperson, Mr Ssebina Solomon, united in a display of environmental conservation as they gathered to pick litter around the Makerere University premises under the theme “The teacher’s walk against littering in Makerere University.”
The main goal of the event was to rebrand the teaching profession and reawaken teachers as agents of social change. The teacher’s walk also emphasized the critical role of teachers in shaping morals, values, and character, of their learners and those around them. ” Teaching is a noble profession that shapes generations to come, yet often faces challenges and misconceptions,” Mr Ssebina said.
To counter these stereotypes and create a positive image, the teacher trainees at Makerere University decided to come together in an activity that would not only benefit the environment but also highlight their dedication to their chosen profession.
Littering being a common and widespread problem throughout the country that not only affects the aesthetic appeal of the environment but also poses serious health concerns, calls for intervention countrywide. The CEES Community took initiative to ensure a litter free Uganda starting with their very own campus grounds.
The event kicked off at around 9:00am and was officiated by Dr. Muhammad Kiggundu, The Head Department of Languages. The students started by cleaning their very own college grounds and moved to Mary Stuart hall picking up any litter found along the streets. The trek continued to the western gate, CEDAT, CONAS , CHUSS and ended at the Complex hall. Here the students sang the national anthem, the Makerere University anthem and Buganda Anthem which depicted the nationalistic and patriotic spirit embedded in the teacher solidarity.
Mr Bakulumapagi Ibrahim, one of the event organisers noted, “Today was a testament to the strength of community spirit. We achieved a lot in just a few hours, and this is just the beginning of our efforts.” The students came back to CEES where they were welcomed back and given lots of logistics to share.
The success of this cleaning picking event has inspired hope for future initiatives aimed at preserving the environment and fostering a strong sense of community responsibility. It showcased the power of collective action and community spirit in addressing environmental challenges. It was a reminder that small steps, when taken together, can lead to a cleaner, more sustainable future.
In summary, the litter picking event carried out by teacher trainees from Makerere University was not just about cleaning up the campus; it was a bold statement to the world. It demonstrated that the teaching profession is not confined to the four walls of a classroom but extends to the community and beyond. By taking the initiative to reshape public perceptions of teaching, these future educators are exemplifying the qualities that make teaching a profession of pride and purpose. They are proving that a teacher’s influence is not limited to textbooks but extends to the hearts and minds of their students and society at large.
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