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How CEES researchers are easing the teaching of sciences

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Science is of great importance nationally and internationally for sustainable and socio-economic development as well as for technological advancement. Knowledge of science and technology is therefore a requirement in all countries and needed by all people globally due to numerous challenges that are facing us.

These challenges include emergence of new drug resistant diseases, effects of genetic experimentation and engineering, ecological impact of modern technology, dangers of nuclear war and explosions and global warming among others, according to research. Science as an agent of development plays an important role in bringing about these changes through technological advancement, national wealth enhancement, health improvement and industrialization. This is why President Museveni has continued to advocate for the promotion of scientific and technological breakthrough.

The Head of the Research Team, Dr. John Sentongo makes his presentation.
The Head of the Research Team, Dr. John Sentongo makes his presentation.

This, however, is not without challenges. The teaching and learning of sciences in secondary schools has greatly been hindered by the lack of laboratories especially in rural schools.   To this end, researchers at the College of Education and External Studies with funding from RIF have found a solution to this challenge. A team led by Dr. John Sentongo developed a new mode of teaching sciences using simulations and a smart TV. This new mode of teaching was a result of a research study titled “Use of ICT to promote Quality Science Education in Resource Constrained Secondary Schools in Central Uganda

Dr. Sentongo, during the dissemination of the research results on August 30, 2022 said they sought to demonstrate the effectiveness of using a smart tv to teach practical work in science to enhance teaching and learning in selected secondary schools.

The researchers made simulations using PhET, of various laboratory experiments and put them on a TV box. It is this TV box that is connected to the TV set and a mouse used to navigate the system.  

Simulation is defined as an experiential instructional method that teachers create to imitate or replicate actual events, problems, procedures, or skills to achieve the desired instructional results.

Dr. John Sentongo (Standing) makes a presentation on the system.
Dr. John Sentongo (Standing) makes a presentation on the system.

This mode of teaching was piloted in various schools in Uganda including Lwamata Seed School in Kiboga, Kasaka Secondary school in Gomba, St. Paul Kyanukuzi in Kyotera and Nakasoga SS in Rakai.

Each of the project schools was provided with:

  • 1 smart TV Screen   
  • 1 UPS – Power back up
  • 1 TV box (pre-loaded with WPS operating system and PhET simulations app )
  • USB –Flash
  • TV clap and cables

At the end of the pilot project, it was discovered that using a smart TV and simulations can improve science teaching and learning, teaching with the aid of a smart TV and simulations led to active classes and the innovation of a smart TV and simulations improved scores in the selected science subjects.

Prof. Anthony Mawagga Mugagga officially opened the workshop.
Prof. Anthony Mawagga Mugagga officially opened the workshop.

During the dissemination workshop, which was opened by the Principal of the College of Education and External Studies, Prof. Anthony Mawagga Mugagga, challenged the researchers to think about how to integrate ICT in the teaching of arts subject. He, however, warned about engaging in these new modes of teaching such as online teaching without proper planning. He called on the government to embrace these new innovations as they could go a long way in improving the learning and teaching of students.  

Prof. Eddy Walakira, who represented the head of RIF, congratulated the team upon the successful completion of the research project, saying the research is outstanding and timely. He said, there is a high school dropout rate because many students feel they have not learnt anything, however this mode of teaching not only helps sustain interest of the learners but will ensure they learn something. He urged that the study should be scaled up to national level.

The representative form the Ministry of Education and Sports, Mr Webike Dauda asked Dr. Sentongo and his team to engage the MoES in an effort to see how to scale up the project to other resource constrained schools across the country. He also challenged the university to offer more training of teachers in ICT.

  • How to use simulations on a smart TV screen
  • Connect the TV to the power source through a UPS (Power back-up).
  • Connect the TV box to the smart TV using an HDMI cable
  • Connect the mouse to the TV box
  • Insert the USB with prepared teaching materials (PowerPoint notes, videos etc.)
  • Select the relevant instructional materials for the planned lesson

Project team

  • Dr. John Sentongo
  • Prof. Henry Busulwa
  • Prof. Kibirige Israel
  • Dr. Allen Nalugwa
  • Dr. Robert Lugolole
  • Mr. Mukiibi Ben Stuart
  • Mr. Abubaker Muzira

The dissemination was attended by officials from NCHE, Ministry of Education and Sports, teachers and students of secondary schools, CEES staff and RIF officials.

Education

Memorial Lecture: Nsumba-Lyazi’s unforgettable Legacy

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Mr. George Mutekanga (4th L) is joined by the Principal CAES-Prof. Anthony Muwagga Mugagga (C), Hajjat Zaujja Ndifuna (5th R) and other officials for a group photo at the First Robinson Nsumba-Lyazi Memorial Lecture on 25th January 2023, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium, Makerere Univeristy.

He was a great educator, a loving father, very calm despite his level of education, a good listener, a smart guy, punctual, disciplined, religious, social, trustworthy, dependable, cooperative and a great mentor were some of the words used to describe the Late Robinson Nsumba-Lyazi.

Speaker after speaker poured praises on the fallen Robinson Nsumba-Lyazi, a great educationist, to whom many owe their success.

This was during the maiden Memorial Public Lecture in his honour, held on Wednesday 25th January 2023 at the Makerere University Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility.

Nsumba-Lyazi is said to have died a contented man in 2022 after 40-years of service to the education sector.

Hajjat Zaujja Ndifuna, Director of Mbogo Schools during her keynote address.
Hajjat Zaujja Ndifuna, Director of Mbogo Schools during her keynote address.

“It takes a lot to raise men and women who are admired and we can stand up and speak about them. If you evaluate yourself, will you have people to celebrate and speak about you when we are gone?” asked Hajjat Zaujja Ndifuna, the Director of Mbogo Schools during her keynote address.

Speaking about Nsumba-Lyazi, Hajjat Zaujja said he always emphasized to people that ‘Our beginnings do not define our future’. Having been born to peasant parents in Mityana, Nsumba-Lyazi rose to the rank of Director Basic and Secondary education. Before serving in that capacity, he served as the Commissioner Private Schools and Institutions, Assistant Commissioner Comprehensive Education, Chairperson Church of Uganda Schools in Uganda, Head teacher Mityana SS and Head of Laity Mityana Diocese.

The public lecture was attended by different dignitaries including; his family members, officials from the Ministry of Education and Sports, Makerere University, different secondary schools among others.

In his speech read to the congregation by Prof. Anthony Muwagga Mugagga, the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University  Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe praised Lyazi as a great Educationist.

“Robinson Nsumba-Lyazi attended Makerere during a period of great political upheaval. Academic and Administrative staff had fled into exile and only a handful remained holding fort; doing their best to ensure that Makerere continued producing graduates despite economic hardships that characterized the period,” he said adding,

“Specifically, the University’s plan 1980-1986 outlined efforts to reintroduce correspondence courses or distance education courses, which included External Degrees. Distance education courses are particularly designed to take the University to the people. This was Makerere’s way of recognizing the challenges at hand and in response, extending the principles and quality of University education to the greater majority of people who are unable to attend full-time courses due to work, financial and other obligations,”

Mr. George Mutekanga and some of the Ministry of Education and Sports officials give a speech.
Mr. George Mutekanga and some of the Ministry of Education and Sports officials give a speech.

This strategic move by the University, he said, could have inspired Robinson Nsumba-Lyazi to pursue a postgraduate diploma in Education immediately after completing his Bachelor of Science to enable him teach Physics and Double Math at Secondary school level.

“Looking back, I think Nsumba-Lyazi was not going to wait for the people to come to the University. He wanted to inspire them even before they embarked on their respective Higher Education journies,” the Vice Chancellor said.

“As one who had witnessed firsthand what his parents’ entrepreneurial skills had helped the family achieve, Robinson Nsumba-Lyazi’s exposure to higher education and science subjects in particular made him an even stronger advocate for the value that education adds to our God-given talents. Education unlocks one’s potential and in so doing, opens many more doors for that talent to shine even brighter”.

It is against this background that Robinson Nsumba-Lyazi was a strong advocate for the competence-based curriculum, and worked hard to ensure that its implementation gains traction before his retirement.

“It is very important that our young men and women graduate with skills and competencies that empower them to make meaningful contributions to society,” he added.

Despite being born to peasant parents, Nsumba-Lyazi according to Speakers broke the chains and became a great person who worked tirelessly to promote private schools not only in Mityana but Uganda as a whole.

“He was passionate about teaching right from his early days, after S.6 he was invited in Mityana to teach fellow students which he took on. He rose through the ranks of a teacher to lead and education institution and finally to the Ministry of Education,” Hajjat Zaujja noted adding,

The children of the Late Robinson Nsumba-Lyazi share about their father.
The children of the Late Robinson Nsumba-Lyazi share about their father.

“His family members described him as a great husband, father, relative who worked towards instilling humility, discipline, respect in everyone that knew him.”

Dr. John Chrysostom Muyingo the State Minister of High Education in a speech read for him by Mr. George Mutekanga, Commissioner of Private Education Institutions, asked the audience to emulate the works of the late Nsumba-Lyazi whom he said gave his best to humanity.

Nsumba-Lyazi, Dr. Muyingo said, walked away from the Ministry with satisfaction that he had done his part.

“We liked the way he did his work, there a number of lessons: our beginnings should not define our destiny,” he said

Nsumba-Lyazi’s services, the Minister noted, were always with a smile that lit up the room.

He is credited for having developed education standards in Mityana and also started the association of Private Academic institutions in an effort to ensure that the schools had a voice and could participate in the decision making at the Ministry of Education and Sports.

Nsumba-Lyazi is said to have loved a quote by Martin Luther King, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” He is said to have been moving until his death in 2022.

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Education

Scholarships for the MSc in Digital Education

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PhD Students attend a training course in Scholarly writing and Communication Skills in the Main Library, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda on 19th August 2019.

The role that digital education plays and might continue to play in providing access to higher education throughout sub-Saharan Africa is both promising and perilous. No single approach to digital education will effectively scale in the manner intended and will potentially exacerbate the marginalization that these groups experience. What does scale, however, are the multiplier effects of education itself.

Active academics from Makerere University, Bugema University, Gulu University, Uganda Martyr’s University (Nkozi), Kyambogo University, and Nkumba University will study on the MSc in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh, and further that education in dedicated cohorts designed to translate their critical experiences on the programme into tangible policy, strategy, and practice instruments for their institutions.

Potential candidates need not have any technological skills or background. Rather, they should be interested in the role that digital technologies might play in Ugandan higher education, particularly for marginalised groups such as women, displaced populations, and those with disabilities.

When does it start?

The programme will start in September 2023. We are accepting applications for this programme currently.

Contact Information

The Institute of Open, Distance and E-Learning (IODeL) will be the support centre for Makerere University staff enrolled on the programme.

See below for the full advert.

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Education

CEES hosts 21 students from University of Agder, Norway

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The Principal CEES-Prof. Anthony Muwagga Mugagga (Centre grey suit), Coordinator of the Student Exchange Program-Mr. Joseph Watuleke (Right), Staff and Students from CEES and the University of Agder, Norway pose for a group photo on 9th January 2023 at Makerere University.

Students in the country for a one-month field course

The Department of Adult and Continuing Education is hosting about 21 students from University of Agder, Norway, on a student exchange program. The students, most of them first year students of Development studies will be in Uganda for one-month undertaking field studies in different parts of the country.

As part of their training, the students will live in Luweero with host families for a duration of one week. The students will be expected to learn from the communities and also share ideas on how to develop the different homesteads.

The students will then move to Mbale where they will live and study for another one-week. They will be working with different non-profit organizations in the area.

Students from CEES and the University of Agder receive a briefing during a visit to Jangu International.
Students from CEES and the University of Agder receive a briefing during a visit to Jangu International.

Speaking during the debrief of the students, on January 9, 2023, the Principal Prof. Anthony Muwagga Mugagga welcomed them to Uganda and asked them to ensure they enjoy their stay in Uganda. He however, cautioned them about ensuring their own safely.

He informed the students that Uganda was a beautiful country with sociable people. Prof. Mugagga encouraged the students to learn the Ugandan culture which will help ease the process of working with the communities in the different parts of the country.

He cautioned them about the cultural differences they may experience but reminded them that it is normal for things to be different because of the different cultures and upbringing the host communities have. “Have an open mind so that you can learn and above all, have fun,” Prof. Mugagga said.

Students pose for a group photo during the visit to Jangu International.
Students pose for a group photo during the visit to Jangu International.

The Head of Department, Dr. Sanya Rahman, welcomed the students to Uganda and encouraged them to have an open mind so that they can learn and also unlearn certain things they know about Africa. He shared with the students the courses taught at the department and the opportunities available for exchange students.

The students had an opportunity to learn about the culture and norms of Ugandans. Dr. Constance Mudondo shared with the students about Uganda. She informed them that we have over 50 languages spoken by different groups of people. She informed them that greeting is an important aspect of our culture that they must learn to observe. She cautioned them about dress code, saying they must be decent at all times, especially in the rural communities where they will be spending most of their stay in Uganda. Dr. Mudondo informed the students that prayer is an important part of our lives and should be respected. “If the family you are living with sits down to pray, please join them as a sign of respect for their values and beliefs,” she said. She cautioned them against smoking in public and ensuring their safety and that of their property.

Students transplant seedlings during their visit.
Students transplant seedlings during their visit.

According to Mr. Joseph Watuleke, the coordinator of the student exchange program this is the sixth field study that students from the University of Agder are undertaking.

The students on January 11, 2023 visited Jangu International, in Mpigi District. Jangu International is an NGO that offers an innovative place where marginalized youth and refugees are empowered to create a future for this and upcoming generations.

Jangu International tackles the failing education of vulnerable groups by providing a “freesponsible” learning space with interactive workshops on personal development and social entrepreneurship.

Students learn the technique of building houses using discarded plastic bottles.
Students learn the technique of building houses using discarded plastic bottles.

The students of the University of Agder described the visit as empowering, interesting and a learning experience for all of them. The students found a group of teenagers that was building houses with bottles, which they said was innovative and a good way to conserve the environment. 

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