The Distance Education and Teacher Training in Africa (DETA) Conference opened yesterday July 24, 2023 at Makerere University with a call to embrace distance and e-learnings and address the challenges associated with emerging Information and Communication Technologies. The 4-day conference will run until July 27, 2023.
Under the theme “A Paradigm Shift towards innovative, resilient and transformative teacher education” the conference is being attended by over 150 distance education scholars from across the globe.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, the Acting Vice Chancellor, Prof. Umar Kakumba said while it is important to revolutionize Distance Education, it is also important to address the issue of curriculum for it needs to be designed to address emerging issues in the environment. The curriculum he advised must address quality and inclusivity. Prof. Kakumba reminded the delegates that digital technologies have got deficits which out to be addressed.
The Acting Vice Chancellor said it was important for teachers to get the best training, arguing that the quality of a nation is dependent on its human capital.
He thanked the Institute of Distance and e-learning (IoDEL), led by Prof. Paul Muyinda Birevu, which is spear heading the mainstreaming of ODEL in all academic programs at Makerere University. Pointing to the Covid-19 outbreak which forced institutions of higher education into online learning, Prof. Kakumba said this was a learning point which left an indelible mark on all institutions.
The conference is organized by IoDEL in collaboration with the University of Pretoria and Busitema University. Speaking on behalf of the organizing committee of Makerere University, Prof. Muyinda thanked all the participants for making the time to travel to Kampala as well as submit papers for the conference. He thanked Dr. Harriet Najjemba, the chair of the Makerere Organizing committee for her commitment to the event.
Prof. Muyinda shared with participants the birth of Distance education in 1991, saying however, that it only became popular during the Covid-19 lockdown. “It has proved to be a sustainable mode of teaching and learning which will propel our countries to the attainment of SDG4,” he said.
SDG4 aims to Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. He called for synergies to help advance distance education.
The Vice chancellor of Busitema University Dr. Paul Waako cautioned on the quality of education offered in the course of distance education delivery. How do we harness the affordances given by the existing digital technologies such as AI?
He called for the consolidation of the achievements made during the pandemic because the pandemic showed the world the importance of distance education.
Food for thought
Prof. Anthony Muwagga Mugagga also challenged the participants to critically discuss the issue of AI especially with the emergency of robotics, which human qualities.
“Can technology replace a good teacher? How can we interest the young generation into taking up distance education? Can we train people with special needs and animals using distance education? “he questioned.
He made a plea for the different universities attending the conference to share online resources such as libraries and journals such that they can share the knowledge they have.
Prof. Mathias Mulumba, the Dean of Education, who chaired the Pan African Deans Forum said the deans had formed a committee to discuss the quality of teacher education in Africa.
Teacher education defines the quality of education in any country and ultimately dictates the speed at which social and economic transformation takes place.
The knowledge, skills and values teachers receive and develop during training has far reaching implications on the teaching and learning process in the class room and the resultant competences acquired by the learners.
The conference it is hoped will help teacher trainers harness all opportunities in preparation of teachers. Distance education he said has enabled people get an education that they previously would not have got because of access. This has been facilitated by the affordances of Technology.
Prof. Sehoole Chika, the Dean Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria shared with the audience what the discussions of the 4 days will centre on.
He said the conversation will be around learner support in Distance Teacher Education as learner support plays an important role in the success of students in both contact and online delivery modes. “It ensures that the customer-satisfaction dimension of quality in the online learning delivery is clearly explored and well implemented,” he said. Day 2 of the conference say researchers discuss and present papers on Curriculum development to fit modern learning, integrated learner support services such as Learner intake support, Information support, Academic advising, Technological support, Health and wellness as well as learner engagement.
Over 600 awarded UBTEB certificates
Over 600 students of Makerere University Centre for Lifelong Learning and Makerere University Jinja Campus have graduated with diplomas and Certificates from the Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board (UBTEB).
Speaking during the graduation ceremony on Feb 3, 2024, at Makerere University Yusuf Lule Auditorium, Prof. Anthony Muwagga Mugagga, the Principal of the College of Education and External Studies, where the Centre for Lifelong Learning is housed, said the college seeks to address all education levels including tertiary Education, thus the formation of CLL, which caters for those people who may not have been able to join mainstream university education.
Prof. Mugagga said the university is trying to reduce school dropouts by offering UBTEB courses, respond to the government’s call for science education in Uganda and also address the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG4) which calls for education for all.
“This academic achievement has launched your real beginning in higher education academics and career growth. For those who had challenges with Advanced Level as a prerequisite for University or academic progression, the diploma comes handy and will enable you to now register for your desired degree course,” Prof. Mugagga said.
He cautioned the graduands against reckless behavior which could lead to sickness and early death. “Be very cautious and protective of your lives. You have one life; therefore, you cannot afford to waste it. Hold your life very preciously and jealously.”
Mr. Geoffrey Kawanguzi, the Deputy Executive Secretary, admonished educational institutions against illegally awarding qualifications to students.
Mr. Kawanguzi, said many institutions are hoodwinking students and awarding them certificates and diplomas which are not recognized by the government.
Mr. Kawanguzi urged parents to be cautious while selecting higher institutions and to check that the institution qualifies to provide national exams.
“Before you pay school fees to an institution where you want to take your child, first ask whether that institution offers national exams. Certificates offered by illegal Institutions end in that school, you cannot take them anywhere,” Mr. Kawanguzi said as he conferred 613 students from the university’s main campus and Jinja campus with national certificates and diplomas in technical and business education.
Students received National diplomas in Mechanical Engineering, Architecture, Planning and Management, Business Administration and Management, Civil Engineering, Procurement, Electrical Engineering and Logistics, among others.
Mr. Kawanguzi said it is only UBTEB national exams that are recognized by the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) and the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC).
He encouraged graduands to make good use of the knowledge they have acquired from their respective disciplines to develop their communities and create job opportunities for their communities.
“The world has a lot of opportunities for each of us to explore according to our talents and gifts. Let’s put to good use our knowledge and skills to fulfill the use and continue to pursue the journey of acquiring more knowledge to better our areas for professional growth and development.”
The Deputy Director of the Graduate School, Dr. Wamala Robert, who represented the Vice Chancellor urged graduands to apply the skills and knowledge they have gained to face the world and solve its challenges.
“The world you have entered is dynamic and ever challenging. Use the education and the experience you have gained here to navigate the complexities of the global landscape,” he said.
He added: “As you step into this new chapter of your lives, I urge you to continue embracing curiosity, pursuing knowledge for excellence. Be bold in your ambitions, compassionate in your endeavors, and always mindful of the impacts you can have on the world around you. Remember that the values instilled in you during your time at Makerere will serve as a compass guiding you through the diverse path that lies ahead of you.”
Prince Immanuel Oluka, a graduand of a diploma in Civil Engineering, said he doesn’t regret taking up the course because he has acquired the necessary skills to go out and address world challenges.
“We have been doing real life projects which are hands-on, even now there is a site we are working on. We are confident we can go for government contracts of constructing buildings and roads,” Oluka said.
Risper Atwine Twinomugisa, a graduand of a national diploma in Architecture, said she has specialized in drafting and drawing plans for houses and her future is bright with the skills at hand.
CEES graduates 1,000 students as best researchers are awarded
The College of Education and External Studies has today January 30, 2024, the 2nd day of the 74th graduation ceremony, graduated 1,019 students. At the same function, five of the college’s senior researchers received the Vice Chancellor’s Research Excellence Award 2023.
The researchers, Prof. Paul Muyinda Birevu, Dr. Sekatawa Kenneth, Assoc. Prof. Jude Ssempebwa, Dr. Nambi Rebecca and Dr. Bateganya Lukoyaa Najib, were recognized for having the highest number of publications, in the last 5 years, in the college.
This year’s graduation saw 7 people graduate with PhDs, 51 with Masters, 81 with Post graduate diplomas and 880 with undergraduate degrees from the College of Education and External Studies. Of these 618 are female while 401 are male representing 60.6% and 39.4% respectively.
During the course of the 74th graduation ceremony, a total of 12,913 graduands will receive degrees and diplomas of Makerere University. Of these, a total of 132 graduands will graduate with PhDs, 1585 with Masters degrees, 11,016 with Bachelor’s degrees, 156 with postgraduate diplomas, and 24 with undergraduate diplomas.
53% of the graduands are female and 47% are male. In the category of PhD graduands, 46 are female and 86 are male. In the category of students graduating with Master’s degrees, 699 are female and 886 are male.
While addressing the graduands, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, said the university’s goal is to graduate at least 200 PhDs per year in response to the World Bank’s call for at least 100,000 PhDs for Africa over the next 10 years, to pull the continent out of poverty.
He also congratulated the college upon the various milestones achieved in the last one year. He appreciated the Institute of Open, Distance and e-Learning (IODeL) which has continued to provide backstopping support services to all Colleges in the University for transforming the classroom-based course content into well-instructionally designed online course content for blended teaching and learning.
“In the last year, with support from the Government of Uganda, and development partners such as Mastercard Foundation, Norad, DIKU and among others, the College of Education and External Studies has supported and mentored lecturers in developing 1,300 quality and inclusive online learning courses across all colleges. By June 2024, more than 3000 courses will have been transformed. The University has acquired five (5) multimedia studios to aid in the production of multimedia content for pedagogy,” Prof. Nawangwe said.
Makerere University Transcripts and Certificates
In the past two years, Makerere University has come up with measures aimed at making the issuance of academic transcripts and certificates very fast and convenient by shortening the clearance process. In November 2022 the university organized the Public Fair on Transcripts and Certificates during which more than 4,650 certificates and 4,113 transcripts were issued. This year, with the support of the University Council and Senate, the Department of the Academic Registrar, the Directorate of ICT Support Services, and the leadership at the Colleges, the academic transcripts for students graduating during the 74th graduation ceremony were printed before graduation. “The academic transcripts are ready and they are due for issuance to graduands who have satisfied the academic and financial obligations I therefore urge all our graduands to pick their transcripts from their respective colleges,” the VC said.
The Vice Chancellor congratulated all graduands and called on them to Cherish the knowledge and experiences they have received, but remember that learning never ends.
Call For Applications: 8 Masters Scholarships under CABUTE Project
Makerere University, Kyambogo University, Uganda National Institute for Teacher Education (UNITE), University of Bergen and Western Norway University of Applied Sciences are implementing a project titled, Capacity Building for Research Based Teacher Education (CABUTE).
In 2024/2025 Academic Year, eight (8) masters scholarships will be competitively awarded to qualifying Ugandans as one of the activities.
For the detailed advert and application process, please visit the URL below.
Please note that the scholarships are tenable at Makerere University and Kyambogo University but will include a 3 weeks stay at the University of Bergen during the course of study.
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