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Graduate Freshers Called to Create Knowledge and Impact Society

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Makerere University Graduate freshers for the academic year 2023/2024 have been described as the architects of knowledge production, the pioneers of innovation, and the catalysts of progress.

The  Director, Directorate of Graduate Research and Training (DGRT) Prof. Edward Bbaale gave the aforementioned description while delivering his welcome message during the Graduate Freshers induction held on 6th September 2023 in the Yusuf Lule Auditorium. The meeting attracted over 700 students physically and another over 380 participants online.

The orientation organized by the DGRT  under the theme, “In Pursuit of a prosperous Future: Positioning Makerere Graduate Students to lead societal transformation” was attended and addressed by university officials from the Senate, Department of Academic Registrar, Directorate for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Support-DICTS, Colleges, Counselling and Guidance Centre, and the Institute of Open, Distance and E-learning (IoDEL), who all reiterated the call to generate knowledge for societal transformation.

Prof. Edward Bbaale – Director, Directorate of Graduate Research and Training

Welcoming the students to Makerere, Professor Bbaale  said, the university  has set its sights on a bold vision: to become a research-led and innovation-driven university, with graduate training at the very core.

“We hold in high regard the role of graduate students as the architects of knowledge production, the pioneers of innovation, and the catalysts of progress. It is your passion, your dedication, and your thirst for discovery that will shape the future of our university and contribute to the betterment of society as a whole,” the Director asserted.

With the University having celebrated a century of existence and outstanding service to humanity, Bbaale expressed optimism for boundless opportunities that lay ahead of the students.

Makerere University stands as a light of academic excellence, not only within our region but also on the global stage. You, our newly admitted graduate students, should feel a profound sense of pride to be joining an institution of Makerere‘s caliber. Your admission reflects not only your own remarkable accomplishments but also the enduring reputation of this venerable institution”, he stated.

Prof. Bbaale expressed the University’s commitment and readiness to support and  provide students with the tools and resources required to transform challenges into opportunities adding that, the  University believes in nurturing critical thinkers and problem solvers.

“Within our hallowed halls, you will find an assembly of expert faculty members, distinguished in a multitude of fields, eager to guide and mentor you in your academic journey. Their guidance will be an invaluable compass, steering you towards academic excellence and groundbreaking research”, the Director added.

Dr. William Tayebwa – Head of Mak Press was the Moderator for the day’s engagement.

In addition to being a firm advocate of interdisciplinary education and research, and recognizing that some of the most transformative discoveries emerge at the crossroads of disciplines, Bbaale stated that Makerere University embraces collaborations, internationalization, mutually beneficial partnerships, and a global perspective.

Further, Bbaale affirmed that the university’s state-of-the-art facilities, including well-equipped laboratories will serve as the crucibles of their intellectual exploration and experimentation.

“But our commitment extends beyond the classroom. Makerere University offers a rich array of academic programs and extra-curricular offerings that promise to enrich your experience and nurture holistic development. Our campus is a tapestry woven with the dedication of our committed academic and support staff, individuals who will make your time at Makerere University unforgettable.

“To you, our new graduate students, I offer this advice: seize every opportunity, embrace every challenge, and tap into the professional assistance and support that our university provides. Your journey will undoubtedly be marked by achievements, discoveries, and contributions that will leave an indelible mark on our institution and the world at large” the Director encouraged.

Prof. Bbaale concluded by remarking that the graduate students’ journey of incredible achievements had just began, and expressed hope to witness the remarkable impact students will make at Makerere – a University, where their seeds of success had found fertile ground.

University Commits Next 10 years to be a Decade of Graduate Students in transforming society

Delivering remarks on policies and guidelines governing graduate training, the Deputy Director in charge of Administration and Graduate Training Assoc. Prof. Julius Kikooma expressed the commitment of the university towards supporting graduate students.

Assoc. Prof. Julius Kikooma- The Deputy Director in charge of Administration and Graduate Training Mak DRGT

Assoc. Prof. Kikooma described DGRT as prefects in this question of graduate training, adding that the Directorate coordinates the implementation of the guidelines, the policies and the regulations needed to be followed through the programs by the students as well as the academic staff and the units.

Congratulating students upon their successful admission to Makerere, Prof. Kikooma told students that they have come at a time when the university has fully and totally committed to improving graduate training.

The 2023 Graduate students according to Kikooma come at a time when the university has just completed its centennial celebrations, and is reflecting on how its teaching, research, and knowledge transfer partnerships are impacting communities.

 “One of the core issues that the university has committed to is making this a decade of graduate students, meaning that you are going to be at the center of focus of what we do in terms of teaching, research, and engaging with the wider public and immediate communities. And, we the academic staff have to work together with you, the students, in that commitment”, Kikooma stated.

He said that the theme for the induction was deliberately considered not just as an orientation to teach students to go around the campus but as an occasion meant to ensure that students and the entire university management are on the same page as a partners in the transformative journey.

Kikooma emphasised that the DGRT was inducting students into what it means to be part of transforming society, but with teachers charged with a responsibility of passing on knowledge, skills and wisdom to graduates who must undertake a bigger responsibility.

Graduate Freshers follow proceedings at Yusuf Lule Auditorium

“We are saying that, we need you to appreciate that the university has committed the next 10 years, to produce a certain type of graduate student that is sensitive and is alive to what is needed to change this society.

We’ve done a lot in the last 100 years as an institution to produce people that have done what they could to take Uganda to where it is now, but, the next seed of students must be sensitive and be able to appreciate that it’s not enough for us to focus on coming here for knowledge. 

It is about understanding the problems and how you can use and translate the knowledge that you are getting here into solutions for the immediate society and the immediate community that we actually live in. Uganda is still not as resourced as others in terms of wealth, and as such, we are the only hope of the society and communities where we come from,” Kikooma advised.

Three essential documents for students to guide and keep track in their academic journey

Kikoma outlined three important documents that graduate students need to pay attention to in order to move seamlessly through their academic journey.

These include the Makerere University Student Guild Statutes, which has guidelines and policies that address student support issues and how graduate students can be part of the student governance in the university. Section seven, outlines eleven organs of the student guild and other organs on postgraduate student union, as channels through which graduate students  will be part of discussions that engage policy areas, at the Senate, Council and College levels.

The second document is the Makerere University Student Guild Constitution. The Student Guild Constitution contains the Guild Student Provisions and the Postgraduate Student Union requiring that graduate students become integrated and feel part and parcel of the student guild activities as part of the student voice of Makerere University.

And lastly, the Graduate Student Handbook (2013), currently under review, that will help students to keep on track of policies and regulations on: student registration, study plans, cross cutting courses, examination regulations and general regulations. Other sections of the handbook cover teaching and learning, examination malpractices and how to appeal, including ethical issues, conflict of interest when given a supervisor, and graduation guidelines.

As prefects, Kikooma pledged to work with students through the structure that exists so that they spend only that time that they are contracted to be here at Makerere University.

The Principal Registrar DRGT, Ms. Prossie Nakayiki reemphasized that registration is key and urged students to take careful note of their application credentials, and visit the admission office in case of any enquiries.

Nakayiki advised students to visit the respective school registrars with original transcripts for verification and registration, adding that the subsequent registration for continuing students will be done online.

Ms. Prossie Nakayiki - Principal Registrar in the DRGT
Ms. Prossie Nakayiki – Principal Registrar in the DRGT

“Make sure you create a personal file where you keep all your correspondences. You are not a student unless you are registered. Registration is done within the first six weeks of the semester”, she said.

Nakayiki guided students on matters of deferment, withdrawal from the program, refund of tuition fees and general challenges faced by graduate students as well as sexual harassment as a real vice.

The 21st Century skills for Students to be professional, analytical and change agents of society

Addressing students on , “Positioning Makerere University Graduate students to lead societal transformation and development” Dr. Rhoda Wanyenze, a Professor of medicine, public health, and also Dean School of Public Health expressed the need for students to go beyond technical skills and acquire social, leadership, values and other competencies in order to be relevant and impactful to society.

Prof. Wanyenze noted that although the university provides knowledge and skills, graduate students ought to grow themselves to acquire other competencies beyond the classroom and work towards impacting others.

Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze – Dean School of Public Health

“Because you’ve got the skills, you’ve got the competencies, and you’ve got the vision and purpose to create a difference for others, you always have work, because there are always problems to solve.

“But you can’t give what you don’t have. So you’ve got to grow yourself in terms of knowledge, professionalism because we want you to change the world. There are too many problems in the world. You can make the world easier for others, and when you do, you will never lack work” she advised.

Prof. Wayenze emphasized that no matter their place of work, titles or ranks, so long as they are working with communities, students have to learn to communicate, lead, and do things differently.

“Whether you are representing your classroom, whether you’re in research, in academia, you’re leading research teams, many people get money and they can’t even implement because they don’t know how to lead and manage teams. So we need to grow our leadership capabilities.

“We need to grow our creativity. Think, think different. Do something different. Don’t just take things the way they are because that’s what they’ve always been. You are not going to change the world when you come and continue what everybody has done.

“These days the world is global. You’re going to work with people across different countries, cultures and races.  You’re going to work with younger people and older people. We need to learn to work across the divide. How will you work with the world when you can’t even work across a tribe in your country? You need to learn to work with people that are different from you. Ideas come not from the people that are like you. New ideas come from the people that think different from you, that have a different experience from yours,” the Dean advised.

Prof. Wanyeze underscored the importance of acquiring Social competencies in leading and transforming the world, working with communities and understanding their experience and their knowledge to make them better.

She called on students to be creative and find ways of picking up and exposing themselves to other social competencies required such as advocacy and lobbying, which are key to explaining data or evidence for policy makers, as well as writing and analytical skills, and innovation, which are important in many areas such as managing projects.

Wanyenze implored students to do their best and ensure they finish within the program time, use knowledge and skills acquired to look for opportunities where they can lead, show people a direction, mentor and support one another.

Where there are debates, the Dean advised students to participate, as they help improve one’s skills in communicating and getting their points across. She also advised students on the need to get involved in networks, partnerships and research with their colleges.

 “Life is about identifying what you want and going for it. Don’t be that person that feels like the world is against you all the time because you didn’t get what you wanted. The world doesn’t know what you want. Know what you want and go for it. Be proactive and seek opportunities.

“And people say, they hire you for qualifications, they fire you for those skills we call soft. Embrace technology. This is a world of technology. Grow your networks and learn at least one foreign language” remarked Prof. Wanyenze.

Graduate studies to take the blended learning, or open distance and e-learning as a mode of delivery

Presenting on online learning, Director of the Institute of Open, Distance and E-learning (IoDEL), Prof. Paul Muyinda Birevu decried the fact the graduate student of the 21st Century is faced with challenges of balancing work and meeting family needs while studying and, at the same time, the requirement to participate in different political, social and religious activities as they study.

Sensitising students on the new approach to teaching and learning, Prof. Muyinda said Makerere University set up IoDEL to nurture the growth of blended learning.

Muyinda implored students to acquire the necessary skills and be prepared for the university electronic learning environment and virtual classrooms that will supplement face-to-face teaching.

 “That means that there will be a lot of online learning activities that you’ll be taking, and therefore you will need some skills on how to study online. Many people who study online actually fail to study because they lack the skills of studying online.

Makerere University not only has physical classrooms as you see them here, but also the virtual classrooms, which are hosted on Makerere University Electronic Learning Environment (MUELE),” he said.

Prof. Paul Muyinda Birevu -Director of the Institute of Open, Distance and E-learning

Prof. Muyinda explained that traditional face-to-face delivery mode which is teacher-centered assumes that the instructor as knowledgeable person to pump knowledge into students heads.

He advised that with the changing world and especially at graduate level, the university emphasises approaches to teaching and learning that induce generation of knowledge, even from students to professors as well.

Makerere University has been offering distance education since 1991. We have been having distance education programs, where students stay wherever they are and learn.

“Many of the accountants that you have in Uganda, many of the education professionals, many of these people have trained us through the distance education mode. So we don’t have to disturb them in their workplaces”. He added

Prof. Muyinda shared that distance education has gone through a number of generations from the days when instructor used to send the materials to students to read from wherever they are. With the coming of technology, he affirmed that the university lecturers can send the materials to students and interact with them through technology as was the case during the CoVID-19 lockdown.

“There will be a lot of technology infusion. Your lecturers, because they have had a dose of blended learning and a dose of online learning during CoVID-19, and because there is a lot of campaign by Makerere University to integrate technology-mediated teaching and learning, you’ll find that most of your lecturers are going to be using online learning, where they will work with you on the e-learning management system (MUELE) or using the synchronous system like Zoom”, he explained.

Prof. Muyinda told students that the lecturers are developing online materials and hence the need for them to be able to quickly enroll themselves and get to the Learning Management System, saying all units have support champions to assist them gain access to online resources.

To venture into online learning, Prof. Muyinda implored students to acquire ICT skills, be self-driven, ready to share work with others, interact in small groups, and have good communication skills.

“You need to be self-directed at graduate level because no one is going to be forcing you to do anything, the reasons why some students fail to complete in time. We need self-directed learners, learners who can manage their own time. And online learning requires such learners. If you are not self-directed, online learning will be very difficult for you to complete. So you must be self-motivated” He cautioned.

Apart from minimizing costs, Prof. Muyinda highlighted a number of benefits accruing from  online learning including enabling student-centered teaching and learning, co-creation of  knowledge, and availability of course materials at no cost (e.g. photocopying) at any time.

Presenting on ACMIS and benefits of ICT to a graduate student, the End User Support Administrator DICTS, Mr. Yunus Musisi advised students to get Makerere University email addresses as gate passes to access systems. He cautioned students to be careful with sharing their personal information online because it can be accessed by cyber-criminals.

Mr. Yunus Musisi -End User Support Administrator at the Directorate of ICT Support

Mental health key to successful Graduate studies

Presenting on services available at the Counselling and Guidance Centre, the Director of Counseling and Guidance, Dr. Henry Nsubuga said the university established the unit to take care of psychological and emotional issues affecting staff and students.

“You can’t be physically healthy if you are not psychologically or mentally healthy. Actually, mental health takes precedence.” Dr. Nsubuga said.

Dr. Nsubuga highlighted; a wounded past, those coming from countries affected by war and have been traumatized, and a host of other factors as causes that would require students to seek counseling services.

Additionally, he advised that students who could have had a difficult childhood might need  support on grounds that some of the suffering adults currently face results from unresolved childhood issues. This, he added, affects their self-confidence and esteem levels.

Dr. Henry Nsubuga – Director of Counseling and Guidance

“It is very important that we receive services to deal with some of the issues that could be coming from the past because we are growth oriented. As human beings, we want to improve every other day. It doesn’t matter whether you are a professor or student, at some point you may be lagging in something”, He counselled.

Nsubuga justified the need for a supportive system on the basis that no human is immune from problems and emergencies that could arise from relationships, family, losing a job rigorous graduate training, lack of resources, or even loss of a dear one.

The Library, An essential resource to a graduate student

The University Librarian, Assoc. Prof. Ruth Nalumaga introduced students to library services, and sections notably; the Africana section, special collection and archives section the legal repository, and the research commons for graduate students.

Dr. Nalumaga introduced the ICT training lab, document delivery services and databases that can be ordered or downloaded among services offered.

She added that the library conducts e-resources training to help students understand how to get the best and relevant data. In addition, the library, she said, trains students how to reference their work properly using accepted formats including information on ethics and problems arising like respect for intellectual property rights.

“You must attribute the source of your information so as not to fall in the trap of plagiarism. Avoid unauthorized access to databases and do not violate, misuse or share passwords. Photocopying a whole document is a violation of copyright because the maximum allowed is three chapters”, the Librarian cautioned.

Assoc. Prof. Ruth Nalumaga – University Librarian

The Graduate journey is interesting with highs and lows says, Graduate student

Speaking on the journey of postgraduate studies at Makerere University, the Chairperson Graduate Students Union Douglas Bulafu congratulated students upon their successful admission to Makerere University. He described the journey as worthwhile.

“The journey as a student at Makerere University is worth it and full of highs and lows.  The journey is very interesting, but also lonely sometimes, for example for the PhD student, you reach an extent and you feel you’re in your own world.

“But with the support system that has been spoken about, I believe you will make it as a postgraduate student. Masters students are always close to each other. I really know that. So yours is not as much as lonely a journey as the PhD students’.

Mr. Douglas Bulafu – Chairperson Graduate Students Union

“The journey at Makerere University is all about self-drive. No one is going to push you to go to class. No one is going to tell you to do coursework. No one is going to tell you to go and sit for an examination. But it is up to you as a student. To know that it is your responsibility to attend class and do coursework” Bulafu said.

He pointed out some of the challenges faced by graduate students including financial challenges and how to strike a balance between work, studies and family.

He informed students of the university leadership structures that take on graduate students, from DRGT, the Dean of Students, Colleges, Schools and Departments, and at the classroom level with class coordinators.

The roles of the Union, Bulafu said, include linking students to the administration, representing students on a College Academic Boards and at the Guild level, urging them not to leave student leadership to only undergraduates.

The Union, he said, also collaborates with other entities in the University such as the Counseling and Guidance Center, Makerere Innovation Hub and organizes graduate student assemblies.

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Prof. Sachs Expresses Optimism about Africa’s Economic Growth, PDMs Success

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Prof. Jeffrey Sachs (Right) delivers his keynote address at the High-Level Policy Dialogue as Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (Left) listens on 28th February 2024. High-Level Policy Dialogue organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), National Planning Authority and Makerere University on the theme “Accelerating the Sustainable Development Goals through leveraging Innovating Financing, the Parish Development Model, and Science and Technology”, Keynote address by Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, 28th February 2024, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

The Government of Uganda has been called upon to put in place measures to ensure the effective implementation of the Parish Development Model (PDM) programme. The call was made at a High-Level Policy Dialogue organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), National Planning Authority and Makerere University.

Hosted by Makerere University on Wednesday 28th February 2024 at the Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium, the Dialogue was based on the theme “Accelerating the Sustainable Development Goals through leveraging Innovating Financing, the Parish Development Model, and Science and Technology”. During the dialogue, the government was urged to set up institutions that can track the usage of the program funds to ensure that the over Shs1 Trillion pumped into the program annually does not go to waste.

This call was made by Prof Ezra Suruma, the Chancellor Emeritus of Makerere University and Uganda’s former Minister of Finance, who was a panelist at the dialogue. Hon Suruma warned that currently, it is difficult to assess the achievements of PDM since there is no clear monitoring of the projects at the parish level where the money is being invested.

Right to Left: WHO Representative to Uganda-Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, Chancellor Emeritus-Prof. Ezra Suruma and UNDP Resident Representative-H.E. Nwanneakolam Vwede-Obahor chat ahead of the High-Level Policy Dialogue. High-Level Policy Dialogue organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), National Planning Authority and Makerere University on the theme “Accelerating the Sustainable Development Goals through leveraging Innovating Financing, the Parish Development Model, and Science and Technology”, Keynote address by Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, 28th February 2024, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Right to Left: WHO Representative to Uganda-Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, Chancellor Emeritus-Prof. Ezra Suruma and UNDP Resident Representative-H.E. Nwanneakolam Vwede-Obahor chat ahead of the High-Level Policy Dialogue.

“In Uganda, we are investing Shs 1 Trillion in the 10,594 parishes, but if you ask where it is going, you can’t find it. The PDM money is capital that the government is attempting to invest in our country and that capital is supposed to accumulate over time. If we invest Shs1 Trillion this year, next year we should have more than that,” Prof. Suruma said.

The Chancellor Emeritus as such, called for the establishment of an institution that can trace where the PDM funds are being invested so that this money is treated as an investment and not consumption.

Minister for Local Government Hon Raphael Magyezi however, assured Prof Suruma and the audience that implementation of the PDM program is highly monitored and leakages are extremely minimal. This, he said, was because the government decided to digitalize payments of the PDM money directly from the Treasury to the parish-based SACCOs. Furthermore, he noted that Government has put in place the PDM Management Information System (MIS) in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) emphasis on data for development.

The dignitaries during a courtesy call on the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe at his office. Level 4, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The dignitaries during a courtesy call on the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe at his office.

“We have developed our own Management Information System so that we know which household is actually in subsistence, and we have parameters for that, and we are able to monitor and evaluate our programme based on a tracker system” Hon. Magyezi explained.

The Minister further noted that PDM targets 8.9 million households in Uganda, 39% (3.4 million) of which are still engaged in subsistence, with 1 million of these reached so far. He admitted although the PDM still has its work cut out, the Government is proud of the progress so far. Hon. Magyezi shared that Uganda has 145 establishments at the level of Local Council 5 consisting of 135 Districts and 10 Cities, 2,284 Sub-Counties to supervise the parishes and under the parishes, 70,626 villages.

The Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja who was Chief Guest at the lecture shared that PDM is the Government of Uganda’s second key strategy for accelerating the SDGs and commended the Model as a “comprehensive strategy to uplift the incomes and welfare of all Ugandans.” The first key strategy is Leveraging Innovative Financing Mechanisms, while the third is putting more focus on Science, Technology and Innovation.

Hon. Raphael Magyezi makes his remarks. High-Level Policy Dialogue organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), National Planning Authority and Makerere University on the theme “Accelerating the Sustainable Development Goals through leveraging Innovating Financing, the Parish Development Model, and Science and Technology”, Keynote address by Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, 28th February 2024, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Hon. Raphael Magyezi makes his remarks.

Rt. Hon. Nabbanja highlighted the government’s commitment to harnessing the power of research and innovation to provide a strong foundation to advance the digital agenda. She added that the PDM Laboratory at Makerere gives the University an opportunity to amplify and support efficiency and effectiveness of the programme’s implementation.

“Therefore, the PDM Laboratory should continue to be a platform for 1) Distilling and providing additional insights, 2) Commissioning further research and enquiry on the basis of information provided by the technical units and feedback and 3) Analyse feedback to test out policies and operational issues for Cabinet to take action” remarked the Prime Minister.

She informed the audience that Prof. Jeffrey Sachs is leading similar efforts with a lab at Columbia University and urged the leadership of Makerere University to establish a collaboration with Columbia University, “and I’m sure Prof. Sachs is much willing to support this”.

Left to Right: Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja, Hon. Raphael Magyezi, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, H.E. Nwanneakolam Vwede-Obahor and Prof. Jeffrey Sachs. High-Level Policy Dialogue organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), National Planning Authority and Makerere University on the theme “Accelerating the Sustainable Development Goals through leveraging Innovating Financing, the Parish Development Model, and Science and Technology”, Keynote address by Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, 28th February 2024, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Left to Right: Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja, Hon. Raphael Magyezi, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, H.E. Nwanneakolam Vwede-Obahor and Prof. Jeffrey Sachs.

Professor Jeffrey Sachs, a world-renowned Economist, leader in sustainable development, and senior UN advisor delivered a keynote address in which he expressed optimism about development prospects on the African continent.

The prolific economist and author, projected that Africa would take off and become a global economic force in the next 40 years if it could find ways of uniting into a single economic block.

Citing China and India Prof. Sachs advised the government to set targets and also set instruments to help achieve these targets, if the country is to achieve the SDGs. The simple idea of “targets and instruments” was developed by Nobel Prize Laureate Jan Tinbergen. Tinbergen was awarded the first Nobel Prize in Economics in 1969 together with Ragnar Frisch.

Prof. Sachs defined Sustainable Development as the result of achieving four difficult objectives namely; Material wellbeing for everybody, Social inclusion, Environmental Sustainability, and Peace and Cooperation. He nevertheless shared that these can be achieved by Tinbergen’s “targets and instruments” idea.

He advised Uganda to copy China and invest in six major types of capital namely; Education, Infrastructure, Massive Interconnected Infrastructure, Protecting Natural Capital such as clean energy sources, Intellectual/Science and Technology Capital as well as Business Capital.  On financing, he advised the government to find flexible and low interest financing with 40 year maturity if it is for sectors such as education.

Prof. Jeffrey Sachs (Left) and Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (Right) shake hands during the courtesy call. High-Level Policy Dialogue organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), National Planning Authority and Makerere University on the theme “Accelerating the Sustainable Development Goals through leveraging Innovating Financing, the Parish Development Model, and Science and Technology”, Keynote address by Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, 28th February 2024, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Jeffrey Sachs (Left) and Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (Right) shake hands during the courtesy call.

“What I want to promise you, though I can’t give you the final answer for that part of innovative financing, we are going to get it done. Uganda is going to show a strong NDP IV, it is going to show a very robust plan to achieve rapid growth over the next 40 years, it is going to show that that rapid growth easily repays any long-term low-interest loans that have taken to achieve that, it is going to make the case that the Parish Development Model proves the last mile in an ingenious way, and that institutionally this country is poised for the breakthrough that we are talking about at the regional, national and local level” Prof. Sachs summed up.  

In her remarks, Ms. Nwanneakolam Vwede-Obahor, the UNDP Resident Representative warned of Uganda’s widening development financing gap, standing currently at 33 trillion shillings (US$ 8.8 billion) annually. 

“Traditional financing sources such as domestic taxes, Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), concessional loans from external partners, borrowing from the domestic market and foreign direct investment are not enough to finance the SDGs,” she said.

H.E. Nwanneakolam Vwede-Obahor addresses the High-Level Dialogue. High-Level Policy Dialogue organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), National Planning Authority and Makerere University on the theme “Accelerating the Sustainable Development Goals through leveraging Innovating Financing, the Parish Development Model, and Science and Technology”, Keynote address by Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, 28th February 2024, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
H.E. Nwanneakolam Vwede-Obahor addresses the High-Level Dialogue.

“Uganda must explore alternative avenues to secure affordable and flexible financing to drive the development phase in the next seven years. This will involve continuous alignment of the budget allocations and development plans with SDG priorities, diversifying funding sources, including public-private partnerships and unlocking new innovative financing models, and enhancing financial resilience.”

The dignitaries, accompanied by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, toured the state-of-the-art Innovation Pod, which is poised to drive innovation and research in the country. In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor said that Makerere remains focused on implementing strategies and programmes under SDG 4 which emphasizes Quality Education. “I am therefore pleased that today, as we continue the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals, Makerere University is on board hosting Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, the Office of the Prime Minister, National Planning Authority, UNDP, and a number of stakeholders to enhance the discussion on leveraging innovative financing, the parish development model and science and technology.”

Prof. Nawangwe shared with the audience, Makerere’s readiness to contribute to the success of the PDM, citing the role of the PDM Policy lab headed by Prof. Eria Hisali.  The PDM Policy lab conducted capacity building to sensitise low-income earners about government programs and how they can utilize the funds to improve their standards of living. The lab continues to undertake research on how to effectively implement PDM. The Vice Chancellor equally shared Makerere University’s commitment to undertaking research and programmes aimed at ensuring that health becomes a priority on the global agenda through the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Health (CESH). Established in partnership with the Karolinska Institute, Sweden, CESH’s core activities include; Capacity development and Education, Tools and resources, Networks and partnerships, and Research.

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Students Disciplinary Committee Sworn In, Urged to Uphold Professionalism, Ethics & Integrity

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Seated: The Chairperson-Mr. Isaac Newtown Kyagaba (3rd Right) and Members of the Students Disciplinary Committee-Prof. Godfrey Akileng (Left), Prof. Sylvia Nannyonga-Tamusuza (2nd Left) and Hon. Beatrice Kiraso (2nd Right) with the Chair Students Affairs Committee-Mr. Timothy Ssejjoba (3rd Left), and DVCFA-Prof. Henry Alinaitwe pose for a group photo on 29th February 2024. Standing Right to Left are: Ms. Phiona Natukunda, Counsel Balondemu Kenneth, University Secretary-Mr. Yusuf Kiranda, Dean of Students-Mrs. Winifred Kabumbuli, Principal PRO-Ms. Ritah Namisango and Deputy Chief Security Officer-Mr. Musa Mulindwa. E-Learning Facility, Level 4, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Members of the Makerere University Students Disciplinary Committee were on Thursday 29th February 2024 sworn in at a ceremony presided over by the Chairperson of Council represented by Mr. Timothy Ssejjoba, the Chairperson Student Affairs Committee of Council. The oaths, administered by Counsel Balondemu Kenneth, were witnessed by the Vice Chancellor represented by Prof. Henry Alinaitwe the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration), Chairperson of the Students Disciplinary Committee, Mr. Isaac Newton Kyagaba, University Secretary, Mr. Yusuf Kiranda, Dean of Students, Mrs. Winifred Kabumbuli, Ms. Phiona Natukunda, and other officials.

Members of the Committee sworn in included;

  1. Hon. Beatrice Kiraso,
  2. Prof. Godfrey Akileng,
  3. Prof. Sylvia Antonia Nakimera Nannyonga-Tamusuza, and
  4. Rev. Dr. Lydia Nsaale Kitayimbwa.
The Chairperson, Students Affairs Committee of Council, Mr. Timothy Ssejjoba. E-Learning Facility, Level 4, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The Chairperson, Students Affairs Committee of Council, Mr. Timothy Ssejjoba.

Mr. Timothy Ssejjoba on behalf of the Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and Members of Council congratulated the members upon being sworn in and expressed confidence that they are going to exercise their duty and mandate very well. “I am excited to see gallant and very committed members of our community who have decided to take part of their precious time to uphold the values and principles of this esteemed institution.”

Recognizing the paramount role of the Disciplinary Committee in fostering an environment conducive to the conduct of academic affairs, and where respect, integrity and discipline thrive, Mr. Ssejjoba urged newly sworn in members to strive to ensure that Makerere remains a centre of excellence not only in academics but also character formation and social conduct.

“Your commitment to fairness, impartiality and due process will be the cornerstone of your service. As you undertake this duty, I urge you to approach every case with empathy, with understanding and with a commitment to justice” he added.

The Chairperson, Students Affairs Disciplinary Committee, Mr. Isaac Newton Kyagaba (Right) and Members (Left to Right): Hon. Beatrice Kiraso, Prof. Godfrey Akileng and Prof. Sylvia Nannyonga-Tamusuza. E-Learning Facility, Level 4, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The Chairperson, Students Affairs Disciplinary Committee, Mr. Isaac Newton Kyagaba (Right) and Members (Left to Right): Hon. Beatrice Kiraso, Prof. Godfrey Akileng and Prof. Sylvia Nannyonga-Tamusuza.

Mr. Ssejjoba urged the Committee Members to always remember that their decisions will shape the lives of students and impact the future of the institution. “The trust bestowed upon you comes with great responsibility. Uphold the highest standards of professionalism, ethics and integrity in all your endeavours. Let your actions reflect the values that Makerere University stands for.”

The Chairperson, Makerere University Students Disciplinary Committee, Mr. Isaac Newton Kyagaba who was officially sworn in on 18th March 2022 is yet to complete his term and as such, was not required to take oath. Addressing the gathering, he thanked the Chairperson of the Student Affairs Committee, the Vice Chancellor and Members of Management for sparing time to witness the event. He extended gratitude to the newly sworn-in members for sacrificing time to serve Makerere, noting that Committee proceedings sometimes last an entire day.

In the same breath, Mr. Kyagaba thanked the University Management and Directorate of Legal Affairs represented by Ms. Phiona Natukunda for supporting the Committee in the execution of its duties. He nevertheless urged the University Officials to ensure that all the cases brought before the Committee have sufficient supporting evidence to enable them be disposed of quickly and permit the accused to proceed with their academic programmes.

Left to Right: Prof. Henry Alinaitwe, Mr. Yusuf Kiranda and Mrs. Winifred Kabumbuli during the swearing in ceremony. E-Learning Facility, Level 4, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Left to Right: Prof. Henry Alinaitwe, Mr. Yusuf Kiranda and Mrs. Winifred Kabumbuli during the swearing in ceremony.

Prof. Henry Alinaitwe in his remarks thanked the Chairperson and Members of the Disciplinary Committee for accepting to serve Makerere, noting that discipline; be it of staff, students or stakeholders, is very important especially for an academic institution. He added that unlike past decades where the student population was smaller, today’s population is bigger and demands more attention.

He decried past disturbances on the campus that led to destruction of property and loss of life and reiterated Management’s zero-tolerance to acts that go against the University’s policies and regulations. “We really ask the Disciplinary Committee to help us in arresting such cases so that they serve as a deterrent.”

Prof. Alinaitwe added his voice to that of the University Secretary who had in the opening remarks appreciated that the precious time Members of the Disciplinary Committee spend rendering pro bono services to the Makerere Community’s cannot be compensated enough. “We don’t take that for granted.”

Mr. Yusuf Kiranda (Standing) makes his remarks. E-Learning Facility, Level 4, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Mr. Yusuf Kiranda (Standing) makes his remarks.

Mr. Kiranda in his opening remarks stated that the duties performed by Members of the Disciplinary Committee are a true reflection of the spirit of community service, “so we sincerely thank you very much for this sacrifice.” For example, he noted that academic staff who serve on the Committee do not get their workload reduced, and Committee Members who hold jobs elsewhere spend a significant amount of their time handling University business.

This Committee’s service, he nevertheless added, is important for the enforcement of university rules, which must be done transparently, fairly and impartially. The University Secretary noted that students as they go about their academic life might error either unintentionally or as an act of indiscipline, hence the need for a Students Disciplinary Committee to help the University Management determine each case.

“This Committee is a very strong component of the University Governance ecosystem because as an academic institution, we operate under a set of policies, rules and regulations that everybody must obey, for the maintenance of social order, and for us to work collectively in the pursuit of the goals and objectives of this university, and for creating an enabling environment for research and learning” affirmed Mr. Kiranda. He concluded by thanking the Committee Chairperson and Members for contributing to Makerere’s mandate in the overall nation building agenda.

Counsel Balondemu Kenneth (Right) administers the oath to Hon. Beatrice Kiraso (Left). E-Learning Facility, Level 4, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Counsel Balondemu Kenneth (Right) administers the oath to Hon. Beatrice Kiraso (Left).

The swearing in ceremony which opened with a word of prayer by the Dean of Students, Mrs. Winifred Kabumbuli was moderated by the Principal Public Relations Officer, Ms. Ritah Namisango.

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Scholars converge at Makerere University to review the 40 years of Neoliberalization in Uganda

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Scholars that converged at Makerere University to review four decades of neoliberal transformation of Uganda pose for a group photo. Conference on Uganda’s Neoliberalism at 40: Taking stock of the operation of an exemplary market society in East Africa, 18th-19th January, 2024, Conference Room, Level 2, Block B, College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Scholars met at Makerere University to review four decades of neoliberal transformation of Uganda, the role of universities as agents and the transformative character of the process.

The ’what to do’ question was one of the central points of discussion at the conference titled Uganda’s Neoliberalism at 40: Taking stock of the operation of an exemplary market society in East Africa held on 18th to 19th January, 2024. The conference, a collaborative effort among Makerere University, International University of Rabat, Morocco and the University of Leeds, United Kingdom was organised and steered by Dr Giuliano Martiniello (Rabat), Dr Sarah Ssali (Makerere), Dr Jörg Wiegratz (Leeds), Dr Rose Nakayi (Makerere) and Professor Godfrey Asiimwe (Makerere, Mountains of the Moon University). The conference organisers had previously collaborated as part of the work on the edited collection ‘Uganda: The Dynamics of Neoliberal Transformation’ which was published in 2018.

Left to Right: Dr Rose Nakayi, Dr Sarah Ssali and Dr Jörg Wiegratz. Conference on Uganda’s Neoliberalism at 40: Taking stock of the operation of an exemplary market society in East Africa, 18th-19th January, 2024, Conference Room, Level 2, Block B, College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Left to Right: Dr Rose Nakayi, Dr Sarah Ssali and Dr Jörg Wiegratz.

The conference gave particular focus to relevant developments in matters of political economy, politics, society and culture in Uganda’s market society since 2018.  Speakers and participants were drawn from Uganda, UK, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, France, Colombia, Egypt, South Africa, Denmark, Morocco, Canada and USA; across disciplines; including civil society leaders, journalists, intellectuals, grassroots activists, citizen researchers, as well as scholars and PhD students. More participants followed the discussions online on both conference days. The large gathering allowed for broad discussions and cross fertilisation of ideas on the various themes, connecting theory and practice within the Ugandan context.

The keynote was given by Professor Yash Tandon, a major figure in political and intellectual life in Uganda and beyond. Tandon positioned the conference in the historical context of Uganda and highlighted the imperialist roots of the neoliberal policies that are driving the restructuring agenda in Uganda today. The keynote panel brought together interventions by Professor John Jean Barya, Dr Martiniello and the public intellectual, writer and activist Kalundi Serumaga.

Professor Yash Tandon. Conference on Uganda’s Neoliberalism at 40: Taking stock of the operation of an exemplary market society in East Africa, 18th-19th January, 2024, Conference Room, Level 2, Block B, College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Professor Yash Tandon.

Papers were presented under panels on various themes such as labour, agricultural and environmental change, oil and energy transition, socio-cultural change, education, social policy state, elections and political agency. Several papers interrogated the pertinent neoliberal policies as drivers of problematic changes in various sectors such as oil and gas, education, health and housing, and in matters such as labour and labour unions. This stimulated debates on a key question: whether indeed there could be alternatives to the ongoing neoliberalisation of Uganda that seems to be unstoppable, across all realms of society.

Commentators on the papers included Dr Yusuf Serunkuma (Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg), journalist and activist Agatha Atuhaire. They reflected on the everyday life aspects and the deep politics of neoliberalism in Uganda and highlighted various forms of existing resistance and push back vis-à-vis neoliberal political economy. Winnie Byanyima (UNAIDS Executive Director) enriched the conference with her comments about global and local neoliberalism, and the importance of activism in the struggle for change in today’s Uganda: she raised the ‘what should we do?’ question on conference day one; which was picked up by subsequent speakers including in the conference’s closing speeches and discussions.

Dr. Winnie Byanyima speaking. Conference on Uganda’s Neoliberalism at 40: Taking stock of the operation of an exemplary market society in East Africa, 18th-19th January, 2024, Conference Room, Level 2, Block B, College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Dr. Winnie Byanyima speaking.

Issues arising from the conference included:

  • Four decades into the neoliberal transformation of Uganda, the all-encompassing and transformative character of this process is evident. It was also noted that scholars have grappled with the analysis of some of these changes; mostly focusing on issues of governance, policy-making, military conflict, and state-building.
  • Relatively little analytical attention has been given to major topics concerning the making and operation of today’s neoliberal Uganda, this exemplary market society in East Africa and the continent at large: this includes the political economy of neoliberal restructuring (including the roll-out of commercialisation across sectors and the rise to dominance of foreign TNCs), the political sociology of the formation of hegemonic and counter-hegemonic movements, and the political ecology of extractivism.
  • The existence of significant gaps in the academic literature about the interlinkages among economic, political, sociological, ecological, legal and cultural processes in this highly consequential round of capitalist restructuring of the country: the phase that has locked-in a distinct capitalist institutional architecture for the foreseeable future.  
  • The question of how to contest, resist and change the existing neoliberal polity, economy and culture – i.e., the fundamentals of Uganda’s capitalism – is also not often analysed in much of the scholarship. And yet, the ‘what to do?’ question is prominent in the public debate in the country, given the manifold crises – across economic and social sectors – brought about by neoliberalisation.
Dr. Rose Nakayi speaking. Conference on Uganda’s Neoliberalism at 40: Taking stock of the operation of an exemplary market society in East Africa, 18th-19th January, 2024, Conference Room, Level 2, Block B, College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Dr. Rose Nakayi speaking.

The conference took place in a wider context in which universities have been recognized as agents of change in many societal spheres. They are moving away from the ‘ivory tower’ concept, where they are seen as occupying special places in terms of knowledge generation without much concrete connection to society and its everyday challenges. Instead, the change-oriented agency of today’s University is evident also in the offering of a platform to debate and generate ideas that can inform policy for change, and involvement in change-oriented projects with other stakeholders, public and private.

The conference thus aimed at providing a platform for analysing and debating various developments of Uganda’s neoliberalism since the early 1980s.

Dr. Guilliano Martinello. Conference on Uganda’s Neoliberalism at 40: Taking stock of the operation of an exemplary market society in East Africa, 18th-19th January, 2024, Conference Room, Level 2, Block B, College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Dr. Guilliano Martinello.

It is hoped that many papers presented at the conference will be developed further, subjected to peer review, and published to inform research and policy making in Uganda and beyond. The conference participants continue their networking and collaborations beyond the end of the conference.

The next conference on contemporary capitalism in Uganda is expected to be held in 2026. The conference was supported by the POLIS Strategic Investment Fund (SRIF) 2023/24 (University of Leeds). This grant also helped citizen researchers from northern Uganda to participate in the conference and present their research findings.

A screen showing the Conference theme. Conference on Uganda’s Neoliberalism at 40: Taking stock of the operation of an exemplary market society in East Africa, 18th-19th January, 2024, Conference Room, Level 2, Block B, College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
A screen showing one of the papers presented at the Conference.

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