The three –day celebrations to mark the 60 years of the East African School of Library and Information Sciences (EASLIS@60) service to humanity were crowned by a Luncheon on Friday 10th November, 2023.
The closing ceremony was graced by the Director, Directorate of Research and Graduate Training (DRGT), Prof. Edward Bbaale as Chief Guest. Prof. Bbaale implored information scientists to contribute to the development of research and innovation hub at Makerere University and also embrace digital technologies in management of information and data.
Describing the event as a testament to Makerere University‘s unwavering commitment to academic excellence, research and the nurturing of intellectual talent, Bbaale said, library and information sciences play a pivotal role in any university, serving as a cornerstone for teaching, research, and innovation.
He explained that Makerere University activities are guided by the Strategic Plan for 2020-2030, which is a visionary roadmap that aims to transform Makerere into research-led and innovation-driven institution. This vision according to the Director, rests upon three fundamental building blocks, each playing a crucial role in the transformative journey.
The first building block emphasizes a distinct shift towards increased graduate enrollment, particularly at the doctoral and postdoctoral levels. The goal according to Prof. Bbaale is to raise the share of graduate students. Presently the graduate student population stands at around 12% with only 2% being international students.
“As the school celebrates 60 years, it is time to rethink vividly raising graduate enrolment because you hold a key role in trying to raise a generation of people that can be sources of information and data and guidance to national transformation,” Bbaale appealed.
The second building block according to the Director focuses on building research entities designed to catalyze large-scale, multidisciplinary, and multi-institutional research activities. Supported by the policy on the establishment of research entities and institutions of 2021, these entities are envisioned as hubs of innovation, fostering collaboration that transcends boundaries.
“You are the source of information. These research centers will not thrive without you. And we are very happy that you have trained many people and the many libraries are benefiting from you. We can also look at this scenario where you can work to empower research hubs that we have. You have a responsibility to help these research hubs come up because the university is saying, we don’t have any other way we shall be research intensive, we don’t have any other way, we shall be innovation-driven until when we have established large research entities, centers of excellence’ He said.
The third building block underscores the importance of packaging and marketing research outputs for effective adoption and adaptation to impact communities. Initiatives like the Makerere UNDP Innovation Hub aligns with this vision and this is supported by policies like the intellectual property management policy and the research and innovations policy of Makerere University.
“The East African School must work collaboratively with the innovation hub. What are those aspects about innovation that must be developed through training? Because later on, the graduates that you are going to churn out must be able to support innovators through providing the requisite information that is needed”, The Director asserted.
Prof. Bbaale congratulated the school upon its milestones and challenged experts to move with the university aspirations on grounds that library and information science field, focusses on the interactions between people, information, and digital technologies which plays a vital role in enhancing information creation, access, management, sharing, and societal benefit.
As the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training, Prof. Bbaale said they acknowledge the strong complementarity working relation between the DGRT mandate and the expertise of the EASLIS in terms of dealing with the student information, creating repositories and making sure that information is available and usable very quickly when we need it.
Representing the Principal CoCIS, the Deputy Principal Dr. Peter Nabende expressed happiness that EASLIS which started in 1963 as an agreement between the then three countries in East Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda has survived throughout the years.
“It has, not only survived, but achieved greatly in many ways. It continues to uphold excellence in all aspects. From my observations, the levels of professionalism at EASLIS, the levels of commitment, they are the kinds of levels I have never seen anywhere else”. Dr. Nabende stated.
Nabende explained that the school has contributed significantly in terms of research and practice and preservation of records, serving as the main center of excellence in library and information sciences, and in addition continued to establish partnerships with highly reputable institutions worldwide.
Dr. Nabende observed that the school finds itself at a time when the world is advancing technologically but it is advancing in a sense that what is driving the advancement is information.
He called for more concerted efforts to remain the center of reference, through adopting new technologies in information and data management.
He attributed the success of the celebrations to the support from different stakeholders including university top management and the principal’s office for providing most of the funds, contributions from the collaborating institutions and all individuals that played various roles.
The Dean, EASLIS Dr. Sarah Kaddu said the event was to commemorate the relentless pursuit of knowledge, the unwavering commitment to excellence and the profound impact EASLIS has had on society and on to peoples’ lives.
She explained that the three day celebrations characterized by intellectual quiz and talk shows, the symposium and crowned with a luncheon, widened participants aperture, created a platform to meet new people to encounter new ideas and experiences.
The Dean said, the roots of EASLIS trace back to a vision of empowering communities through access to information, preserving knowledge, and nurturing an environment where the pursuit of learners knows no bounds.
“Our school’s legacy extends far beyond the confines of its physical structure. It embodies the spirit of dedication, innovation, and adaptability, among others. Libraries are not mere buildings stocked with books. They are sanctuaries of learning and inspiration, serving as bridges between the past, present and the future.
Information science as a discipline has evolved dramatically, translating boundaries and revolutionizing how we access, organize and disseminate information. Our institution has been at the front line of these changes, adapting and leading the transformations,” Dean noted.
Dr. Kaddu recognized the pivotal role played by the individuals who have been the driving force behind the school’s success. Kaddu recognized faculty members whose passion for scholarship and commitment to nurturing the minds of the next generation of professionals has been exemplary adding that the school has always been a beacon of academic rigor and integrity.
“I have noticed many changes over the years. Our commitment to excellence and nurturing of intellectual curiosity has remained unwavering. This anniversary is not just a testimony to the enduring dedication of everyone associated with this institution, but also a celebration of our collective achievements.” The Dean asserted.
The school she said, has witnessed the rise and disruption of technology as a catalyst, reshaping the landscape of information science.
“Our libraries have transcended physical boundaries, extending into the digital realm. We’ve embraced these changes, fostering innovation and diversifying our programs to meet the demands of the modern era while upholding the fundamental principles that underscore our profession.
Furthermore, our collaborations and partnerships with other institutions, organizations, and communities have not only enriched our education environment, but have also empowered us to make a broader and more meaningful impact on the communities we serve”, Dr. Kaddu assured.
Looking towards the future, Dr. Kaddu said, the school is poised at an exciting juncture with a horizon of possibilities they must continue building on. As the school embarks on the next phase, the Dean called upon faculty and alumni to remain adaptable, resilient, embracing change, while staying rooted in the values and principles that have been the bedrock of this school for six remarkable decades.
Dr. Kaddu expressed gratitude to all who have contributed to the success of this institution and the celebrations.
Four recognized for their outstanding service to EASLIS
The closing ceremony was also marked by awards of four distinguished personnel who have served the school in different capacities.
The Rising Star Award was presented to Mr. Geoffrey Magimbi in recognition of his outstanding academic resilience and success. Magimbi, joined the school as a custodian without any academic paper. Being in the academic circle, he was inspired and determined to enrol for a certificate course , then a diploma, to a bachelors and now pursuing Masters. He has also served in the Ministry of Public service and currently working with the Mountains of the Moon University.
The Leadership Award was presented to Prof. S. AH. Abidi in honor of his long and exemplary service as Director EASLIS (1972-2002). Another Leadership Award was presented to Ms. Sarah Kagingo in absentia, in appreciation of her loyalty and dedicated service as the first Guild President from EASLIS (1997-1998).
The Service award was presented to Boniface Odongo with deepest appreciation for his outstanding contribution as the longest serving librarian from 1996-2012 . Odongo who was unwell, was represented by his daughter Aguttu.
CoCIS CIPSD Call For Applications: March, May, July & September 2024 Short Courses Intakes
Makerere University College of Computing & Information Sciences ‘Centre for Innovations and Professional Skills Development (CIPSD) is a highly regarded unit in Makerere University and plays a significant role in providing individuals with practical computer knowledge and skills to support a 21st century knowledge-based economy. The centre strategically offers training that is responsive to the needs of the society which is achieved through tailoring courses towards what the industry demands. The Centre has been at the forefront to assist government and other organizations to build human capacity with various ICT skills. The Centre has the capacity to enroll 5,000 students per annum because it has large-sized computer laboratories with a 500-seater capacity.
CIPSD’s mission is two-fold:1) to offer ICT professional skills development and incubation of new ideas, as well as, nurture new technology-based businesses; and 2) to augment theoretical computing knowledge among individuals and ground them with relevant professional ICT skills for industries.
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Over 600 graduate from CoCIS during the Mak 74th Graduation ceremony
661 graduands from the College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) were on 31st January awarded degrees and diplomas in the different disciplines during the 3rd session of Mak 74th Graduation ceremony.
Of that total, 626 graduates walked away with undergraduate (Bachelors degrees), 32 with Masters Degrees, 2 with PhDs while 1 got a Post Graduate Diploma.
The five-day long graduation ceremony kicked off on the 29th of January 2024 – 2nd February 2024. During the course of the 74th graduation ceremony a total of 12,913 graduands received degrees and diplomas of Makerere University. Of these, a total of 132 graduands graduated 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 were female and 47% were male. In the category of PhD graduands, 46 were female and 86 were male. In the category of students graduating with Master’s degrees, 699 were female and 886 were male.
The graduation ceremony was presided over by the Vice Chancellor Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe. Nawangwe executed the role of Chancellor as provided for in the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act following the expiry of the tenure of Prof. Ezra Suruma as Chancellor. The University Council commenced the search for his successor that was on-going.
CoCIS Commended for Noble Research in Artificial Intelligence to Solve Africa’s Problems
Reflecting on the May 2019 UNESCO conference on Artificial Intelligence and education in Beijing, China, the Vice Chancellor asserted the university’s potential and commitment to utilization of AI to make a difference for Africa.
Prof. Nawangwe reported that the University through the College of Computing and Information Sciences in collaboration with the School of Public Health received a grant funding worth US$1,500,000 (5.5bn/=) from Google to support its Ocular project that is undertaking research on usage of Artificial Intelligence to enhance the diagnosis process of Malaria, Tuberculosis and Cervical Cancer in Uganda.
Launched on 13th September 2023, the project team led by Dr. Rose Nakasi benched on the rampant challenges faced by the laboratory experts while undertaking diagnosis procedures. Health centres in Uganda are not only strained with the escalating number of patients seeking for laboratory screening tests – the country has few trained laboratory technicians to support the diagnosis process using the microscope.
The research team according to the Nawangwe took advantage of the existing technologies such as the smartphone and the availability of at least a microscope in every health centre across the country to develop a 3D printable adaptor that was attached to an eye piece of the microscope. The 3D adapter was also slotted in the smartphone to capture images.
With the capabilities of Artificial intelligence through computer vision, images can be processed and this directs the experts where the pathogens are. This technology shortens the diagnosis process making it more accurate, quicker and easier to diagnose health conditions and potentially reducing screening time by over 80%.
The Vice Chancellor also reported that in addition, researchers led by a second-year PhD student Paddy Junior Asiimwe designed a device to monitor elderly people with dementia and cognitive impairment in rural Uganda. The device, wearable by the elderly will monitor the patients’ movement and location and then signal the caretaker and the hospital in case of emergencies.
The technology funded by Government of Uganda through Mak-RIF was disclosed on 13th October, 2023. It monitors elderly people remotely using GPS technology which defines a safe zone around a user and a PDR system to monitor the position of the user within the safe zone. This technology is cheap, and better than the systems existing on market, and is best recommended for more resource constrained environments. The system operates independent of the user mostly in rural areas who cannot read and write. It does not require electricity and runs on batteries, charged once a week and can run for 30 days.
Prof. Nawangwe also highlighted how university researchers lead by Prof. Engineer Bainomugisha has invented devices geared towards monitoring and managing air quality across cities on the continent.
“The AirQo Project, in collaboration with various partners launched the CLEAN-Air Africa Network on 5th April 2023 bringing together communities of practice from over fifteen cities in Africa, with a focus on utilising low-cost sensors for air quality management in Africa.
Held under the theme: Championing Liveable Urban Environments through African Networks for Air, the workshop served as a Launchpad for Africa-led collaborations and multi-regional partnerships for sustained interventions to achieve cleaner air across the Continent”, Nawangwe appreciated.
Five get the Vice Chancellor’s Research Excellence Awards 2023
During this third session , the Vice Chancellor recognized the best researchers listed and published in the Graduation Booklet and the Mak News Magazine. The awards were based on Scopus database. The researchers were honored by the Vice Chancellor and Chairperson of Makerere University during the convocation luncheon held at Makerere University Convocation House.
CoCIS best researchers included.
- Prof. Bainomugisha Engineer
- Prof. Nabukenya Josephine
- Nabende Peter
- Professor Baguma Rehema
- Odongo Eyobu Steven
Prof. Nawangwe urged all staff to continue conducting research on national development priorities as well as matters of global interest and publishing their work in high-impact journals so as contribute to our drive to become a research-led university. He also advised on the need for the research to lead to patents, copyrights and trademarks, and tangible innovations in the form of products, policy briefs, manuals and others.
The Vice Chancellor highlighted a number of achievements recorded in the last two years including the timely issuance of the academic transcripts at the time of graduation.
In his key message to the graduands, Prof. Nawangwe described graduation as the most important and most memorable day in the life of any scholar on grounds that it is a licence to succeed in life, and a privilege to serve humanity.
“You have worked hard to get a degree or diploma from one of the best universities in the World. This is a license for you to succeed in whatever you choose to do in your life career. But always remember that success will only come with discipline and hard work, while honoring your parents and fearing God.
Shortly you will become an alumnus of this great institution. Cherish the knowledge and experiences you have collected while here, but remember that learning never ends. Our gates remain open for you if you wish to pursue higher degrees”, The professor advised.
With a degree from one of the best universities in the World, Prof. Nawangwe stressed, that graduates have no reason not to succeed in life.
“Indeed, the World is yours to conquer. If jobs are not forthcoming, create them, for we have empowered you not only to be employable, but also to be entrepreneurs. Be the light that others will follow. We are proud that we have been a part of your life, that we have given you the knowledge and courage to face life in this ever-changing World. Go out to the World and make it a better place”. He emphasized.
Please find these and more in the Vice Chancellors speech attached.
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