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Improving performance in Science subjects: Mak scholars translate science books into local languages

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Makerere University scholars have translated science terms into local languages to ease learning of the students in lower primary classes.

The scholars include Dr Henry Busulwa, Dr Harriet Nabushawo, Dr John Ssentongo, and Dr Allen Nalugwa.

The quartet conceived the idea of translating learner’s materials in 2020 after conducting research that showed that there was decreasing interest and performance by learners in science subjects.

They (scholars) therefore translated two resource books into Luganda and Lumasaaba languages following the thematic curriculum of lower primary to help learners easily grasp the content taught when they reach primary four. The lower primary curriculum directs teachers to teach children in their mother tongue from primary one to primary three and start learning in English only when they reach primary four.

Dr Henry Busulwa the Principal Investigator, Mak-RIF Project on translating two resource books into Luganda and Lumasaaba languages following the thematic curriculum of lower primary Dissemination December 2023, AVU Conference Room, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Dr Henry Busulwa the Principal Investigator,

Dr Busulwa, the Principal Investigator of the project found out that between 2015 and 2019, less than 5000 pupils got distinctions in science and over 1000 children failed completely.

“This is because these children are not given a chance to learn most of the terms in their mother tongue. They may be knowing something in English but cannot translate it to their local language which is not right,” he said.

The scholars therefore conducted research in a project dubbed “inter-disciplinary enhancement of science education in the Uganda Primary thematic curriculum”, a project funded by the government of Uganda through Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF).

The innovators interacted with teachers, learners and elderly persons in Mbale, Manafwa, Mpigi, Lwengo, and Masaka districts to give them the suitable terms for the science terms.

Dr. Harriet Nabushawo, one of the scholars. Mak-RIF Project on translating two resource books into Luganda and Lumasaaba languages following the thematic curriculum of lower primary Dissemination December 2023, AVU Conference Room, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Dr. Harriet Nabushawo, one of the scholars.

“We sampled 24 thematic curriculum teachers, 24 elders and used instruments like questionnaires and Focused Group Discussions. We were however surprised to find out that at least 80 percent could not translate science terms into their mother tongue,” he noted. 

The scholars also found out that there is no science subject in lower primary, they rather incorporate different terms in Literacy I and Literacy II subjects.

Out of the teachers who teach lower primary, the study revealed that very few teachers from the sample taken have taught for over four years.

He further explained that schools in the villages use local languages a lot unlike those in urban centers which do not follow the thematic curriculum.

Scholars Dr Allen Nalugwa and Dr John Ssentongo. Mak-RIF Project on translating two resource books into Luganda and Lumasaaba languages following the thematic curriculum of lower primary Dissemination December 2023, AVU Conference Room, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Scholars Dr Allen Nalugwa and Dr John Ssentongo.

“Many teachers are relatively young and they can’t teach in local languages. A good percentage of teachers could not articulate the science in the themes and yet some were not comfortable teaching science in local languages,” he added

The books will help teachers to teach science comfortably without struggling.

Prof Anthony Muwagga Mugagga, the Principal of the College of Education and External Studies, lauded the principal investigator for having pulled through the project saying, “Last year, many Biology students in the country failed. We look at the failure of science students at Advanced level as having stemmed from primary school because students do not understand the meaning of what they study.

He added: “Abroad, science is taught in their mother tongue for example Britain, where their mother tongue is English. Your study does not only solve the problem of teaching science but also medicine. We have lost a lot of medicine because we don’t know about them.”

The Principal CEES, Prof. Anthony Muwagga Mugagga (standing) addresses participants. Mak-RIF Project on translating two resource books into Luganda and Lumasaaba languages following the thematic curriculum of lower primary Dissemination December 2023, AVU Conference Room, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The Principal CEES, Prof. Anthony Muwagga Mugagga (standing) addresses participants.

He thanked the team of scholars for rejuvenating the traditional learning and noted that their intervention at a lower level will make things better.

Ms Lovenance Napokoli, a teacher from Mbale who helped researchers in developing the Lumasaaba book noted that the book will be useful to the learners and teachers since it translates words from a local language to English.

“Many teachers have been finding it difficult to teach children because they don’t understand what they teach in their mother tongue. The innovation is therefore timely and it will help teachers in conveying what they teach to learners.”

Mr Michael Ssonko, the representative from Wakiso district noted the challenge they have is that elders who used to teach science had better knowledge than the people currently teaching science and noted that current learners are not getting the information required.

Ms Gloria Naggayi, the Research Support Officer who represented the Grants Management Committee said the innovation has a foreseeing impact on the education sector and if they are taken up by the Ministry of Education a lot will be changed.

The resource books are designed following the thematic curriculum of lower primary and if the government provides more funding to the project, the materials will be replicated into other local languages.

The National Curriculum Development Center (NCDC) asked the scholars to digitalise their resources such that it can be read by many people.

Dr Deborah Magera, the representative of NCDC noted that children can only understand science concepts in the language they understand.

Education

Over 600 awarded UBTEB certificates

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Makerere University Centre for Lifelong Learning and Makerere University Jinja Campus graduation of Diplomas and Certificates from the Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board (UBTEB), 3rd February 2024, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

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.

Makerere University Centre for Lifelong Learning and Makerere University Jinja Campus graduation of Diplomas and Certificates from the Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board (UBTEB), 3rd February 2024, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

“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.

Makerere University Centre for Lifelong Learning and Makerere University Jinja Campus graduation of Diplomas and Certificates from the Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board (UBTEB), 3rd February 2024, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

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.

Makerere University Centre for Lifelong Learning and Makerere University Jinja Campus graduation of Diplomas and Certificates from the Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board (UBTEB), 3rd February 2024, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

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.  

Makerere University Centre for Lifelong Learning and Makerere University Jinja Campus graduation of Diplomas and Certificates from the Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board (UBTEB), 3rd February 2024, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

“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.

Makerere University Centre for Lifelong Learning and Makerere University Jinja Campus graduation of Diplomas and Certificates from the Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board (UBTEB), 3rd February 2024, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

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.

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Education

CEES graduates 1,000 students as best researchers are awarded

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The DVCFA-Prof. Henry Alinaitwe (R), Academic Registrar-Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi (L) and Principal-Prof. Anthony Muwagga Mugagga (6th L) with CEES Staff. 74th Graduation Ceremony, Day 2, College of Education and External Studies (CEES), 30th January 2024, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

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.

74th Graduation Ceremony, Day 2, College of Education and External Studies (CEES), 30th January 2024, Vice Chancellor's Research Excellence Awards 2023, Plot 34 Edge Road, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

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.

74th Graduation Ceremony, Day 2, College of Education and External Studies (CEES), 30th January 2024, Vice Chancellor's Research Excellence Awards 2023, Plot 34 Edge Road, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

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.

74th Graduation Ceremony, Day 2, College of Education and External Studies (CEES), 30th January 2024, Vice Chancellor's Research Excellence Awards 2023, Plot 34 Edge Road, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

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.

74th Graduation Ceremony, Day 2, College of Education and External Studies (CEES), 30th January 2024, Vice Chancellor's Research Excellence Awards 2023, Plot 34 Edge Road, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

“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.

74th Graduation Ceremony, Day 2, College of Education and External Studies (CEES), 30th January 2024, Freedom Square, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

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.

74th Graduation Ceremony, Day 2, College of Education and External Studies (CEES), 30th January 2024, Freedom Square, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

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.

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Education

Call For Applications: 8 Masters Scholarships under CABUTE Project

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Masters Graduands from CEES stand to receive their awards on Day 2 of the 73rd Graduation Ceremony of Makerere University. 14th February 2023, Freedom Square, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

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.

https://www.uib.no/en/cabute/167375/cabute-masters-scholarships-20242026

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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