Makerere To Launch New Strategic Plan

Makerere University will this year launch a 10- year strategic plan that will transform Uganda’s premier higher learning institution into a research led university, URN reports.
 
The university vice chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe says the strategic plan development team will complete the document in March 2019. Prof Nawangwe says the plan will be launched in August.

 
The plan has been developed through a consultative approach. Prof Naangwe says the approach taken during drafting strategic plan has harmonised ideas at the institutional, national, regional and global levels and will produce the desired blueprint for transforming Makerere into a world class research‐led university by 2030. 
 
Makerere’s 2008/2018 strategic plan expired last year. The university management asked for a one year extension of the old plan to be on par with the National Development Plan. The university targeted to become a research led institution in the plan which expired.
 
A research university is one with at least 20% graduate student enrollment. But between 2008 and 2018, the proportion of graduate students at Makerere declined.
 
“Although we set out to become a research-led university in the current strategic planning period, we declined considerably from a graduate student enrollment ratio of 13% to the current 9%,” said Prof. Nawangwe. Adding that; “This unfortunate development was occasioned by a deliberate reduction in graduate student admission by some units; and a considerable increase in undergraduate enrollment in the search for money to run the University.
 
Over the ten year period, the enrollment levels had exceeded the strategic plan projections of 35,000 students including both undergraduate and graduates by 2011/12 academic year, the highest being 41,094 students recorded in 2012/13. Other enrollment parameters included increasing the enrollment for international students and science based disciplines while decreasing enrollment in humanities. 
 
The 2016 visitation committee report recommended turning Makerere into mainly a graduate institution but also focusing on science courses at undergraduate level.


The report for instance recommends that College of Education and External Studies (CEES) be transferred to Kyambogo University, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) be transferred to NsamiziTraining Institute of Social Development and College of Business and Management Sciences (COBAMS) should be transferred to the Nakawa based Makerere University Business School (MUBS).  
 

This would leave the university with five colleges and the School of Law. These colleges are; College of Natural Sciences, College of Health Sciences, College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology, College of Computing and Information Sciences and College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.  
 
Prof Nawangwe last year said visitation committee report gave them a leeway to start lobbying for more funding from government to anchor Makerere into a research university.

Makerere Fights See Over 30 Senior Lecturers Fired

Makerere Private Students

Makerere University’s Appointments Board has fired over 30 senior lecturers on charges of insubordination and use of abusive language, sexual assault, financial fraud, abscondment, refusal to perform official duties, inciting violence and failure to complete studies among others.

Among those fired is controversial lecturer and activist, Dr Stella Nyanzi, who is currently detained in Luzira Prison for abusing President Yoweri Museveni. The University says Nyanzi’s contract expired.

Dr Swizen Kyomuhendo, who was captured sexually harassing a female student has also been fired for engaging in “acts prejudicial to proper performance of official duties or university’s image or status.”

The resolution to fire the affected staff was taken following several high level meetings of the Appointments Board that started on November 19 and ended on December 11.

According to one of the suspension letters obtained by Business Focus,   Joseph Kalema, a lecturer in the Directorate of Human Resources was fired for disrupting University activities and injuring the reputation of the University and its leadership.

“On 20th December 2018, you led a mob which attempted to disrupt a session of the University Council, the supreme policy making organ of the University. This mob was thwarted by the University Security,” Makerere Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe’s letter dated 21sr December 2018 reads in part.

Kalema’s suspension letter

It adds that security reports show that Kalema has reportedly been inciting other staff to disrupt University activities.

Godber Tumushabe, an activist and assistant lecturer at Makerere Law School was cautioned and reinstated following serious concerns of abscondment.

However, inside sources say this recent development is just a tip of the iceberg; there is untold rot at the University.

Sources claim that the Vice Chancellor doesn’t want to get challenged and trying to ensure that all those who challenge him get out of the University.

Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe

“He is killing East Africa’s best University. There’s a lot of corruption and money fights at the University,” a source said, adding that more lecturers are set to be fired over ‘concocted’ charges.

Below is a list of the fired staff; 

We’ll keep posted

 

 

 

 

Makerere University On Spot Over Discriminative Appointments

Makerere Private Students

Makerere University, Uganda’s leading institution of learning has come under fire over its discriminative appointments that have seen men occupy most of the top leadership positions.

And as such, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has ordered the Parliamentary Education Committee to investigate why the University has sidelined women in its top administration, noting there is need to look into appointments at Makerere which have been marred with skewed incidences of pushing well qualified women out of positions of power.

“Reading the press last week, we saw that Makerere University has appointed two Deputy Vice Chancellors and we have realized that they are all men. So the entire leadership of the University is skewed, many female candidates applied and the results showed that men have taken up all positions and this is really perpetrating an imbalance,” Kadaga said during Tuesday’s plenary sitting.

It should be noted that last week Makerere University Chancellor, Prof Ezra Suruma announced the appointment of Dr Umar Kakumba as the Deputy Vice Chancellor- Academic Affairs and Prof. William Bazeyo as Deputy VC- Finance and Administration after recommendations by the University Senate of the duo, having attained the highest votes and therefore best placed to take over the leadership.

However, the recent directive by the Speaker is likely to complicate matters at Makerere after Kadaga pointed out that there are very many structural imperfections within Makerere and it is difficult for highly qualified women in the University to compete to take up these leadership positions

“There are 27 leadership positions and all of them from the Vice Chancellor to principals of the colleges, all the 27 are occupied by the men. Can this be a fair society? It isn’t. This is in contradiction to our constitution. This is a matter which I want the Committee of Education to take an interest so we progressively see better participation and equity,” Kadaga said.

Makerere University has been marred with scandals and controversies for many years.

We’ll keep you posted

Civil Society Wants Fees In Govt Aided Schools Controlled

The Education and Sports Committee of Uganda’s Parliament Thursday started considering a petition challenging high tuition and non-tuition fees charged by government aided schools.

Appearing before the Committee, officials from Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER), a Civil Society Organisation appealed to MPs to expedite the inquiry to inform the school charges for the subsequent school calendar terms starting with term one of 2019.

It should be noted that in February 2017, ISER officials led by Executive Director, Salima Namusobya petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga demanding justification of non-tuition charges in government aided schools like development fees among others.

Now while appearing the MPs yesterday, Namusobya presented the general school fees structure for government aided schools for the 2018 three school calendar terms ranging between Shs800, 000 and Shs1.8m.

She tabled a photocopy of term three 2018 school fees circular from St. Henry’s College Kitovu for Senior Two students totaling to Shs1.065m. The circular highlights a breakdown of items being paid for including maintenance (Shs391, 600), feeding (300,000), Centenary Project Fund (Shs100,000), pastoral car (Shs35,000), school fees insurance (Shs35,000) and staff project (Shs40,000) among others.

ISER also tabled a 2017 Primary Two admission circular from Budo Junior School indicating payments totaling to Shs1.78m.

The payments include development and maintenance fees amounting to Shs400, 000, school uniform of Shs66,000 and school fees of Shs998,500 among other items.

Namusobya noted that as a result of these high fees, government aided schools are now a preserve of a few, who she said are mainly children from rich and wealth families with students from poor backgrounds unable to get admission in government schools due to high tuition and non-tuition fees.

She says high fees charged by government schools defeats the spirit of the country’s Vision 2040 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of leaving no one behind.

Namusobya cited several grounds including Article 30 of the Constitution which provides a right to education and other government measures to extend education to Ugandans, noting that there is no basis for government schools to charge exorbitant fees from learners.

She blamed the Education and Sports Ministry for not being emphatic on following up the implementation of several directives for schools not to hike tuition fees.

Namusobya appealed that the Committee demands the ministry to give justification for the continued investment of colossal public resources into government aided schools that are charging similar fees as private schools.

The CSO also wants the Ministry to set and strictly implement the minimum cost that is supposed to be charged by government aided schools.

Education Committee acting Chairperson Sheila Mwine said that they will invite school head teachers and officials from the Education Ministry and other stakeholders before writing a report to Parliament.

 

UCC Decries Theft Of Computers In Gov’t Schools

The Uganda communication commission (UCC) has called for a collaborated effort with the Ministry of Education and Police to end theft of computers in Government aided schools.

Appearing before the Committee of Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) on Friday, Abdul-Salam Waiswa, the  Head of Legal at UCC blamed the vice on the clique of people disguising as officials from the Commission  and ask head teachers for computers in the guise of repairing them, but  end up taking these computers from the schools.

He was responding to queries raised in the 2015/2016 audit report by the Auditor General where he noted that Rural Communications Development Fund has been funding ICT laboratories in schools but when auditors visited the established projects, they discovered that some of the computers were stolen, some desktops were unaccounted for, the laboratories lacked internet connectivity, some computers were uninstalled, others nonfunctional while some schools lacked qualified teachers.

Waiswa told the Committee that the Commission has so far registered 20 cases of theft of the school computers to police and some suspects have been arrested while some computers have been recovered.

He added that the theft of school computers is being worsened by laxity of school head teachers.

“As a Commission, we are concerned about the loss of these computers and we are in an effort to improve compliance and limit loss and we have a team of investigators and whenever we get these cases, we investigate them and as we speak now, we have four ongoing cases at Buganda Road Court,” Waiswa said.

 

He added: “We have arrested people and we are prosecuting them for participating in theft and also defrauding Head Masters. Some of them go to these rural areas and lie to these headmasters that they are working for UCC, UCC has sent them to pick the computers for maintenance and they ask for money like Shs1M and after familiarizing with these head teachers they come back next week and pick these computers.”

 

When asked by MPs if the Computers are engraved, Waiswa answered in affirmative saying some of these computers are engraved and this has helped the Commission make some recoveries.

 

“But the theft are worsened by laxity in school administration who need to be vigilant because ideally if you are the head master and somebody says he works for UCC,” Waiswa said.

 

The director of the Rural Communications Development Fund, Nyombi Thembo informed  the Committee that their  role is to supply these computers and it’s the role of the Ministry Of Education to ensure they remain operational and called for budget support from the Education Ministry in terms of servicing and maintaining these computers and labaratories.

 

On the concern raised by auditors of absence of IT teachers, Nyombi  said that  they have made a decision not to supply computers to schools without ICT clubs.

Zambia Suspends Ongoing Exams Over Cheating

Zambian education authorities have suspended national primary and secondary school examinations due to rampant malpractices, Daily Nation reports.

Education minister David Mabumba said on state television: “All the 2018, Grade Seven, Nine and 12 examinations have been suspended indefinitely following malpractices.”

He said an investigation has been opened “to ascertain the extent of the malpractices.

The minister was further quoted saying a mathematics Paper Two for Grade Nine, which was supposed to be written on Tuesday, leaked on social media, forcing the Examinations Council of Zambia to nullify the paper.

Mr Mabumba warned the perpetrators that they face serious punishment.

Zambia has previously grappled with examinations malpractices, but not to the extent of occasioning a suspension.

The Education ministry has been strict with its examinations administration in recent years, often recording zero malpractices in some years.

Zambia’s education system has undergone reforms, including building new schools in districts with funding from donor partners and Chinese loans and grants.

The country of 15 million has seen an upswing in the enrollment of Grade Ones as it seeks to leave no child behind in literacy. ​

 

George Weah Declares Free University Education For Liberians

The Liberian President, George Weah has declared free University education for undergraduates in public universities in Liberia.

Today, I’m excited to announce that I have declared the University of Liberia and all other Public Universities in Liberia tuition free for all undergraduates,” George Weah said in his official facebook page.

Weah succeeded Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected female president early this year. This is after the former celebrated footballer won a presidential runoff poll beating Joseph Boakai with more than 60% of the vote.

 

Balunywa Grilled On How Land Commission Compensated MUBS With Swampy Land

MPs on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Wednesday grilled Makerere University Business School (MUBs) Principal Prof. Waswa Balunywa on how the institution lost its titled prime land and instead got a swamp.

Apparently, the Uganda Land Commission gave out prime land belonging to MUBS to private developers and ended up compensating the institution with a swampy land.

While appearing before the Committee to respond to queries raised in the Auditor General’s report especially why MUBS had failed to occupy its  land in Kireka measuring approximately 0.906 hectares despite being in possession of the land title,  Balunywa said that the land came in form of compensation to MUBs by Uganda Land Commission following an out of court settlement for the loss of part of the School land at Bugolobi, which the Commission illegally allocated to private developers.

He acknowledged the failure by MUBS to take possession of the property, blaming the Land Commission for compensating MUBS with land that was later found to be swamp and efforts to have Commission provide another piece of land free of encumbrance, have hit a snug as the Land Commission failed to oblige.

“We were compensated but found it was in a swamp with squatters. Our attempt to secure land hasn’t been successful,” Balunywa said.

However, Committee Vice Chairperson, Gerald Karuhanga questioned why MUBs didn’t take the initiative to cross check the land before agreeing to the deal.

“They took a very prime land about 0.906 hectares and it is about four acres. You can imagine you lost acres in Bugolobi and you ended up with a swamp in Butabika-Kireka which is also having squatters. That is worth USD10M; it is about Shs40bn you lost in Bugolobi.”

The Committee agreed to summon officials from Uganda Land Commission to explain how this dubious transaction happened.

MUBS was also criticized by Auditors for injecting in Shs679m to carry out major works at Jinja-Narambhai campus without taking the initiative to obtain the land title from Jinja Municipal Council.

In defense, Balunywa asked PAC to intervene in the matter, saying that efforts to get the land title haven’t been successful in the last six years.

 

Laziness, Broke Parents Forcing Students Into Sexual Abuse-KYU VC

The Kyambogo University (KYU) Vice Chancellor, Prof. Elly Katunguka has blamed the increasing cases of sexual harassment in Universities to break parents who have neglected their responsibilities and lazy students.

He noted that the above factors are key in forcing students to resort to sexual relationships as a way of raising money to survive.

“One thing we have noted in our administration is that we have many students, especially girls who come to university and they don’t have adequate support from their parents or guardians. Many parents send these children to University and they don’t give them adequate support and these are lured into looking for opportunities to pay tuition fees and continue into education and most of them end up in sexual relationships with adults to be able to provide for them,” Katanguka said.

He added: “What is also clear is that many of our young girls don’t want to work hard, they are lazy, they go into night clubbing and yet at the end of the day, they want to pass and they end up seducing lecturers into these relationships.”

Katanguka made the remarks Tuesday while appearing before the Select Committee of Parliament set up to investigate cases of sexual violence in institutions of learning.

Kyambogo University staff appeared alongside officials from the Ministry of Education where Legislators tasked the Ministry and University officials to explain the policies in place to curb sexual violence so as to protect their students.

Katunguka said Kyambogo University has developed a gender policy to prevent sexual harassment among the students of the university.

The Select Committee followed the rampant cases of sexual violence in institutions of learning that prompted National Youth Representative (Female, Ann Adeke table a motion on the floor of Parliament on April 12, 2018 calling on Parliament to investigate cases of sexual violence in institutions of learning.

 

 

Victoria University Inks Deal With Top Swedish Med-Tech Company To Implement Health Diagnostic Tool In Uganda

Victoria University, one of Uganda’s fastest growing universities has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Swedish top med-tech company to help in implementing and evaluating efficiency of artificial intelligence diagnostic support platform.

The MoU was signed between Victoria University and One World Health and Byon8 at Victoria Tower in Kampala this week.

Byon8 is a Swedish Med-tech company developing intelligence technology for health care sector in Sweden and worldwide.

The company seeks to develop the next generation of health care using technologies such as artificial intelligence machine learning and block chain with dual goal of improving both quality of care and efficient delivery of health care services.

On the other hand, One World Health is a medical center based in Masindi district and offers full scope of health care to the communities delivered by trained residents and offered at affordable prices by every person in the community.

According to the MoU, Victoria University will lead in conducting research during implementation of the program in Uganda and collect all necessary data, answer research questions and analyze data.

Victoria University will also contribute to development of grant implementation for the project and produce final report answering the research question among other roles.

The university which boasts of strong health sciences department will be leading the work of evaluating the use of an AI digital tool for increasing efficiency and improving quality of care in a Ugandan health care setting.

Dr Krishna Sharma, the Victoria University Vice Chancellor in his remarks hailed the partnership between the three parties and said that the university will help in conducting research and providing the desired reports.