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Do You have a Choice in Integrating ICT in Education?

For some time now, I have heard people talking about ICT integration in Education and I am often disappointed with what exactly they refer to in this process. While we downplay this, I want to introduce another important concept and that is Pedagogical integration of ICT which refers to the integration of ICT in the art of teaching and learning. The teaching and learning process involves a vast variety of sub processes which include content authoring, content management, content storage, content presentation, content access, feedback provision, managing teaching, managing learning, managing educational resources amongst others. Therefore when we talk about integration of ICT in teaching and learning, it is important to take note of the exact level this will apply to!

Many people involved in the integration of ICT in Education focus on how to teach. However no much emphasis is put on how to manage the education process, which encompasses the teaching and learning activities. In this article I will take bias and consider what people know best in terms of ICT Integration in Teaching and Learning.

First of all, ICT integration in Education involves use of a variety of technologies depending on the main goals to be achieved. Some of the common technologies include; computers, projector, whiteboards, Learning Management Systems, cameras, mobile phones, video conferencing, internet, social media, digital repositories, search engines, etc. Selection on what technology to use during the integration is dependent on the readiness of the environment. Having the environment ready means that you have the right technologies to use, the stakeholders are literate in the use of the technologies, favorable frameworks/policies for integration, expertise to author, produce, package and present content plus the right attitude to change.

Let’s take a closer look at a teacher who is involved in tutoring, engaging and assessing the learner in order for them to construct their own knowledge. ICT integration in education has been very dependent on popular theories such as constructivism which stipulate that learners construct their own knowledge from what is offered to them during the teaching.

Therefore, how does a teacher make sure that the teaching environment is conducive for construction of personal knowledge?

Assuming that the teaching environment has adequate access technologies, how are teachers ready to integrate so that they produce learners who are 'knowledge able’ (can participate in the teaching) but not 'knowledgeable’ (just recipients of knowledge)?

Integration of ICT in teaching has been generally based on whether they are using ICT as direct substitute tools with no change (Substitute), direct tool substitute with functional improvements (Augmentation), tools for significant task re-design (Modification) or as tools for creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable (Redefinition). All these dimensions of teacher integration clearly depend on the available expertise and technologies as clearly defined by one author in the names of Puetendura in his SAMR model. Considering an example for each of the teacher integration dimensions discussed above, it should be noted that many of the implementers still have a lot to learn to suit the digital learners of today.

Taking an example of the substitution dimension, many teachers today have adopted the use of computers as substitution tools to do the following; prepare lecture notes, assignments and examination; use of PowerPoint presentations to deliver lectures; uploading teaching and learning materials on an e-Learning portal; supporting students through emails; referring students to electronic databases for reference materials; allowing students to submit their course work assignment through e-mail; and recording lectures on CDs/other media for students to access. In this case, what has been done by the teachers is to simply replace what used to be done in the absence of the technologies such as replacing type writers to produce documents with computers but with no significant change to their function. It is more of replacing writing on the blackboard with a computer and projector. My fellow teachers, can you do anything better with the technologies?

Considering the teachers who prefer to use ICTs as augmentation tools, they do so in the following ways;
  • Use search engines to look for vital research content for lectures
  • Use editorial tools in word processor to correct grammatical errors in any documents
  • Use online dictionaries like Wikipedia to make meaning of the words/phrases that are not understandable
  • Use digital libraries as a source of useful content for lectures
  • Use track changes tool to review or comment on documents
  • Use Internet group lists to contact students in matters related to their academics
  • Use citation tools like Endnote to improve on the citation and referencing quality of scholarly work
  • Encourage students to use Google docs to accomplish group assignments/course work
  • Use bulk messaging to contact students in matters related to their academics
  • Subject scholarly work to a plagiarism test using plagiarism detection software
  • Provide feedback to students’ reports, papers and assignments through their emails.

By doing the above, ICTs are being used as augmentation or enhancement tools in the teaching and learning process. Teachers in this case have deployed ICTs to enhance the actual learning process and transform it into a more engaging activity for the different stakeholders. It should be noted that lecturers changing from simply using ICTs as augmentation or enhancement tools to using them as transformation tools requires a paradigm shift and a great change in attitude.

When lecturers modify their use of ICTs in the teaching and learning process, they undertake activities that change how things were being done previously:
  • Use of blogs to discuss topics with the class before we meet in the lecture room for the lecture
  • Use of Skype to teach students when off campus
  • Supervising students using Skype, chat, viber, other similar functionalities
  • Use of Note Share application for creating, publishing and sharing information with students
  • Assigning students topics to research about from the Internet
  • Use of group discussion facilities on the internet
  • Use of cell phones to send academic support
  • Use of content authoring software
  • Supporting students through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Viber, chat rooms, discussion boards for educational purposes
  • Use of online assessment tools and video conferencing facilities
By doing so, the teachers are modifying how students participate in the learning process and hence make them 'knowledge able' students (students who participate in the actual knowledge creation). The digital students of today have ceased from being only knowledge recipients but have also become knowledge creators. Therefore any institution that does not integrate the modification dimension in the teaching and learning will produce graduates who are just knowledge seekers and not creators.

The last dimension, which is redefinition, is not a very common one amongst developing nations and it is not common to find lecturers using it. However, the redefinition involves engaging students in the use of open education resource as study materials, use electronic games/simulation/2nd life, virtual reality and use of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). The teaching in here is made more dependent to the student and knowledge creation is through extensive activities that need some expertise. Many of the ICT used for this form of teaching and learning are costly and not affordable for many of the developing world institutions.

UTAMU has practically enhanced its lecturers and students skills and hence a paradigm shift in the teaching and learning. Many of the lecturers are using ICTs as modification tools and already in later stages of accomplishing the adoption of the redefinition tools.

It is therefore incumbent upon each teacher out there to assess how they utilize the ICTs today and gauge themselves whether they are ready to teach the digital kids today or still lagging behind. You can use that smart phone you are carrying to engage your students to learn through Viber, Skype etc. Have you tried engaging your students on Facebook  and realised how learning would be modified? We should not be surprised when some of our students dodge classes for fear of facing that old-fashioned lecturer who keeps referring to 1952 text books.  We must embrace technology in order to remain dynamic, up-to-date and relevant in our careers.

A Sneak Peek into the life of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rehema Baguma

UTAMU News has been unveiling the life of UTAMU’s brilliant minds- call them dons in the previous issues of our Newsletter. And this week, the news team takes a sneak peek into the life of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rehema Baguma. How her journey has been and how she intends to live up the challenge.

Baguma holds a Bachelor of Information Science and a Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Science from Makerere University, a Master of Science in Computer Application Technology from Huazhong University in China and a PhD in Information Systems from Radboud University in Netherlands.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rehema Baguma answering questions to the PhD defence panel in Netherlands.
She is the Director Academic Affairs of UTAMU and she is also the Secretary to Senate. Rehema is passionate about providing quality teaching and learning activities in higher education institutions and researching on how to develop IT solutions that work for intended users UTAMU News team gives you an insight into the life of this exceptionally brilliant, down-to-earth hardworking joyful lady.

QN: You have quite a big task as a Director for Academic Affairs of a fast growing University like UTAMU; how do you intend to live up to the challenge?

It is a big challenge as you put it because the stakes are very high. But I am very confident we’ll exceed the public’s expectations in terms of standard and quality. We boast of a highly qualified and skilled team in both academic and administration. It is only at UTAMU where over 90% of lecturers on undergraduate programmes are PhD holders. It is true challenges are there but we are ready to take them on and turn them into opportunities.

QN: Where do you see UTAMU in the next five years?

In the next 5 years, UTAMU will be the leading University in Technology and management disciplines in the East African region. It will excel in teaching and research as well as produce highly sought after graduates that are well grounded in their fields of specialization, dynamic, practical and creative in their lives.

QN: A number of youths are crying of unemployment. What is UTAMU doing differently to address the youth unemployment crisis that has hit Uganda and other third world countries?

Our teaching and learning approach is student centered. Lecturers facilitate students to learn rather than spoon feeding them. Our learning activities involve active involvement of students through class presentations, discussion forums, and practical field assignments. In addition UTAMU has 4 months of community engagement/field attachment every end of academic year during which students deal with world problems in organizations/institutions. During this time, students acquire practical skills as well as vital life skills like communication and interpersonal relations that are currently lacking in today’s fresh graduates. By the time a student completes a three year course, he/she will have acquired a whole year’s working experience which will put him/her at a level higher than other fresh graduates. In addition, our teaching approach and one year community engagement enhance students’ critical thinking skills and creativity that shape them into dynamic, innovative and independent professionals who do not have to wait to be employed but can start their own businesses either through selling their skills or starting up small income generating projects.

QN: You have achieved so much at such a tender age; how have you managed?

My achievements so far are a result of hard work, determination, passion for whatever I decide to do, open-mindedness and faith in God.

Qn: Which books have you read that have really had an impact on your life?

I have learnt a lot from a number of books I have read. The ones that have greatly impacted my life include; Seven habits of highly effective people by Steven Covey; From Good to Great by Jim Collins; Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki; and The power of Positive Thinking by Reverend Dr. Norman Vincent.

Qn: Tell us how you manage to juggle work, family along with other responsibilities.

It is not easy but I manage through planning. I also have a supportive team both at work and back home.

Qn: What legacy would you love to leave?

I would love to be remembered as a woman who greatly contributed to improving the quality of higher education in Uganda and East Africa as well as research on value centred ICT solutions for developing countries.

Qn: Who inspires you in life?

My sweet mother.

The American President Barrack Obama. Having won a second term in office as president of the world’s super power (USA) blurred the line that existed between the black and the white race. I am now convinced beyond doubt that what a white man can do, a black man can also do. So, we no longer have any excuses for remaining backward or feeling inferior or even being made to believe that we are an inferior race!

The late Nelson Mandela inspires me a great deal. His 27 year painful selfless journey that liberated not only South Africans but all blacks throughout the world showcased his unrivalled personality. May his soul rest in peace.

QN: What’s your philosophy in life?

Give your best in whatever you do so that you do not regret.

Assoc. Prof.Dr. Rehema Baguma poses with her supervisor and the administrator after defending her PhD thesis.

Beware of Conmen

Conning is one of those silent vices that are taking shape in our society and spreading everywhere at a fast rate. I am sure most of us have heard of the tricks of conmen and even some could be victims of this vice. Tricksters are people who employ dubious methods in order to extort money from the public.

Early this month, I read a blog post on internet about a 66 year old American woman conned of $500,000 by a Nigerian man on a Christian dating website. The victim, a divorcee, joined the Christian Mingle and befriended this man who falsely claimed to be David Holmes masquerading as an Irish citizen. The man used a picture of a male model that he downloaded from internet to convince this lady to fall in love with him and conned her of millions of shillings. How absurd!

Another story here in Uganda ran last month of a 51 year-old female Filipino pastor who managed to obtain $ 8,280 from five believers of Lift Up Jesus Church in Kabale Municipality. He promised to take them to Israel for a pastoral course, through false pretence. He was later arrested by police.

Conmen are everywhere; along the streets, in shopping centres, entertainment spots and even churches! They project themselves as very responsible people who are smartly dressed but on a mission to con innocent people. No one bothers to discover their true identities until they fall victims.

These conmen take advantage our ignorance to trick us into false deals that rob us of our precious assets and hard earned cash. The funny part is that when one is conned, the public accuses him of not being sharp enough to notice conmen. In situations such as these, we ought to come up with solutions to the problem at hand. Let’s set measures and create awareness about this issue in our communities.

Just as the Bible teaches us in 1 Peter 5:8-9, every individual has to be sober-minded and watchful because the enemy who comes as an imposter or trickster prowls around you like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Remember the mission of the devil who is a professional trickster is to steal, kill and destroy. If he has stolen from you, be glad that you are not like people whom he has killed and robbed them of their property.

This is a wakeup call for us to be watchful always. Be vigilant on the streets, the people around you, on social media, at church, any time and place. Do not hesitate to share this message with someone else.

Conserving Environment is everyone's Responsibility

Uganda was known for welcoming visitors with a cool and fresh breeze thanks to her beautiful forests, wetlands and amazing scenery. Its’ no wonder that it was named the Pearl of Africa. But that is long gone. What used to be beautiful to look at no longer exists. The forests have been depleted; industrialization and construction have replaced our wetlands and environment has been degraded in general. The search for fuel, land for farming and the need to set up more factories have caused negative implications.

President Museveni while addressing the NRM caucus about Mabira saga said, “Mabira question has to be resolved quickly since the deadlock was holding a number of jobs that would be created in the sugar factory”. He was disappointed with MPs who had frustrated efforts of a number of investors that had interest in setting up factories in Mabira forest.

Uganda lost 26% of its forest cover just in past two decades according to the report released by United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization in 2006. The report also disclosed that 20 hectares of Mabira forest were under intensive tree cutting.

Deforestation has greatly contributed to environmental degradation

As some of us may be aware, wetlands too provide a large array of eco-system and other benefits like farming, fishing, livestock, filtering pollutants, regulating water flows(floods) and availing water in the dry seasons. For instance, If you checked what has been done to the Namungoona-Rubiji swamp, you would quickly conclude that we are indeed headed for trouble. We have witnessed what happens to Bwaise and neighboring areas whenever there are heavy rains. We have not learnt a lesson and we still go ahead to drain the swamps.

Statistics show that wetlands which covered 30,000sqkm in 1999 were reduced to 26308sqkm in 2008. If you cared to know how many square kilometers wetland cover today, I am sure it would be half the figure in 2008.

I am convinced that we can apply other measures to curb unemployment than merely degrading our environment. Forests and wetlands provide fresh air, boost tourism in our country, help in the formation of rain, regulate temperature and act as wind breakers among other benefits. We must all embrace tree planting and make Uganda a beautiful place it once was.

Are security checkpoints really relevant?

In the wake of the July 2011 bombings at Kyadondo Rugby Club and Ethiopian village in Kampala, security in Uganda was tightened. All buildings were required to have checkpoints at their entrances, with walk through metal detectors manned by several security personnel, "armed" with handheld detectors. Motor vehicle checkpoints were set up at entrances to malls, office buildings and practically every public place. Some "sensitive" places even had sniffer dogs to detect anything suspicious. There was a general sense of security.

However, in a matter of weeks, life had returned to normal. The checkpoints were relaxed, and some places didn’t even have checkpoints anymore. The security guards can only afford to wave at people past checkpoints or check some and leave out the others. The public also starts acting like they are no longer afraid of the potential threats and start harassing the security guards. Some even walk or drive past the checkpoint without stopping and poor guards just look on.

The checking itself is rather ineffective. Most of them check the glove box, peep into the back of the car, and sometimes ask you to open the trunk, which they casually look into and then wave you off without touching anything in the car. Sometime last year, I decided to see how long I could drive through check points with several bags and miscellaneous items in the car without them being checked. For over 8 months, the bags were never checked. I have had an uninterrupted drive in Kampala. The only thorough check point I encountered was at a small hotel in Kiira Town council. The lady properly checked and asked me about the items she couldn’t easily identify (some spare parts) and finally let me in. I was very irritated by the hassle she put me through, but I quickly realised that she was only doing her job.

Since then, I still drive through check points without being checked. Be it at shopping malls, hotels, office complexes, and even government offices. Some say that security guards only look at people’s faces and if they notice anything suspicious, they check further. But I disagree because most of the people checking don’t look or act like they have any serious training beyond how to operate a gun and probably a metal detector.

What gets more suspicious than a vehicle with several strange objects and bags? Do terrorists have badges or particular identities? I recently heard of a story of how a Somali family was checked very thoroughly at a checkpoint as several Ugandans walked by because the two personnel manning the checkpoint suspected they could be terrorists. If that methodology was to be employed, they would have to thoroughly check Moslems and Arabs too, which is racist, illogical and ineffective.

Research Methodology Workshop was a rewarding experience

Henry Ndinaiwe PhD
Candidate (Management)
The PhD course is indeed a lonely Journey. It takes a dedicated person to accomplish it. But the recently concluded 3 day Research Methodology workshop for PhD candidates gave relief to many of us who seemed to be stranded at different levels of the research proposal.

There was a heap of unanswered questions in my mind. I wondered if I would send all of them to my supervisor in just a single mail. The discussions I had with a few of my colleagues after the workshop pointed to one thing, the load we were carrying was indeed lifted off our shoulders.

The first day of the workshop wasn’t an easy moment for some of us as Prof. Benon Basheka asked us to present our progress reports. Incidentally, nobody could tell whether some had submitted or not. In a moment I could tell from the facial expressions that the majority had not submitted. Prof. Basheka somehow noticed that most of us were dodging his question. So he decided to give us a grace period to submit our reports.

In his presentation, Basheka gave a recap of the proceedings of the previous workshop last year. He proceeded with very interesting areas giving historical background and overview of all the disciplines including science and IT. Students wanted to capture every single word uttered by the Professor. The session became more interesting as Professor reviewed all the chapters of the research proposal from Choosing a topic, writing the introduction, Background, defining the problem, data analysis and discussing various models.

It was exciting to hear from Prof. Henk who has successfully supervised and graduated over 70 in Uganda. We listened to testimonies of 3 of his graduates and how their doctoral journeys were with Prof. Henk. This gave us not only confidence but determination as well.

He gave us key hints on choosing Research topics as a critical step in the Postgraduate research journey. Students looked in disbelief as he challenged their topics having noticed gaps. He was particularly skeptical about limiting majority of the topics to Uganda or particular areas calling it inappropriate.

Then Dr. Johnson Mwebaze came in with a presentation on Library search. I had all along thought I knew how to search for information on the internet but unfortunately, I appeared to know nothing given what Dr Johnson took us through. It was another discovery.

I want to believe UTAMU must be receiving few inquiries since the workshop. Dr Johnson just opened our eyes to a new world.

The third day brought in another brilliant don, Prof Jude T. Lubega. His guidance was across the entire research process including article writing. He brought in another interesting part of maintaining a close relationship with our supervisors. His presentation was worthwhile.

To sum this up, it was a fulfilling and rewarding experience. The expertise exhibited by all the facilitators was exceptional. The openness from both the participants and facilitators was remarkable. I believe we need more of these workshops at shorter intervals. UTAMU is indeed rising to the top.

UTAMU sets up PhD Resource Centre

The Post Graduate Resource Centre is located at UTAMU's newly acquired
premises in Bugolobi
UTAMU has set up a Post Graduate Resource Centre specifically meant for PhD students. The state-of-the-art centre is equipped with facilities to aid PhD students in reading and research.

According to Prof. Benon Basheka, the Coordinator of the MUST-UTAMU PhD Programme, the centre will provide a good reading environment to the students and will always be fully equipped with modern computers and full time fast internet connection.

Basheka further noted that PhD students will use the centre to interface with their supervisors.

Some PhD students are already utilising the newly set up Post Graduate
Resource Centre

Walking the Miles: Transformation of Karamoja region through university education

On 23rd January 2014, I had a privilege of travelling to Karamoja to spend a few days as I studied the area and assessed how this part of Uganda could also benefit from prospects of quality higher education. Beautiful Karamoja, is what I choose to call it; very well endowed. Full of raw materials like cement, marble, gold, name it. And of course the vast (flat) plain land that can be used for modern agriculture. So why then is it that this wonderful place has high poverty rates, high illiteracy rates, inadequate health care and generally low quality of life compared to other regions in Uganda?

As I moved around this wonderland, I couldn’t help observing the government’s initiatives to address the challenges in the area. The government of Uganda has built valley dams and water is no longer a problem in Karamoja region. Electricity too has been extended to Moroto District. The road network within Karamoja region is great and efforts are already underway to link it with neighbouring countries. The Karamoja cluster stretches to South Sudan, Southern Ethiopia and Western Kenya.

Together with several of my colleagues, we had the privilege of interacting with the (local) leaders and the business community in the Karamoja region. From these interactions, one thing was clear: one of the key interventions that could transform this amazing area is establishment of a University within Karamoja region. My mind wondered as I thought of Mukono, Kansanga, Mbarara and Gulu. These areas have been transformed by their Universities. ‘Why not Karamoja?’ I thought! The more I thought and talked about it, the more I got convinced that a quality University would move a long way in improving Karamoja region by attracting the world to it and growing its capacity in all aspects.

It was then that we all agreed that we move towards the establishment of ‘’Karamoja University of Technology and Management (KUTAM). KUTAM is not some dream that will take ages to be achieved; Come 2016, the very first University in Karamoja region will open its doors to its pioneer students.

KUTAM will initially start as a campus of UTAMU and its facilities should be in place within the next three months. In the next three years leading to September 2016, state of the art infrastructure and facilities for the following faculties of KUTAM should be in place: Faculty of Medicine; Faculty of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences; Faculty of Science and Engineering; and Faculty of Computing and Business.

With this in place, I have no doubt that KUTAM will catalyse socio-economic transformation of Karamoja region. And this is how I see it all happening:

  1. The Faculty of Medicine shall have highly qualified medical doctors and nurses resident in the region who shall dedicate part of their time to providing health services within the region thus turning most of the hospitals and health centres in the region into teaching hospitals / health centres.
  2. The Faculty of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences shall setup modern demonstration farms in the region but also provide technical support to the famers to modernize their farms.
  3. The staff and students in the Faculty of Science and Engineering shall provide expertise in the planned industrial sector in the region as regards exploration, mining, manufacturing, and value addition. The students shall also serve as interns in the local industries and institutions.
  4. The Faculty of Computing and Business shall provide training to both students and the Karamoja community in ICT and business skills. This will be in addition to providing training at diploma and degree level in the same disciplines.

Just like UTAMU, KUTAM will uphold principles of community engagement/field attachment for all its students for four months each year of their course of study. Often, it has been rare to find University students doing their internship / field attachment in Karamoja region. Students of KUTAM will open the region to many prospects and it will slowly turn into a hub of great employment opportunities for Ugandans. Just like we have seen in other regions in Uganda, KUTAM will bring about extraordinary socio-economic benefits in this region.

Looking at Karamoja, I thought to myself: KUTAM can’t be all that Karamoja region needs. There is also need to have several institutions in the area of business, technical and vocational studies since not everybody has to go to University. The country needs many certificate and diploma holders in these areas. The Karamoja region needs continued intervention from government, development partners and the private sector to bring about holistic development of the region. For example with the current poverty rates there, it will be close to impossible to have many Karamajong affording to pay for their children in University. Scholarships for these ought to be in place!

We started UTAMU with a mission of providing global education research and innovation critical to economic and human development. As UTAMU we plan to establish 5 campuses in less privileged / disadvantaged districts in Uganda that shall eventually transform into independent universities as part of our contribution to socio-economic transformation.

As JF Kennedy put it, "Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource." One thing is certain; all parts of Uganda need access to quality education within their regions if we are to develop equitably as a nation.

Doctoral Students to Acquire Quality PhD's - DVC

The Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof. Jude T. Lubega has highlighted the significance of adhering to transparent procedures for supervision, monitoring and assessment as measures that will ensure quality PhDs.

He made the remarks at the closure of the 3 day Research Methodology Workshop that was held at UTAMU Resource Centre in Bugolobi. The workshop which kicked off on Friday 24th January 2014 was concluded on Sunday 26th January 2014.

"If there is anything that we cannot compromise at UTAMU, it is quality assurance. We shall do anything within our reach to ensure that you acquire credible and quality PhDs"

Lubega assured the PhD students that UTAMU had put in place measures to continuously monitor and assess their progress and that of the supervisors. 

He also urged students under the MUST-UTAMU PhD programme to take full control of their PhD journey and not to wait for supervisors to lead them.

UTAMU & Limpopo Dons acquire Research Funds

The Dean of the School of Business and Management Professor Benon C. Basheka together with his counterparts Prof. Fuluthelo G. Netswera, the Director of Turfloop Graduate School of Leadership at the University of Limpopo and Prof Kedipo Phagho, the head of Public Administration department at the University of Limpopo have won a grant from National Research Foundation in South Africa to undertake research in the East and South African regions.

The dons together with other academics from Tanzania and Uganda will carry out a 3 year research project on 'huge defaults and non-payment behavior for basic municipal services in East Africa'.

Professor Netswera and Phagho are also adjunct professors at UTAMU and have been central in the ongoing collaborative initiatives between UTAMU and the University of Limpopo.

"This research will offer a number of benefits like scholarships for students on PhD and Masters Programmes who will specialize in areas of municipal governance and leadership. The project will also see joint regional conferences and seminars organized to discuss important topics of municipal governance. It will result into joint peer reviewed journal publications as well as co-authorship of books and book chapters which will undoubtedly enhance the research standing of UTAMU, the University of Limpopo and other partnering institutions", Basheka highlighted. Professor Basheka is also a visiting professor at Turfloop Graduate School of leadership.

Basheka says this is an important policy area of research owing to the fact that there is an increasing trend of non-payment for municipal services. "The overall aim of the research is to study, understand and interpret through the application of a critical social theory what informs societal behavior when it relates to the payment, non-payment and withdraw of rates and taxes from the local municipalities", he emphasized.

The project will be pioneered in Kampala, Daar el Salaam and South Africa before it can be rolled out to other African countries.

On 20th November 2013, representatives from UTAMU, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, University of Limpopo and Human Sciences Research Council in South Africa agreed to join forces to undertake collaborative educational activities in a bid to improve the quality of higher education on the continent by signing a memorandum of understanding.

A team from Uganda led by the UTAMU Vice Chancellor involving the Vice Chancellor of MUST, the Executive Director of National Council for Higher Education and Prof. Basheka has been invited to South Africa to discuss further collaborative engagements.

Strive to Acquire Unique Competencies

Just as an individual gets over the excitement (or depression) of adolescence, success becomes a prime item among the many aspirations. Indeed, one of the targets of a teenager is to systematically move towards a fruitful and rewarding career life.

Many people have sacrificed important things in life in exchange for career. In the west, some people end up sacrificing their families in exchange for career. At the same time, families of successful career people tend to be well endowed especially in material things. People work so that their labour can be rewarded. The reward may be financial, recognition, material or monumental. Sometimes it’s a combination of any of them. Rarely does financial reward miss. In cases where it misses, such a career is considered a vocation.

I have interviewed a couple of prospective candidates and rarely are they asked to explain why they expect that a certain amount of money. In cases where they are asked, they give reasons like “rent is worth X, transport Y then feeding Z, A for small eventualities and then B as savings. The appropriate salary is therefore C = X+Y+Z+A+B”.

What often misses from their reasoning is that a workplace is way different from a parent who owes a child a living. A workplace has a strategic plan with aims and objectives to be achieved. A candidate who cannot explain how he/she can help in achieving the company’s objectives during the interview stands no chance in getting value C as salary even if the organization can afford it. Any candidate must strive at convincing the panel that he/she has the capacity to lead the organization to greater heights.

So, if you are pursuing a successful career, ask yourself how much skilled you are and how the company can benefit from your abilities and competencies. Many organisations actually create positions and salaries to accommodate a highly skilled employee. We must focus on our competencies and skills and how we can outperform the rest. The rest will fall into place.

In 2010, the median weekly earnings in UK was GBP 499 while football Clubs were recruiting players earning GBP 200,000 weekly. Such players never cited transport and rent costs – rather they cited their ability.

Peter Ssematimba, the Proprietor of Super FM advertised for a job recently. People applied, he interviewed candidates and one of them scooped the job. A day later a guy who learnt of the offer late came and talked to him and he clearly told him the job was given to someone. He tried to convince him in vain. So he decided to go the parking lot and waited for him there.

As Peter was entering his car, he engaged him in a discussion

Job Seeker:Please give me a chance. I really need this job

Peter: Young man, how many times do you want me to tell you that job was given to someone?

Job Seeker:You have missed out. I would have made a lot of money for you Mzee!!!

Peter: What? Come and tell me how you were going to make more money for Super F.M?

He explained and a position was created for him. A word is enough for a wise man.

Corruption should be Condoned

National Resistance Movement (NRM) has adopted countless strategies from the time it assumed power in 1986 in a bid to curb corruption and embezzlement of public funds in vain.

The NRM -10 points programme clearly streamlines corruption as one of the vices that government was dedicated to fighting.

The ruling party envisions a peaceful, united and transformed Uganda. Just as Christians are patiently for Jesus to return, Ugandans will have to wait much longer for a transformed country given the soaring rate of corruption scandals in the country lately. Our leaders have completely forgotten that their duty is to serve; offer service above self, have discipline, listen to people’s pleas than mere than politicking, think critically for the people they lead and above all have a sense of patriotism.

In his own words, during the annual retreat of 2013, President Y.K Museveni said, “you are the gate keeper of the people’s money. You should protect it because you are protected by the laws and the constitution”, he told participants.

While there are registered achievements over the last 27years, corruption seems to have got a fertile breeding ground in Uganda and those implicated somehow get away with it.

Research reveals that tax payers have lost shillings 2.6trillion or more than quarter of 10 trillion national budget since 1996 in major corruption scandals.

I appreciate the fact that corruption is everywhere and curbing the vice is no easy task. But let the law take its course. If anyone tampers with public funds, let him be brought to book. 2013 saw several donor countries withdrawing their support to Uganda because of failure to produce accountability. This slows the process of development for projects are brought to a standstill.

Corruption taints our image as a nation and scares away investors. It deprives the taxpayer of value for money. So citizens won’t access quality basic services like health, education, name it because someone in a given office is selfish. 

Parents should instill the value of honesty in their children while they are still toddlers. Our leaders too should serve people’s interests. To lead is to serve and not to take advantage of subordinates by exploiting them. Those that court finds guilty must serve their punishments and also have their properties sold to recover the funds.

Godfrey Kazinda, former principal accountant in the OPM was implicated over charges of corruption.

Innovation will outdo Unemployment!

Unemployment is fast becoming a threat not only to leaders but even those that are unemployed especially the youth. Even those that are still in school are already frustrated and wondering whether they will find jobs. Some are even wondering why our parents still have to spend lots of money educating us. This is the reason why some University students decide to invest their tuition in business projects because they believe these fetch instant profits compared to education. Back in the day, by the time one finished University, he was assured of a job opportunity. This is no longer the case given the increase in the number of graduates. Government can no longer provide jobs for hundreds of thousands of graduates. Parents back in villages think that their efforts have not paid off. It is counted as wasted energy. Ugandan graduates today cannot contribute anything to the development of society, save for roaming streets of Kampala searching for jobs. But who is to blame? The greatest percentage will say government has failed its citizens by not investing in creation of industries and factories to cater for the students after University. Others will blame their poor parents and so on. But the reality is that government cannot provide employment opprtunities to all students in Uganda. Currently, the status of unemployment is 62% according to the report that was released by the Mondo Kyateka on Feb 1 2013. In his report, he noted that unemployment rate among the youth poses a serious threat to the well being of society. If the greatest percentage of the population is unemployed, Uganda should then brace herself for more crimes and high levels of dependence. Graduates must have unique skills that will make them competitive in the job market. This seems to perplex every Ugandan. We need to open up our minds to a world of challenges and craft solutions for them. Thinking outside the box means engaging in innovative projects, acquiring vocational and entrepreneurship skills. I believe these aspects will undo all the chains that have tied us into the sack of unemployment. Everyone seems to marvel at Mark Zuckerberg's innovation of facebook. His company today has 1.15 billion monthly users. And if you took time to find out how much he earns daily, you will have no option but to strive and come up with innovative ideas too. If Uganda is to reduce on the unemployment rate, we must tune our mindsets to acquiring life skills that will enable us to sustain our selves after school and be competitive in the job market not only locally but also globally. Think not of what government can do for you, but what you can do for yourself and ultimately for your government.

Uganda Cranes can do better

Uganda Cranes was eliminated after they suffered a 3-1 loss against the Atlas Lions of Morocco in the ongoing CHAN tournament in South Africa. The African championship tournament brings together teams from different countries in Africa.

The defeat left many Cranes supporters disappointed and frustrated. Those who travelled to South Africa to cheer up the team wished they had not spent their dimes.

Uganda Cranes has had the opportunity to participate in many tournaments but for most, they haven’t gone further than the group stages. This raises some important question for all of us. Why not us? What can we do to win the tournaments?

The chairman of the parliamentary committee in charge of education and sports Hon. Sylvia Namabidde blames the cranes defeat on insufficient funds to the Uganda cranes and the misunderstandings within the federation that governs football in Uganda.

Some sports analysts say that lack of a professional league in the country could have contributed to the loss. Best players in Uganda Cranes like Ibrahim Sekagya, Emmanuel okwir and David Obua play for different leagues outside the country and their absence in such tournaments affects the team build up.

Fans cheering Uganda Cranes football team.

Cranes Coach Micho registered positives after the game and I quote, “I am happy that although we did not qualify, we managed to win one game. A draw and the defeat we suffered are way better than 2011 cranes’ performance where we lost all the games," Micho told a post-match briefing.

Amidst all this, I think the reason the Uganda cranes didn’t qualify for the knock out stages of the CHAN tournament, is lack of confidence. They started the campaign well with a win against Burkina Faso and if they had continued with the same spirit they would have done better.

All hope isn’t lost though; other campaigns like the African cup of Nations tournament are around the corner. So Uganda Cranes should pick up their broken pieces, reogarnise the club and make Ugandans proud once again.

UTAMU hosts 2nd Methodology Workshop

Students under the MUST–UTAMU PhD program are being hosted to another Research Methodology Workshop today Friday 24th January 2014. The workshop which has kicked off today will be concluded on Sunday 26th January 2014.

Over 80 PhD students have attended the workshop and will be given more insight on various concepts of advanced research methodology, how better they can streamline their research topics, objectives and research designs.

Areas of study under the MUST- UTAMU joint PhD collaboration include; Science, Computing, Public Administration, Economics, Management, Business Administration and Development studies.

The workshop which is taking place at UTAMU Resource Centre in Kiswa, Bugolobi is being facilitated by Professors Henk G. Sol, Venansius Baryamureeba, Benon C. Basheka and Associate Professors John Ngubiri and Florence Tushabe.

The first research methodology workshop for the MUST-UTAMU joint PhD students was held on 20th November 2013. The Dean of the school of Business and Management Prof. Benon Basheka, who is also the overall Coordinator of the PhD programmes says such workshops are aimed at enhancing research skills of the PhD scholars.

Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) together with UTAMU developed this joint institutional capacity building programme that focuses on PhD training by research in a bid to fill the educational gaps at doctoral levels in the East African region. This partnership was later joined by the University of Limpopo and the Human Sciences Research Council in South Africa in November last year.

PhD Workshop in Pictures

A section of PhD students at the workshop.

Prof.dr. Henk G. Sol addressing the PhD students

Prof. Basheka (L), Dr. Joyce Nabende and Dr. Annabella Habinka

UTAMU becomes a beehive of activity during the workshop.

DAA urges students to work hard and excel

The Director for Academic Affairs Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rehema Baguma has urged students to fasten their belts by giving their studies the attention and time they deserve so as to excel.

"Continuous Assessment 1, 2 and 3 are just a few weeks away from now. You need to tighten your belts and go an extra mile in preparing for assessment", Baguma stressed.

She disclosed that while continuous Assessment 1 & 2 are scheduled for 7th February 2014, Assessment 3 will be done on 28th March 2014.

Unlike Assessment 1 & 2 which students can attempt online, Continuous Assessment 3 is a face to face test where all UTAMU students are expected to appear physically at campus to engage in this activity.

Dr. Baguma also urged students not to miss out on any of these assessment programs for they are a basis upon which their progress will be evaluated.

"All the 3 continuous assessments contribute 30% to the final score of the given course while exams contribute 70%", Dr. Rehema noted. She called upon students to prepare in advance to take part in this coming exercise.

Brains at work: UTAMU Students in the computer lab

University Education Needs an Overhaul

"To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often." These were the exceptional words of Winston Churchill, greatest wartime leader in history. As a higher education expert, I never get tired of watching the progress of higher education in my country. The question that never leaves my mind is; are we embracing change and progressing?

I would not consider myself genuine if I didn't acknowledge that the education system in higher institutions of learning in Uganda has undergone enormous transformation and continues to transform. As a major player in higher education, I long to see transformation in this sector. I have every reason to believe that my colleagues are doing the same.

Until 1988, Makerere University was the only University in Uganda. Between 1988 and 1989, Islamic University in Uganda and Mbarara University of Science and Technology were established. Today, we boast of over 30 universities in Uganda, both public and private.

Till 1990, all the students in public universities in Uganda were government sponsored. In the same year, the private student's scheme was introduced to open doors to private students to join Makerere University under private sponsorship. Today every public University in Uganda has privately sponsored students alongside the government-sponsored students. Transformation indeed has taken place. But Winston Churchill never said we stop changing. And so the changes in higher education have brought with them challenges that necessitate continuous change.

Some of the notable challenges that Ugandan universities are facing include but not limited to: ineffective legal framework, weak oversight bodies, inadequate infrastructure, insufficient qualified human resources and low tuition fees among others.

One of the major weaknesses of the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act 2001, as amended (herein referred to as the Act) is that it puts a lot of emphasis on public universities yet today we have only 6 public universities compared to over 24 private universities. At the time of enactment of this Act in 2001, this was not envisaged. It is thus prudent to review the act to focus on both public and private universities in equal measure to facilitate the much needed change in the higher education sector in Uganda.

Reforms in university education will improve the quality of human resource in Uganda.
Section 5 of the same Act further provides for the functions of the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) and one of them being to monitor, evaluate and regulate institutions of higher education. Yet when it comes to the composition of NCHE as provided for in Section 7 of the Act, at least 50% of the members are officers and staff of the institutions the NCHE is supposed to oversee. With this kind of structure, one keeps wondering; whose interests do these officers and staff of universities and other tertiary serve? Will they be more inclined to NCHE or the universities they work for? The significance of segregation of duties in ensuring regulation, oversight and quality assurance is one that cannot be disregarded even in the education sector.

NCHE currently regulates both universities and tertiary institutions. However, my take is that due to the uniqueness of the universities, NCHE should be split into the National Council for Universities (NCU) and the National Council for Tertiary Institutions (NCTI). This would improve areas of regulation, monitoring and evaluation of the higher education institutions.

Section 40 of the Act provides for functions of the University Council and specifically provides that this council shall be the supreme organ of Public University and shall be responsible for overall administration of the objects and functions of the university. Most councils have failed to function as supreme organs of public universities and always refer their decisions to government for guidance instead of them guiding the government. Indecision by most councils of public universities is slowly killing them.

Section 38 of the Act provides for the composition of the University Council. As per this composition more than 50% of the members of the Council of a public university are staff of the University. In short, University Council meetings have been degraded to internal University staff meetings. This contravenes the basic principles of corporate governance. The above composition of University Councils is considered a disaster in corporate governance. Staff and students of an institution cannot sit on the governing board of the same institution to govern themselves.

Section 41 (c) empowers councils of public universities to fix scales of fees and boarding charges. The government has not allowed the councils of public universities to exercise these powers. As a result fees paid in public and some private universities are below the unit cost a thing that compromises quality. Just as NCHE sets minimum standards for courses / academic programmes, it should set minimum fees for these courses / academic programmes to guard against universities charging fees that cannot assure quality training. The loan scheme, if fully implemented, would enable poor university students to meet fees compliants with NCHE minimum standards.

As per Sections 31-35, there is always conflict among top managers of universities as a result of indistinctness of duties of top management; the Academic Registrar and Deputy Vice Chancellor are in charge of Academic Affairs; University Secretary and Deputy Vice Chancellor are in charge of Finance and Administration; and University Secretary and Vice Chancellor. The Act needs to streamline responsibilities of these top university managers to ensure progress of their institutions.

Section 68(1) provides that each Public University may have an academic staff association, an administrative staff association and a supporting staff association but it does not provide for functions and powers of such associations. Staff associations in most public universities are supreme organs and university councils end up doing what staff want. There is need to streamline roles of these associations.

For universities to provide quality education, the role of a conducive learning environment and skilled academic staff is paramount. It is absurd that many lecturers in higher education institutions lack pedagogical, andragogical and assessment skills that are critical to the learners. So as a matter of national policy, we need to make possession of a Postgraduate Certificate in Education mandatory for all teaching staff at universities. While NCHE is playing quite a good role in assessment of university programmes, there is need to develop capacity to monitor compliance.

Universities need to be commended on human resource development initiatives that have seen some of their staff attain PhDs. Nevertheless, most universities lack sufficient qualified academic staff and as a result faculties, schools, institutes and departments are headed by Master's holders yet these units are mandated to promote research and postgraduate training, including PhD training. In Uganda, PhD training is still undeveloped. It is time to build capacity in Ugandan institutions by boosting affordable PhD training.

For a university, human resource is the biggest but most mismanaged asset. Academic staff always have problems to do with delayed promotion, lack of staff development funds, funding for participation in academic functions, lack of recognition, poor working environment and meager pay among others.

While universities have put in place teaching and research laboratories, they are still not enough. Some universities still lack physical infrastructure including space for laboratories, tutorials, lectures and offices. Lack of facilities to enable quality training is contributing to unskilled graduates, which leads to unemployment. There is need for government to step in and upgrade facilities as part of ensuring quality education for Ugandan citizens.

The changing era has dictated that children now access education facilities at an early age. Before the 90s, most students joining universities were above 20years. These days majority are 18 years old having started primary education at 5years. Therefore most university students today are below 20 years and need guidance and counseling to model them into responsible citizens.

It is unfortunate that most universities focus on providing lectures to students after which students go to hostels to tussle out life challenges on their own.It is time for universities to be embedded with roles of providing parental support, instilling discipline, providing guidance and counseling to students among their core functions. Professionalism does not only come with academic excellency but moral uprightness too. Education institutions can't run away from this fact.

With all these challenges, my question comes back to you; are we changing enough to guarantee progress? My take is that if Winston Churchill was here, he would give us a spank so we can change as often as possible. We cannot shy away from the fact that a complete overhaul in our education system is urgently needed and together, we can achieve a lot.

ICT tools like computers aid both learning and teaching processes

Board of Trustees Laud UTAMU Progress

Members of the UTAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) have lauded UTAMU Vice Chancellor Prof. V. Baryamureeba and the entire UTAMU community for the progress the University has registered over the last one year.

This was during the second BOT meeting held at UTAMU Head office at Twed Towers on 14th January 2014 chaired by Prof. Henk G. Sol, the UTAMU Chairperson BOT.

The meeting was also attended by BOT Vice Chairperson Dr. Thelma Awori, UTAMU Vice Chancellor Prof. V. Baryamureeba and BOT members Dr. Johnson Nkuhe and Rev. Dr. George K. Tibesiigwa. Dr. Wasiyo Khaitsa attended the meeting from America via Skype.

During the meeting, the board members also urged Prof. Baryamureeba to ensure that UTAMU maintains its unique position of playing a pivotal role in the region without compromising quality. "There are three important requirements a university must have; one is quality, the second one is quality and the third is quality," Prof. Henk stressed.

L-R: Dr. Jonathan Nkuuhe, Dr. Thelma Awori, Prof. Dr. Henk G. Sol, Rev. Dr. George K. Tibesigwa and Prof. Baryamureeba
Prof. Baryamureeba assured the team that UTAMU was already ensuring quality through the newly set Quality Assurance Department at the university. "Quality is part of our values; it is for this reason that we decided to set up a fully fledged department to continuously monitor our activities and enforce quality," Baryamureeba assured the Board of Trustees.

BOT Vice Chairperson Dr. Thelma Awori underscored the importance of orienting all UTAMU staff and students to understand the philosophy of quality at UTAMU. The BOT also laid strategies on the various roles they would play to ensure UTAMU holds onto its position as the MIT of Africa.

This was the second BOT meeting since the inception of UTAMU as a university. The first BOT meeting was held on 23rd July 2013.

Besides the BOT meeting, Prof. Dr. Henk G. Sol has used his visit to Uganda to interact with various Phd students in Uganda and members of UTAMU management. Henk is currently supervising 25 Ugandan students who are pursuing PhDs with University of Gronigen by distance. A number of Ugandans have graduated with PhDs from Groinigen under his supervision

Prof. Henk and management members pose for a group photo.

UTAMU January Semester Begins

The January Semester at UTAMU began on 10th January 2014. Both the continuing and new students reported to UTAMU Resourse Centre in Bugolobi to commence their studies.

A formal orientation session which was organised for all new students started at 2pm and was attended by new students and a cross section of members of the UTAMU Management team.

The interactive session which was presided over by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. V. Baryamureeba was attended by students, teaching staff and management.

The newly admitted students are enrolled for Bachelor of Information Systems Technology programme though UTAMU runs a number of programmes throughout the year.

During the exercise, UTAMU Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof. Jude.T Lubega urged the new students to live responsibly in order to achieve their academic goals at UTAMU. "There are so many things out there that might distract you from concentrating on your studies. Watch out! Life is so precious and you ought to live responsibly", Prof. Jude observed.

Prof. Jude T. Lubega
He particularly encouraged them to give their studies the attention and the time they deserve, consult lecturers and mentors as well as make full use of the learning resources available so as to accomplish their dreams.

The Vice Chancellor on the other hand, Prof. V. Baryamureeba called upon the newly admitted students to fully utilize the exceptional learning resources at UTAMU which will not only help them to excel in their studies but also turn them into citizens Uganda can be proud of.

Prof. Baryamureeba
"UTAMU employs unique techniques of teaching. Our staff members are the best scholars Uganda has ever had. Our teaching approach is student- centred and we pride in our e- learning system. Maximize all these resources, excel and transform the world", Baryamureeba emphasized.

He further emphasized the fact that UTAMU cannot compromise quality adding that many of those who applied to join UTAMU were not admitted. "We are not interested in big numbers. We are interested in the quality of those we admit because at the end of the day, they will promote our brand", he reiterated.

Admission for the May 2014 intake is open and people across the country have an opportunity to enroll for undergraduate courses at UTAMU as well as Executive training programmes.

The Academic staff of UTAMU pose for a group photo with the new students

UTAMU Partners with Shenyang Aerospace University

UTAMU has partnered with Shenyang Aerospace University (SAU) in China to offer knowledge exchange programmes. Shenyang Aerospace University is one of the key aeronautical and astronautical universities in China and is known for its special focus on fields of computing and engineering.

Partners from both institutions agreed to join forces to offer quality computing and engineering courses through exchange programmes. The memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed on 15th January 2014. Richard Chen from Shenyang Aerospace University (SAU) and Assoc. Prof. John Ngubiri were signatories to the MOU.

UTAMU Team meets the Chinese delegation at Twed towers
Activities to be undertaken under this program include; lecturers from both institutions teaching in either University, joint research projects and scholarships programs. Students will also have an opportunity to enroll for internships from either UTAMU or SAU.

With this MOU in place,UTAMU is now a registered agent of over 50 Bachelor's and Master's programmes offered at SAU.

This collaboration will basically benefit those in the School of Computing and Engineering and programmes under this partnership include; Computer Science, Information Systems, Information Technology and Networking.

Prof. V. Baryamureebasaid this partnership with Shenyang Aerospace University affirms the fact that UTAMU is on the right path of becoming the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) of Africa.

Prof. Baryamureeba exchanges the MOU with his Chinese counterpart Richard Chen. Dr. Ngubiri (L) and Dr. Tushabe (R) look on.