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My Blog

Poll Question

Six pregnant girls were barred from sitting for their end of semester exams on 16th April 2014 by the administration of Bishop Barham University College in Kabale on account that they were pregnant yet they are not married. MPs and health rights activists have since come out strongly to protest their suspension. Do you think the University was justified to act in this manner?

Is there any other penalty the administration would have extended to the students besides preventing them from doing exams?

Poll Question

On 5th April 2014, Uganda woke up to sad news of a UPDF soldier in Ntoroko District, Western Uganda who shot 9 people dead and left 25 others seriously injured. This is not the first time police officers have been involved in mass killing, domestic violence and murder. Ironically, these are people whose mandate is to protect people and their property.

What do you think should be done to tame police officers to use their arms in an appropriate manner?

Getting the Best Out of Internship

Time has come for students to go to the field for community engagement or call it internship. It's a rite of passage that many people endure to acquire top positions. Even the most successful people in various careers paid their dues as interns before they became thriving CEOs. Internship helps students to gain professional experience, develop confidence and self-discipline and acquire abilities to develop networking relationships. It is important however that during internship, you not only enjoy the time you spend there but you also benefit from it.

Here are a few tips to help you get the best out of your internship;

Create a lasting impression. Dressing professionally, good time management, respect for workmates, meeting deadlines and handling responsibilities on time are some of the things that will make a lasting impression. This is what is expected of you as an Intern. Be mindful that you are not only managing your own image but you are also representing your university and future students interested in internship.

Communication. As you step into a new environment, you will have an outsider's perspective. Be diplomatic and professional. Be mindful how you communicate to your supervisor and co-workers; avoid sharing criticism about your workplace. Ask questions in order to identify who does what, clarify timelines and expectations of who you will work with, how you will gather information and what you are expected to produce.

Tackle all tasks with a positive attitude and enthusiasm. Companies always want to retain an intern who goes an extra mile in executing his duties. You might consider working extra hours, appreciate a busy working environment, be flexible, express your willingness to be of help and always offer assistance to the team in order to achieve company goals.

Take an initiative. If you are not given enough work, be resourceful. Suggest projects that you can take on. Ask if you can attend staff meetings, conferences and lectures to get further information and insight into the issues paramount to your organization. Take training opportunities seriously and take good notes.

Avoid Negativity. The quickest way to kill a good internship is being negative. So, avoid complaining, being rude, disrespecting coworkers, being close‐minded, appearing arrogant, acting unprofessionally, appearing inflexible and taking part in office politics.

Networking. Take time to get to know your co-workers. Do not just interact with other interns. Identify colleagues whose work interests you and actively seek their advice and guidance. Ask them to introduce you to people and organizations related to your field of interest. Record every person you meet or keep their business cards safely. This could be a good resource for you at a later stage.

Career development. Keep notes about your involvement in projects during your internship. These notes will be very helpful when updating your resume and could help you summarize your achievements for your supervisor at the end of your internship. Evaluation. When internship is finally done, you will be evaluated or required to make a presentation to staff or a report. Use this opportunity to reflect on your strengths and accomplishments. Clearly point out what you benefited from internship. Make specific practical suggestions of tasks rather than general comments or critiques of individuals.

Before departure. Ask your supervisor if you could use them as your references. Talk with your supervisor and coworkers about opportunities for future work with the organization or within the field. Provide your supervisor with a record of your key tasks and accomplishments.

Update your resume. Update your resume with your new set of skills and experiences while they are still fresh in your mind. Think about how you would describe the experience to a potential employer: Lessons learnt and what you actually benefited during internship.

Express gratitude. Always remember to say thank you to your supervisor and your co- workers for having mentored and nurtured you during internship. Don’t take their time, knowledge and resources for granted.

By Harriet Rhemmy Ayebare
Administrative Assistant

Meet the Brain behind UTAMU’s Website

Elvis Muyanja is a Senior Web Administrator. This rather so calm and reserved young man is very passionate about technology and design. His work revolves around web and graphic design, social media management and marketing, content management, User interfaces and content management systems. His work almost affects every member of UTAMU. Also worth mentioning is the fact that his role in the Public Relations Office can never go unnoticed. He spoke to UTAMU News and his response is reproduced below;

QN: Take us through what you do at UTAMU?
I’m responsible for managing and updating all our online platforms with content and different graphic design aspects like banners to promote the UTAMU brand. All our websites are regularly updated.

Besides this, much of the work I do is centered around coming up with new features for our platforms to make them appealing to the public. I occasionally make security patch updates and regular backups of all our content to make sure that our platforms are not compromised.

Also, you may have also noticed that we in the Public Relations Office issue out a weekly newsletter.I design the layout of content and ensure that it is easy to read, to appeal to all out trendy audiences. So I’m pretty busy but I love what I do.

QN: What challenges have you encountered in web administration?
There are cases where you have to develop a feature to incorporate all the web platforms and test it across different sites, browsers and devices within a limited time. So, sometimes I have to come up with something within a short time. Designing requires a lot of concentration, research and creativity to come up with something that people will like. Trying out a new layout or feature is not as easy as most people think. Sometimes it gets a little hectic trying out this and that but all in all, what I do is very interesting.

QN: Technology changes every day. How have you managed to keep up with the trend?
I spend a considerable amount of time researching on new technologies out there. I am a member of various forums and I have subscribed to a number of RSS feeds that are renown for web technologies and platforms. I always get know about new changes on different platforms and sites from time to time. Some of the sites I subscribe to include;
QN: What drives you?
My passion for learning new things is a major motivating factor. Things related to technology interest me a lot. Loving what I do is another thing that drives me. It doesn’t seem like work at times. Also, seeing people benefit from a product I have designed gives me a great sense of satisfaction.

QN: Where do you see UTAMU web system in five years from now?
Our web system will be ranked among the top 5 in East Africa.

QN: Any message to those who want to take on your career path?
It is important to have passion for what you do. If the only goal is to make money, then you are likely not to go any farther than that and you will not acquire as much experience. Search within yourself and identify something you are passionate about, pursue it and give it your all.

PRO Tips Students on Professionalism!

The Public Relations Officer, Ms Rebecca Pearl Tumwebaze has urged students to exhibit a high degree of professionalism and maturity during community engagement.

While giving career guidance to students that are due for internship, on Saturday 19th April 2014 at UTAMU Resource Centre, Pearl advised students to apply work etiquette wherever they go.

“I strongly encourage you to be confident, smart, good time managers and resourceful to the organization that you are placed in. Let this period be a threshold for your employers to retain you when you complete your degree”, she emphasized.

She challenged students to promote the image of the University and to prepare a level ground for UTAMU students that will be undertake community engagement in the coming years.

“Be mindful that you are not only managing your own image but also representing UTAMU and future students interested in internship.

She advised students to use this time to make contacts for future use and to communicate effectively to their colleagues at work.

Makerere Students Applaud UTAMU’s Innovation Saturday

Makerere StudentsStudents from Makerere University have applauded the Innovation Saturday event at UTAMU noting that it’s a great avenue through which a number of life changing innovations can be developed.

The students revealed that the event provides a platform for them to present, brainstorm and share ideas which can be harnessed into innovations that are capable of improving the people lives.

One of the students identified as Samuel Muwanguzi revealed that sharing ideas and exchanging knowledge is way better than working alone on a project.

“ We need to work with people no matter where they come from because we believe everyone can make a great contribution”, Muwanguzi disclosed.

He also noted that learning is continuous and people can always learn from any person regardless of their status and background.

The students advised their colleagues at UTAMU to be positive towards criticisms and focus on what their innovations can do instead of being money minded.

“We encourage our colleagues here to accommodate as many criticisms as possible about their ideas for it is through them that their innovations can be harnessed”, they noted.

During the event, students pitched a number of innovations including Cell- Yaka, a mobile app that gives information about electricity meters and power updates, Secure citizens;- one that will protect masses from all sorts of criminals among others.

The event attracted UTAMU staff, officials from Young Entrepreneurs Assembly, UTAMU students as well as students from various institutions of learning in and around Kampala.

Innovation Saturday is an event that brings together students from various institutions of higher learning to generate creative ideas that can provide solutions to community problems.

Innovation Saturday participants pose for a group photo after a day of creativity, critical thinking and innovations

Drake Tips Students on Community Engagement

The Manager for Engagement Research and Innovation, Mr. Drake Patrick Mirembe has urged students undertaking community engagement to apply the knowledge and skills acquired to impact society positively.

Drake who challenged students to be part of solution seekers for community problems also noted that the 4 months community engagement is an UTAMU initiative aimed at nurturing students to identify problems within their communities and provide possible solutions.

He made the remarks during the Innovations Saturday at UTAMU Resource Centre on Saturday 19th April 2014.

“We believe that by the end of four months, you will have the ability to solve a problem. At UTAMU, we train our students to be productive, resourceful and proactive. Do not be not be part of the already existing problems”, he emphasized.

He also warned students against tarnishing the reputation of UTAMU and reminded them to set a good foundation for those that will follow their footsteps. “Defend the UTAMU brand wherever you go. Behave in a mature and professional manner”, he cautioned.

He advised students to take part in activities that are aligned within their career options during community engagement noting that the approach to solutions should be connected to the programme that one enrolled for.

Drake also challenged students to walk with the communities, learn the way local people do things and apply their skills to make life better for them.

MUST-UTAMU PhD Students Set to Defend their Research Proposals

Having completed a semester, students under the MUST-UTAMU PhD programme are scheduled to defend their research proposals before the Proposal Defense committee.

The revelation was made by the Dean, School of Business and Management, Prof. Benon C. Basheka who also doubles as the overall Coordinator of the PhD programme.

Basheka disclosed that both institutions have put in place quality assurance measures to ensure that every PhD student is assessed on the benchmarks of the checklist. “We have supervision guidelines in place and procedures for proposal defense to ensure quality of our programmes”, he revealed.

He also added that the Proposal Defense committee, a team that will oversee PhD students’ research proposals comprises of both local and international supervisors.

He reminded students that proposal defense shall be followed by writing of journal articles which is a prerequisite for every PhD student. “We shall have a workshop to guide students on how to write articles to be published in scholarly journals. This is one way we intend to produce well groomed intellectuals”, Basheka added.

He urged PhD students to prepare for this event, turn up in big numbers and exhibit a masterly of their projects.

Why We Should Celebrate Easter

To most people, Easter is simply a holiday for them to relax, feast and celebrate with family and friends, just like Christmas. To Christians, there is more to Easter than just mere celebrations.

There is never been a better time for Christians to celebrate than Easter Holiday. The foundation of Christian faith is based on Easter. It is that season they celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. After fasting for forty days and reflecting on God’s love to mankind, they all gather to celebrate particularly the rise of Jesus Christ from the tomb. Understanding Easter from a Christian perspective is fundamentally important. In fact, there would be no believers if Jesus had not resurrected. It is this Easter that gives Christians hope that they will live again even after death. This is why we believe that we should emulate Jesus and live our lives just like he did so we can inherit the kingdom of God.

Beyond this doctrine is the knowledge of the truth that Jesus died to pay the penalty of death that we deserve for our sin. He was buried, and rose with a glorified body, gaining victory over death. When we put our faith in Him, we have the promise that one day, we shall reign with him in heaven. Philippians 3:20-21 says, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. 2 Timothy 2:11-12 also affirms that if we die with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him.”

But what is the deeper meaning of Easter?

  1. The love of God is stronger than any evil ever known to man including death itself; His son overcame death and all suffering that he was subjected to and emerged victorious. This teaches us to believe that our God is stronger than any storm and with Him, we can overcome anything.
  2.  Humility; God made his very own son live like man, suffer at the hands of man and crowned him king afterwards. God expects us to be humble before him and before man so we can live to enjoy all the good things he has prepared for us.
  3. It is also the exodus or passage of human beings from slavery to freedom. The resurrection of Jesus frees man from all sorts of slavery.
  4.  Repentance- it calls upon all of us to restore our relationship with God. Salvation is free and given by grace. Repentance enables us to be at peace with Christ so he can transform our lives and make us better persons. Christians ought to be agents of His mercy and a channel through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish.

Christ is our peace and through him we implore peace to the entire world. He turns death into life, hatred into love, vengeance into forgiveness and war into peace. Through pain, suffering and shame, Jesus paid our price to give us everlasting life.

As we celebrate Easter with friends and family, let’s remember to renew our lives and reflect on the significance of his resurrection.

Happy Easter Everyone.

By Joseph Lwevuze

September 2013 & January 2014 Semesters End

Students who enrolled for September 2013 intake and January 2014 intake will be going for holidays on Friday 18th April 2014.

The Director for Academic Affairs, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rehema Baguma confirmed the development and revealed that UTAMU is now ready to welcome students for May 2014 intake.

Rehema noted that September 2013 students will undertake community engagement/ internship during the four months holiday. “Students who have completed a full year of study will be required to commence their internship as per UTAMU policies”, she revealed.

She urged students to be good ambassadors of UTAMU and encouraged them to take community engagement seriously as it prepares them for the world of work.

Rehema called upon the public to apply for over 20 UTAMU undergraduate programmes, Master’s as well as PhD programmes that will commence in May 2014.

UTAMU to Host Business Clinic

UTAMU is set to host an innovation pitch and business clinic, an avenue that will see entrepreneurs share experiences and learn from one another on Saturday 19th April 2014.

The revelation was made by Manager Engagement, Research and Innovation, Mr. Drake Patrick Mirembe.

According to Drake, the event which will attract innovators, mentors, entrepreneurs, researchers and students will be held at UTAMU Resource Centre in Bugolobi.

He noted that the business clinic will give insights on the ground breaking innovations from UTAMU. “There are a number of innovations that our very own students have developed and we want the public know about them and how they can change lives”, Drake noted

He also noted that the event will give entrepreneurs a one - on- one mentor-ship from some of the best business coaches and mentors at UTAMU. During the event, UTAMU will showcase her innovations and mobile applications.

Drake revealed that those with outstanding innovations will get a one year support from UTAMU Center for Innovations and Business Incubation (CIBI).

He noted that this is UTAMU’s initiative of reaching out to establish and grow new business relationships. “When we expand our business circle, we also increase our exposure to information on potential business opportunities available”, Drake noted.

Poll Question

A number of online marketing businesses have flocked the Ugandan market lately. Though they carry different names, they all have the same approach; register, bring people under you and make money. Over the years, most of these schemes have been known for money laundering. Much as Ugandans are excited about making quick money through online marketing, there are fears that some could be conned of their hard earned money.

What’s your opinion about online marketing?

Boost Gov`t Programs Through Social Media; Says Mayende

Mr. Simon Mayende
The Director of Information in the Ministry of Information and National Guidance, Mr. Simon Mayende has challenged government communication officers to expedite government programs through social platforms.

He made the remarks during the closing ceremony of the 2 day training workshop on Foundations of Government Information Leadership at International Resource Centre in Kampala on Wednesday 9th April 2014.

Mayende told participants to be at a forefront by engaging the public in various government programs through addressing public concerns. “The skills you have acquired today should be passed on to people at district level to enhance the flow of information. Social media is one of the ways we can improve service delivery”, he noted

While giving certificates to participants who had completed the 2 day training, Mayende disclosed that government will continue funding such programs in a bid to extend its services to the grassroots.

He noted that government is also organizing a program for permanent secretaries, chief executive officers and other key decision makers to undertake training in Foundations of Government Information Leadership.

Mayende lauded UTAMU, Ministry of Information and National Guidance (MING), United Nations Educational Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and United Nations University (UNU) for organizing a timely and educative workshop for government communication officers. “Thank you UTAMU for giving government an opportunity to learn from you. The experiences shared during this training, insights in data management and security and the skills acquired will unquestionably boost government programs.

Over 70 communication officers in government ministries, departments, national district information offices, Uganda Police, Prisons and personal assistants were awarded with certificates.

Integrate ICT in Gov’t Programs; Minister Urges

Hon. Rose Namayanja
The minister of Information and National Guidance, Hon. Rose Namayanja has urged government communication officers to embrace and integrate information communication technology in a bid to disseminate information and to engage the public in all government programs.

She was officiating at the 2- day training workshop on Foundations of Government Information Leadership at International Resource Centre in Kampala on Tuesday 8th April 2014.

Namayanja noted that technology has evolved over the years that government officers have no option but to cope with the trend. “As government, we shall move with those that move. Use social media platforms to engage Ugandans in all government programs and address issues raised by the public on time”, she challenged participants.

She noted that the government of Uganda is willing to promote ICT to improve service delivery, improve the lives of Ugandans and foster change.

“ICT has significantly changed the way we live, the way we communicate and the way we relate. As government we must up our game through facebook, twitter and other social media platforms to improve the lives of our people”, she added.

Namayanja hailed UTAMU and other stake holders for their contribution to ICT through organizing educative and informative training programs.

The workshop was organized by UTAMU in collaboration with the Ministry of Information and National Guidance (MING), United Nations Educational Science and Cultural organization (UNESCO) and United Nations University (UNU).

Hon. Rose Namayanja(centre), VC Prof. V. Baryamureeba (2nd centre)
together with other participants after the trainning

Barya Urges People to Make Money Through Social Media

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba has urged people to make use of social media platforms to transact businesses and improve their livelihoods.

He made the remarks during the training workshop on Foundations of Government Information Leadership that took place at International Resource Centre in Kampala on Tuesday 8th April 2014.

Baryamureeba noted that everything today is on the internet and everyone can access different services online.

“Let’s utilise social platforms to make money and improve our lives. People should know about our services online everywhere. ”, he disclosed.

He also noted that government has promoted ICT today by enacting and implementing laws on ICT over the years.

Baryamureeba encouraged government ministries to embrace facebook, twitter among other media platforms to update the common man on government programs, policies and strategies.

He however observed that information security is very paramount noting that people need assurance that information is shared in a secure environment.

The training was aimed at raising awareness on the role of ICT in delivering public services, transforming public administration and governance for advancing sustainable national development.

The workshop drew participants from various government ministries, heads of departments, national district information offices, Uganda Police, Prisons, personal assistants among others.

UTAMU Passes on ICT skills to NUDIPU Staff

In a bid to empower persons with disabilities, UTAMU has embarked on a program to offer ICT skills to staff members of National Union of Disabled Persons in Uganda.

The exercise which was carried out on Friday 4th April 2014 at UTAMU Resource Centre in Bugolobi was aimed at equipping NUDIPU staff with skills specifically on how to integrate social media in their programs.

The 15-man delegation from NUDIPU was trained to how to use social media to share instant information and reach out to various audiences as well as stakeholders.

The Manager for Engagement, Research and Innovation, Mr. Drake Patrick Mirembe took the team through social platforms like facebook, whatsApp, twitter, skype and gmail work and how they can be utilized to improve the lives of disabled persons.

The communication officer for NUDIPU, Mr. Joseph Malinga hailed UTAMU for the training noting that it will go a long way in improving NUDIPU initiatives. “This training has opened our eyes to a number of available social platforms and how we can make use of them to share information”, Malinga expressed gratitude.

He noted that through this engagement, UTAMU strengthened NUDIPU systems especially the website thus making data sharing more effective. “We have learnt a lot and the skills we have acquired today will facilitate us to reach more persons with disabilities across the country”, he noted.

UTAMU partnered with NUDIPU in October 2013 to deliver specialized training programs to persons with disabilities. The collaboration covers areas of research, business, entrepreneurship and innovative technology development.

Supplement Hard Skills with Soft Skills

By Harriet R Ayebare

Many a time, a lot of emphasis is put on scoring good grades especially among school going children. This has been the custom right from primary to tertiary level in Uganda. Parents get a sense of satisfaction and contentment when their children pass their exams highly. And so do students. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Traditionally, excelling with good grades automatically gave one a green card to acquire the most competitive and well paying job. After all, companies and organizations back in the day wanted the most brilliant minds to be part of their teams.

But over the years, people have realized the need to have good academic papers accompanied by soft skills. These are skills that help us to relate well with fellow employees as well as customers in our places of work.

Soft skills are simply the personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. They include; teamwork, leadership, effective communication, negotiation skills, problem-solving skills, confidence, creative thinking, flexibility, time management , positive attitude, ability to accept and learn from criticism, working well under pressure among others. These enhance an individual's interaction, job performance and career prospects.

The problem is, the importance of these soft skills is often undervalued and there is less training provided for them than hard skills. This is because most of the schools impart technical/hard skills to ensure students excel in class and pay less attention to soft skills.

For some reason, organizations and companies seem to expect people know how to behave at work. They tend to assume that everyone knows and understands the importance of being on time, working in teams, flexibility, being friendly and producing high quality work.

Soft skills are increasingly becoming the hard skills of today's work force. Training in technical skills without developing the softer, interpersonal and relationship-building skills will not see you grow in your career.

On Monday this week, I read an article in Daily Monitor in which Uganda Revenue Authority bosses were appealing to Universities across the country to pass on soft skills to students alongside hard skills. During the dialogue that URA had with over 10 Academic Registrars, they noted that they are struggling with graduates with extremely good grades who can hardly relate with fellow employees. Customer service, negotiation and relationship building skills took centre stage.

In business for instance, giving a warm reception to a customer, listening to his/her complaints and assuring them that their issues will be addressed is a language that will make you customers want to come back to your premises. This is not only good communication but also and good business language.

Secretaries need to type 100 or more words in a minute. Accountants need to be certified and so are other professionals. But beyond technical skills, everyone would like to go to a professional who is pleasant and takes time to answer questions. One who deals with situations with a sense of integrity and a degree of maturity.

Employers too find it easy to retain employees whose attitude is positive and upbeat. One who is always willing to help or one that is flexible and teachable.

While your technical skills may get your foot in the door, your people skills or soft skills will open most of the doors for your career growth. Your work ethic, your attitude, your communication skills, your emotional intelligence and a whole host of other personal attributes are crucial for career success.

Soft skills not only help us to keep our jobs but they also help us to ably deal with all challenges that come our way be it at work, home or family. It's often said that hard skills can get you an interview but you need soft skills to acquire and keep the job.

As we pursue academic excellence, we must equally accord attention to acquiring soft skills because at the end of the day, they both supplement each other.

UTAMU Embarks on Career Guidance Campaign

UTAMU is rolling out a career guidance campaign to offer students in secondary schools across the country insights into career opportunities.

The campaign is pioneered by the Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof. Jude T. Lubega, Manager Engagement, Research and Innovations, Mr. Drake P. Mirembe and the Public Relations Officer, Ms. Rebecca Pearl Tumwebaze.

Pearl said the campaign is part of UTAMU’s community engagement initiative. “We have dons who are rich in experience and are highly qualified. We believe the Ugandan community can tap into their potential”, she added.

Currently, 90% of UTAMU academic staff are PhD holders with unrivalled knowledge and expertise.

According to Pearl, the campaign which will initially benefit Kampala and neighboring schools and will be rolled out to rural areas in the near future.

VP Urges Universities to Invest in Research and Innovations

Rt Hon. Edward Ssekandi
Vice President,
Uganda’s Vice President H.E Edward Sekandi has urged proprietors of Universities and other institutions of higher learning in Uganda to invest more resources in promoting research, training and innovations.

Sekandi made the remarks during the official opening of the 7th Higher Education exhibition at UMA show grounds in Lugogo on Saturday 29th March 2014. The exhibition which was held from 28th – 30th March 2014 was organized by National Council for Higher Education (NCHE).

He said any institution of higher learning should be recognized by the fruits it bears in the fields of innovation as well as research.

“Acquiring a license to operate as a university is not enough. You must nurture and promote innovations and research in order to be part of the solutions for Uganda’s problems”, Sekandi cautioned.

Sekandi also disclosed that the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government is willing to support innovations especially in the field of Science.

He challenged students to be responsible, shun laziness and concentrate on coming up with innovations and practical activities which can create employment opportunities.

The minister for Education, Hon. Jessica Alupo applauded NCHE for fulfilling its obligations in promoting engagement of students in communities and urged proprietors of institutions of higher learning to work hand in hand with the private sector to promote innovations.

The seminar was moderated by UTAMU Vice Chancellor, Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba. UTAMU was among the various institutions of higher learning that participated in the 3- day 7th Higher Education Exhibition.

Participants during the seminar included Vice Chancellors, Deans, ministers, NCHE staff, students from various secondary schools and other stake holders in the higher education sector.