UTAMU Ranked 7th Best Ugandan University

Beating a list of universities which have been in the industry for decades, Uganda Technology And Management University (UTAMU) has been ranked 7th best University in Uganda.

UTAMU has been ranked the 7th out of the 45 best universities in Uganda by UniRank (www.4icu.org.ug), an international higher education search engine and directory of world universities and colleges.  

This top ranking reflects strong performance across most issues, especially its research in Technology and Management on the African Continent in addition to having excellent staff and students.

UTAMU as per its vision is a University that believes in global quality education that embraces networked institutions, sharing and exchanging of resources.

The Unirank 2018 Ugandan University Ranking follows the following criteria;-

  • being accredited, licensed and/or chartered by the appropriate Ugandan higher education-related organization
  • offering at least four-year undergraduate degrees (Bachelor degrees) and/or postgraduate degrees (Master or Doctoral degrees)
  • delivering courses predominantly in a traditional face-to-face, non-distance education format

"Unshared Knowledge is like Ploughing a garden without sowing seeds": Says Okwadi

Dr. Tukei Okwadi graduated with a PhD on 28th October 2017. The Newsteam had an exclusive interview with him and he explained the plans he has after his PhD. The excerpt is reproduced below:


Q.Tell us how you feel after being awarded with a PhD

A. It is an accomplishment that I cannot compare to anything. I have been enriched with knowledge, skills and competencies and I feel I am an authority in management particularly in areas of risk Identification, risk analysis, strategies of managing risks, monitoring and controlling risks.

Q. Briefly share your PhD Journey with us.

I will tell you frankly the journey is never a walk in the park. You have to forego almost everything, concentrate and commit atleast two hours daily on your research work. You must have the ability, desire and commitment to work with minimal supervision. It also requires resources like time, money, gadgets, technology, and internet among others.

Q How did you manage to complete your PhD on record time of 3 Years?

A. I was lucky to work with committed and hardworking supervisors, Prof. Benon C. Basheka and Rev. Fr. Dr. Picho Epiphany.  Their work ethic is enviable. They expect nothing but the very best from students. Like I said earlier, commitment and the ability to work unsupervised did the trick. My organization also supported me. I won’t forget to mention the opportunity to write and publish my articles that was presented to me by International Journal of Technology and Management. The support of my Dean, Assoc.Prof. Doris Kakuru, Prof. Johnson Makoba, Mr.Konrad Sanyu and reviewers cannot go unmentioned.

Q. How relevant is your PhD to society?

I want to categorically state that this PhD is not beneficial to me as an individual but also the academic world, and to society. Public and private institutions across the globe have not yet appreciated the role of managing risks yet risks are unavoidable. CEOs continue to run businesses without paying attention to just how dangerous risks can be to their businesses. I bring on board knowledge, skills, competencies to identify, analyse, draw strategies, monitor, and control risks. My contribution to society now will be seen through sharing of knowledge.

Q.  What next after your PhD?

I am hungry to share this enormous knowledge with others. I am looking out for opportunities to work with scholars, students, and people to impart knowledge. When you obtain knowledge and you do not make an effort to share it, you are like a farmer who spends too much time ploughing the garden and he forgets to sow or plant seeds. It is a huge disservice to society.

Q. When I was perusing through your CV, I noticed that you have numerous academic qualifications. You have a Bachelor's Degree, 2 PGDs, 2 Masters, now a PhD and the latest I heard, is that you have enrolled for a Masters in Monitoring and Evaluation. What’s this academic fuss for?

A. There are so many challenges surrounding us and as a researcher, I am always yearning to find solutions. This can only be done through continuous learning and researching. The greatest resource a human being can have is knowledge. Knowledge is power and we can only be empowered through obtaining more knowledge.

Q. What’s your 5 Year Plan?

I will be a full Professor and I intend to work on as many publications as possible. I want to write articles, to share knowledge, to engage in mentorship programmes, to design projects and to supervise students.

Q. Would you advise someone to empty their bank account to pursue a PhD?

I would a thousand times. There is nothing in this world that is more important than knowledge. Those who have invested in education have not lacked and there is always opportunities waiting for them in all spheres of life. Those who have no academic papers have to work twice as hard compared to those with papers.

Q. In Uganda, we have a sizeable number of PhD Holders. Why don’t people sign up for PhDs?

PhDs are not done by cowards. We must understand that there is no easy way to success. You must strive for it. This is where the challenge is. Most people expect to have it all on a silver plate. A PhD is a huge investment that requires full concentration and time. At the time when I enrolled, we were 85 PhD students. Only 7 of us have graduated. You can see the mismatch. But also, it has a lot to do with finances, laziness, lack of focus and concentration.

Q. Why are PhD holders not among the list of tycoons in Uganda?

The richness of a PhD is not measured in tangible and monetary terms. It is rather measured by how much knowledge and expertise one has amassed and the ability to change lives. Our role is to make society better. To come up with ideas that can make the world a better place.

Q. Any advice for PhD students or prospective people who want to pursue a PhD?

When you obtain a PhD, you never remain the same. You join the family of highly professional and respected members of society because you are an authority in a certain field. Your views begin to hold water among right thinking citizens. Your level of articulation of issues improves and you begin to think critically, to conceptualize issues and better communication skills. A PhD gives you a competitive edge against all your peers. Strive to obtain one. 

I have Learnt to Make tougher Decisions; Says Outgoing Guild President

Briefly describe your term of office as a guild president.

It’s been interesting with lots of positive challenges. The position has made me confident in class and in the outside world. Throughout my 1st Year of office, I have been able to interact with very many influential people including Hon. Tumwebaze Kagyigyi Frank, the Minister of ICT and National Guidance and such experiences have also improved my public speaking skills.

How were you able to balance books and Guild assignments?

So far, I have a first class in my studies which is positive which indicates progress. When I got into office, I had a second class upper. I think this tells a lot, when I first got into office, I had the fear that I might fail my exams in the long run and I had a hard time deciding if I should go for guild presidency. But my message to all students interested in leadership, “fear is the only thing standing in your way, don’t be afraid face it".

What is your memorable moment?

The day I was declared the Guild president of UTAMU. It was my happiest day and I will always live to remember it. The campaigns were tough, tension was high, I didn’t think I would win.

What is your saddest moment?

I doubt if there is any.

Any challenges that you met as a Guild Leader?

Challenges are part of any journey but the major challenge was having to coordinate books and guild activities. I had a large guild group to work with and also there were times students issues were becoming a lot and as a student leader they expected me to handle the issues.

What advice do you have for the incoming Guild President?

Success is a two-way street. You either succeed or fail to succeed. Your work may be criticized, but never stop believing and you won’t stop achieving.

What do you think your government has achieved?

Throughout our period, the guild has been able to introduce indoor games like chess boards in and draft. I worked with some colleagues to come up with a university calendar. For the first time, our university competed with MUBS in soccer. We were defeated but we enjoyed the game. A university app where students can install on their phones instead of using browsers was created. I brought partners on board like Green Bridge and consequently, UTAMU partnered with them. The revival of innovation Friday, introduced a social evening which brings administrators and students together to interact one on one with students, the first ever campus was party held within UTAMU with zero payment from students, free food, free drinks, with 5 different artists, was organized and we started a movie night at campus. Finally, UTAMU has a football pitch where students can play soccer.

Has this position taught you any lessons?

I have been able to learn how to work effectively with people. I have learnt that sometimes, one must take final some tough decisions and stand by them no matter the consequences.

What has been your guiding principle in life?

Hard work, trust, belief, persistence and perseverance.

What would you want the incoming president to work on?

I have already set ground for social activities like sports and I would love to see more events being organized. I would love to see the president motivating students to participate in sports fully both indoor and outdoor.  The president should work towards setting up a hub at UTAMU where students can develop innovative projects.

Who has been the most inspirational person during your time in office?

The Guild members have always been there and I will mention that we have walked this journey together. The Academic Registrar has also supported us and we cannot tread his guidance for anything.

If you were asked to re-contest for Guild presidency, would you?

I think sometimes we need change.  I already did my part and it’s sometimes better to let new blood in take on the mantle. I don’t believe in leaders who overstay in power.

ICT Enabling University Engagement with Smallholder Farmers

Dr. Drake Mirembe,

Dean, School of Professional and Vocational Education (SPVE),


Many African countries especially those in sub-Sahara Africa are endowed with abundant natural resources, ideal for the development of sustainable agriculture.  It is worth noting that nearly 80% of populations in sub-Sahara Africa depends on agriculture as the main source of livelihood of which, over 70% of these farmers are smallholder farmers. On top of abundant natural resources, African higher education sector is rapidly expanding providing platforms for creating new knowledge and technologies which are vital in enhancing smallholder agriculture. Despite the abundance of natural resources, favorable climatic conditions, and a vibrant higher education sector many of these countries continue to suffer from food and nutrition insecurity.

Smallholder agriculture continues to suffer from adverse effects of climate change, pests and diseases outbreaks, and limited access to quality farming knowledge, limited access to market information, unreliable wealth information, and poor extension services, among others.  African higher education institutions continue to boast about cutting edge research on challenges facing farmers. However most of the research outputs from these institutions has had little impact on lives of smallholder farmers due to constrains in the current models of engagement between higher education institutions and smallholder farmers.

Majority of the African Higher Education Institution (HEI) especially those engaged in agriculture are part of their National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS). These institutions run active community outreach programs aimed at disseminating agricultural technologies, information and knowledge to farmers. The programs are mainly implemented through student internships, publications, engagement with extension officers and on-farm demonstration. Studies indicate that over 50% of knowledge dissemination done by HEI is through publications, yet majority of the farmers are illiterate, rendering the knowledge inaccessible to farmers who need it most. While other approaches of knowledge and information dissemination like on- farm demonstrations, student internships and extension officers provide an enriched engagement with the farmers, they are too expensive to conduct by the university in a sustainable way in terms of staff time and associated logistical costs. Besides, these approaches do not provide farmers with opportunities to raise specific information needs on demand, as activities are preprogrammed based on the university research agenda. Current HEI outreach models are characterized by weak stakeholder linkages, inappropriate knowledge packaging, intricate technical language and limited interaction with end-users of information among other constraints. Seeking for more relevance and impact, HEI including universities across the global are exploring innovative ways of enhancing engagement between researchers and farmers.

A number of studies across the globe continue to demonstrate that appropriate application of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) can enhance engagement of HEI with smallholder farmers, resulting into increased uptake of agricultural knowledge. The enhancement in engagement is in terms of improved knowledge packaging and visualization, timely availability of information, interactive collaboration, mutual learning, and impact assessment of knowledge shared, reduced costs of engagement, among others.

How Can HEI integrate ICT into their Community Engagement Programme?

Successful integration of ICT’s into any business process requires systematic planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. It is common in many African enterprises and organizations to hear of stories about failed ICT initiatives and most blames are placed on the technology. Yet, ICT integration requires realignment of business processes, orientation of staff to work in the new operating context, updating of management and governance framework to reflect the new institutional operating context, and availability of appropriate ICT infrastructure and associated utilities. Therefore, any HEI which intends to establish an ICT mediated engagement with smallholder farmers should consider the following;

A Community engagement Policy: The policy should clearly describe how community engagement is undertaken through the use of ICT. The policy should prescribe the intended services to be delivered to stakeholder such as farmers, the technology platforms upon which engagement is to be conducted, models of staff performance monitoring and reward, profile of stakeholders to be engaged, and measure of successful engagement, among others.

Appropriate ICT Infrastructure: HEI should invest in appropriate ICT infrastructure to support community engagement ubiquitously. The focus should be on platforms which provide self-service on the concept of anywhere, anytime and at the wish of the stakeholder. Opportunities to exploit open source systems and applications should be considered as these generally have lower total cost of technology ownership and have a wider user support base.

Monitoring and evaluation Mechanism:  HEI should establish systems that can easily monitor and evaluate community engagement action implementation among stakeholders in real or near real-time. Technologies such as mobile applications which provide location services and GIS can be tapped into.

Establishment of Innovation Hubs with HEI:  Most HEI especially those running engineering and ICT programmes can tap into the potential of their students to develop the relevant applications and technologies to support the community engagement. HEI should consider options of establishing internal innovation and incubation hubs to address their internal ICT needs in general.

Establishment of Collaboration and Partnerships: Successful implementation of ICT mediated community engagement largely depends on existence of effective collaboration between HEI and other stakeholders. Therefore, HEI should invest efforts to establish viable collaborations with stakeholders like government agencies focus is on agriculture, community leaders, telecom operators, and civil society organizations, among others.

Information Communication Technologies have the potential of transforming community engagement function of HEI in Africa if a systematic integration process is done as briefly highlighted in the forgoing text. The focus should be to exploit open source technologies and harnessing the expertise within HEI.

About the Author

Drake Patrick Mirembe holds a PhD in Information Systems Security and a Masters in Cyber Security from Groningen University in the Netherlands. He has worked in both academia and the industry at local and international level. In the industry he has worked with Microsoft, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Eight Tech Consults. In academia he works with Makerere University and Uganda Technology and Management University (UTAMU) as Lecturer.  Drake has vast experience in ICT innovations and incubation, ICT4D, Cyber Security, ICT integration and organization leadership. He is a distinguished scholar who has published widely in international fora. Click here to download the digest.

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