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Umu Newsletter 19-1

Umu Newsletter 19-1

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Published by Alex A. Agaba
Another one of the UMU Newsletter series. This one focuses on the relevance of higher education.
Another one of the UMU Newsletter series. This one focuses on the relevance of higher education.

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Published by: Alex A. Agaba on Jun 22, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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V  O  U  M  E   1  9   I  S  S  U  E   1  
Professor Michel Lejeune
Strategic Advisor Administration and FinanceThe Virtual University of Ugandawww.virtualuni.ac.ug
All o us in higher educationbelieve strongly that we have acase in avor o higher educa-tion. But is this the eeling o the nation and does the nationneed it?I would contend that highereducation has to be seen as oneo the components o nationbuilding and cannot just be ignored. Some years back the World Bank thought that the only important thingwas primary education as this would lay the basis orthe development o the nation. Rightly so, but can westop at the basis? Should we not ask ourselves how basic education will be imparted i we do not have theproper trainers. Tis makes it clear rom the start thatwe, in higher education, are contributing to the build-ing o a system which will be ullling its objectives,namely propel the nation into the uture by giving it thetools to achieve this. Tereore, it is ludicrous to think that we can satisy ourselves with the idea that contrib-uting to one sector, primary education, and neglectingthe others, such as technical and higher education, willreally be part o nation building. It is o the utmost im-portance that what we do in higher education be seenand elt as part o the grand scheme o nation building.We have to rally people round the idea that educationhas to be as complete as possible as this will help in dis-pelling alse ideas about development and growth. Temore we know the better armed we are to respond toquestions and challenges. We cannot claim that highereducation is a once o and that afer having obtained apiece o paper (degree certicate) one is ully equippedor lie. It is only the beginning which has been reachedand eorts o constant improvement have to be made.Higher education is a moving something o which wewant to be part be it as developers or as recipients. Nodoubt that in the years to come the approach to highereducation will shif and we should not shy away romnew technologies, on the contrary. Our young peopleknow better than me how to use smart phones andother similar tools. Education has to reach them in thatway and assist all who want it to attain greater heights.Te Virtual University o Uganda is one o the pioneerinstitutions where new technologies and quality arelinked with the sole objective to impart greater quality to those who join this venture. Why not be part o itnow?
“It is of utmost importance that what we do inhigher education be seen and felt as part of the grand scheme of nation building. We cannot claim that higher education is a once off and that after having obtained a piece of paper (degreecertificate) one is fully equipped for life.” 
Te Relevance o Higher EducationEditorialA Tought on Higher EducationCross Fertilization EducationArchitecture Students’ ProjectsNews in PicturesFunProle
“The Relevance of Higher Education”
PictorialNew Meritorious AwardsStudent WallColumnist
“The relevance of Higher Education”
Uganda Martyrs University
By Isaac Kiiza ibasiima.
n any goodeducation sys-tem, we arehighly awareof the factthat educationmust meetthe needs of the societythat receives it. Over the years, universityeducation in Uganda has gone from beingoffered by just Makerere University tomore than 10 private universities andfive public universities. This creates achallenge for many of us in Uganda: howwill all the educated people be absorbedinto the working community. This isfurther worsened by the fact that as moregraduates leave university, their skillsleave a lot to be desired and so more andmore employers start questioning the na-ture and role of the university system andwhether graduates are receiving some-thing worth the money they paid.University education cannot be under-minned, not just because of the prestigefrom a university degree, but for thefact that one has received the requiredknowledge. At the moment, we in thefaculty of humanities are struggling tocope up with less research funds and lessstudents. This means we have to competein an unfair academic situation but also beat this cutthroat competition so as to prove our worth.Why would studying literature or historyor even geography be of importance? Iremember asking myself such a ques-tion when I was at high school. I guesscoming out of university with a degreein Literature put me in a queer position:after school, what next? One of the thingsI have come to realise is that universitytaught me the very basics of survival in amad world. They may think they do notneed us, but soon they will realise wedon’t need them; they actually desperate-ly need us.Humanities deal with the human person(and this is opposed to the human being).Personhood goes a long way in explain-ing who we are, our attributes and whatsociety and even ourselves expect of us.This means, humanities teach us to loveand respect who and what we are. Thesciences have always made us believethat the technological component in us isimportant for society: the truth is scienceand humanities must be balanced for a better world. People want to be listenedto, to be helped by a human being. Peo- ple want a human touch in almost every-thing. In studying literature at university,I had to learn more about how societieswork hand in hand with each other. Inmy teaching at university, I have hadto let students realise the importance of  people in their work, not just academic or research work, but even life after school.Higher education becomes useless oncewe forget why we are here. It ceasesto make sense when we think we areseparated from those that we belong to.In Africa, it is sometimes hard (and I saythis with a lot of reservation) to separatethe individual from the community. Butit is also important for the individual to
Welcome to yet anoth-er edition of the UMU Newsletter. The theme for this one is “The Rele-vance of Higher Educa-tion” and we hope thatour writers have done agood job at dissecting thisinteresting theme.In the first article, our former vice chancellor Professor Michel Lejeune lays emphasis onthe fact that higher education is a necessarylink in the educational chain of the Africannation necessary for its development. In thesecond article, Isaac Kiiza Tibasiima dealswith how humanities are related to per-sonhood and in the third article Samuel H.Baligidde dwells on the need for co-operation by the stakeholders in search for funds toinvest in promoting higher education.We profile our academic registrar, Mr.Byuma I.M. We present an insight into hisCurriculum Vitae. He also talks about qualityat Uganda Martyrs University.On the student wall, Nkalubo Edwin Erichighlights the unique impact of Steve Jobson the global level through his innovativedevelopments and Alem Abebe is our facein the crowd. A former UMUSU chairpersonwho talks about the way he has been shaped by UMU.Finally, our columnist Jimmy Spire Ssenton-go argues that what has been labouriouslyresearched and put into dissertations should be disseminated and its practical applicationsexplored for the benefit of society.
Br. Aloysius Byaruhanga
 Dean, faculty of Education
“how will all the educated people be absorbed into theworking community University education cannot be un-der-minned, not just because o the prestige rom a university degree, but or the act that one has received the required knowledge” 
“The Relevance of Higher Education”
Uganda Martyrs University
map out one’s life as part of this community. A university teachesone to uphold community even when there is need to maintainones independence. If we think that the walls of our universityseparate us from the society, we have lost it. That society needsus. It needs the educated and knowledgeable, the skilled to work with and for them. A university plays this role, and if it does not,it should instantly begin.We may always believe a university degree in Humanities, SocialSciences or even the seemingly simple courses like Peace studiesis not worth it. When we wake up and realise that it is not justabout science but our human touch, we shall get the rude shock that our existence matters even more. Education trains the heart,the hands and the brain. Each field of study teaches us their im- portance. When we find out where we are best at, we then work with others to make it even better. That is our role as education-ists, but even more, our role as a university. We must train peopleto feel, to think and to use their hands or else we are giving thema raw deal. Only school and real training in these attributes makeone ready to face life after university as a whole and complete person.
Samuel H Baligidde
Director East African School of Diplomacy, Governance and International Studies
Questions about the employability of graduates are always asked at the endof the graduation season every year.Employability entails acquisition of 21st century practical skills used intoday’s workplace which can be acquiredthrough practical experience made pos-sible through institutional collaborationand partnership with employers; a rather interesting phenomenon a British firmofficial on BBC Global Business recentlytermed ‘cross-fertilization education’.According to him the skills that makegraduates employable include customer handling skills, team work, communica-tion as well as the ability to use moderninformation and computer technology,among others.His firm has initiated partnerships withsome selected universities in the UnitedKingdom of Great Britain and NorthernIreland in the formulation of relevantcurricula, internship placements, spon-soring scholarships programmes andemploying students on graduation. He re-vealed that it takes two and half years totrain university graduates on the job buthis firm’s contrivance has reduced the period to only six months! Makerere’slegendary staff development programmeswhich aimed at mentoring students totake up teaching and other positions inthe same institution after graduation were partly based on the same assumptions.

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