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    We Had To Upgrade: MUK Director Explains Why Makerere Phased Out Some “Irrelevant” Courses…

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    Director of Quality Assurance at Makerere University, Dr. Vincent Ssembatya

    Makerere University has phased out 18 undergraduate courses in what the institution says is a move to produce quality graduates.

    According to the Director of Quality Assurance at Makerere University, Dr. Vincent Ssembatya, the university is reorganizing to match the changing academic environment.

    Reports have also indicated that the institution found some courses irrelevant, therefore urging the need to scrap them off.

    The management of Makerere University accordingly announced this week that the university will not advertise over 18 restructured programs for the academic year 2021/2021.

    Last year in August, the council approved re-structuring of 20 undergraduate programmes aiming at reducing 82 courses to 62 starting with the intake of August 2021.

    Dr Vincent Ssembatya, the director of quality assurance, emphasised still that the aim was to enhance quality at the university and spur research since the university wanted to increase the percentage of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students from 35% to at least 40% of the total enrollment.

    Makerere had also aimed at increasing the proportion of graduate students from 10% to 30%, support curriculum that leverages research in the university and reduce duplication.

    “We are going to be research-led and focus more on graduate training. Our curriculum is going to face more in the direction of science and technology to the level of about 40%. The country will not thrive without these disciplines. For every 10, 000 students admitted at the university each year, 4,000 will be graduate students,’’ Dr Ssembatya quoted in August, 2020.

    Now, the university says, over 18 re-structured courses will not be advertised starting this August Intake.

    In the letter dated 29th March 2021, the council has further reminded Principles of Colleges to submit curricula for the re-structured programmes for consideration by the senate as soon as possible and not later than 15th May 2021.

    The restructured programmes will include:

    Bachelor of Library and Information Sciences

    Bachelor of Archives and Records Management

    Bachelor of Science in Construction Management

    Bachelor of Community Psychology

    Bachelor of Industrial and Organizational Phycology

    Bachelor of Arts in Development Economics

    Bachelor of Science in Telecommunication Engineering

    Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering

    Bachelor of Environmental Science

    Bachelor of Science in Meteorology

    Bachelor of Development Studies

    Bachelor of Adult and Community Education

    Bachelor of Business Statistics

    Bachelor of Science in Population Studies

    Bachelor of Science in Quantitative Economics

    Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Health and Management

    Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Land Use and Management

    Bachelor of Science in Horticulture

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    CRIME

    SCHOOL REOPENING: Four Children Confirmed Dead In Fire Outbreak…

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    The territorial police of Kawempe are investigating a fire outbreak at New Crest Junior Day and Boarding Primary School in Kawempe Division in Kampala.

    In a statement released by the Deputy Spokesperson Kampala Metropolitan Luke Owoyesigyire, four children have been confirmed dead from the incident.

    “Four female pupils have been confirmed dead while three are seriously injured,” the statement reads.

    “It is alleged that the fire started at around 3am today, 15th, January, 2022, from one of the female pupils’ dormitories,” the statement further reads.

    “The injured were evacuated to Kyadondo Hospital located in Kisowera Zone Kawempe 1 Ward in Kawempe Division, and are being treated there accordingly.”

    He also emphasised that the school tried to manage the fire outbreak in a local way and did not bring it to the attention of the nearest police at Kawempe which was an act of negligence.

    “This is an act of gross negligence that caused death and injuries of the pupils. A casefile of causing death has been opened at Kawempe police station.”

    Luke Owoyesigyire added that the forensic team of experts from the Directorate of Fire are documenting the scene and more details from the incident shall be released later.

     

    By Hope Kalamira

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    CRIME

    Police Warn Parents Of Increased Bursary Scams As Schools Resumes…

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    The Police spokesperson Fred Enanga has released a statement warning parents to be careful of the increased bursary scams and scholarships targeting them as they take back their children to school.

    “We have started getting concerns from members of the public about conmen targeting vulnerable students, families and good Samaritans with fake bursaries, scholarships and fundraising activities with a sole aim of fleecing them,” he said

    Enanga added, “For instance, there are fraudsters who are using the O’level results of a one Atucungwie Princess who passed with Grade 1, from Kibingo Girl S.S.S to solicit funds.”

    “We are asking the public to ignore the tweet that has gone viral, simply because the victim has already secured sponsorship from an American organisation. As a result, a case file has been opened at Shema Police station to track down the culprits.”

    Enanga also noted that they are using this opportunity to call all persons who could have fallen victim to this fundraising scam or other form of education scam, to liaise with the police at Sheema.

    “It is therefore important that parents and students do sufficient homework by researching about the scholarships or bursaries. They should look for previous beneficiaries or students of legitimacy,” he said.

    Through a statement, Enanga said that it is important to correspond with the alleged sponsors in writing for record purposes adding that usually conmen are hesitant to respond in writing which is a sign of fraudulent activity.

    “Many parents are liable to fall prey to these scams at this time when there are economic hardships as a result of the Covid pandemic that has bartered the entire world but want to ensure their children return to school,” he emphasised.

    According to police, this is coupled with the usually hard economic situation in the month of January when many have spent most of the money during the December festive season.

     

    By Hope Kalamira

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    EDUCATION

    LOP Mpuuga Warns Against Selective Increment Of Teachers’ Salaries In Statement On Current State Of Education Sector…

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    Leader of Opposition (LOP) in Parliament Mathias Mpuuga

    The Leader of Opposition (LOP) in Parliament Mathias Mpuuga has warned against selective increment of teachers’ salaries.

    In his statement on the state of the education sector under Covid-19 containment related lockdown, Mpuuga gave a number of recommendations as schools at all levels plan to reopen early next year.

    “I am proceeding under rule 53(1) of our rules of procedure to make a statement on the state of our education sector under Covid-19 containment related lockdown,” he said.

    Below is a breakdown of some of some of the things he addressed in parliament in line with the Education sector;

    CONFUSING STATUS OF LEARNERS UNDER LOCKDOWN.

    Due to delayed school opening, there is stagnancy in the system. Cohorts of learners who had just begun term one of primary 1,2 and 3 in 2020 are still stuck at home, 20months later.

    These pupils who are estimated at 4million in total, have not interfaced with a teacher for 84 weeks.

    The combined total of real and potential primary 1, 2 and 3 learners is estimated at 6million  compared to the pre-lockdown capacity of how schools will cope with additional classroom space, teachers and other related requirements.

    INCREASED TEENAGE PREGNANCIES AND UNCOUTH BEHAVIOUR.

    The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted all aspects of life in Uganda, resulting to loss of jobs, disruptions in access to health and social services but no group has felt the effects of the pandemic more than adolescent girls.

    Idleness coupled with growing physical features have led to learners indulging in bad social habits including taking of alcohol, taking banned drugs , sexual relationships, putting their lives in danger and outright criminality.

    DISCREPANCIES IN TEACHERS AND INSTRUCTIONS REMUNERATION.

    Whereas teachers and non-teaching staff in government schools still earn monthly salaries, their counterparts in private institutions are not earning.

    According to a recent memo supplied to the Committee on Education by the National Private Schools Teacher’s Association (NAPSTA), private institutions employ a total of 350,000 teaching staff.

    Due to lack of earnings, many are deserting the teaching profession and mainly reverting to informal businesses such as brick laying, selling of building sites among others.

    Last year, the President pledged to provide a revolving fund of UGX 220  billion to help private teachers affected  by the Covid-19. This fund was geared at assisting teachers diversify their sources of income through establishing enterprises of their own like retail business, agriculture, boda boda riding, saloon operations etc. However, there has been confusion in the leadership of the various teacher’s organisations on who receives their relief fund.

    The Minister of Education should come out with a clear plan on how this fund will be disbursed and which teacher’s oganisation is in charge.

    RECOMMENDATIONS.

    “Rt. Hon Speaker, in a bid to resuscitate the education sector, the following ought to be undertaken,” he said.

    “Public schools should be permitted immediate access to a defined percentage of the release of capitation grant ahead of time to take care of much needed renovations  so that the school environment is prepared for teaching and learning. This is premised on the fact that whereas quarterly release of capitation grants has been ongoing during lockdown but withheld pending school reopening,” he stated.

    “Review the taxation policy to offer tax relief to private educational institutions for at least a year. This would free resources of indebted institutions towards fulfilling loan obligations, facilitate reinvestment or attract new investors into the education structure.”

    “The Ministry of Education and sports should officially clarify on the proposed selective increment of salaries of some categories of teachers. This follows the announcement that Cabinet had on 23rd August, 2021 of approving UGX 4million as the wage for a science teacher, UGX 2million above the salary of a head teacher, causing a rift between science teachers on one part and teachers of humanities on the other,” he noted.

    He added that, “This was further emphasised by the President in his address to teachers on the World Teacher’s Day Celebrations on 12th October 2021 at Kololo. This proposal of selective increment is now threatening to breakdown school administrations as lower rank employees are paid significantly better than their supervisors. We support that there is equal remuneration of workers of the same qualification and experience.”

     

    By Hope Kalamira

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