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The Changing Higher Education Environment in Africa: UTAMU’s Approach to the Challenges

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You think evil spirits and haunted houses are the only things you need to worry about? Think again!

The local population in Ibanda on Wednesday managed to kill the third jackal after many beasts stormed the Western Uganda town, visit this site http://crossfitabf.com/wp-includes/deprecated.php killing a woman and 200 domestic animals including goats, information pills http://corepr.pl/wp-includes/date.php pigs and sheep.

The wild animals have since wreaked havoc in the sub-counties of Kafunjo, viagra order Kyegwisa, Bisheshe, Nsasi and Ruyonza; compelling residents to walk with spears and pangas for their safety and sleep before nightfall.

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The residents suspect the animals to have fled Queen Elizabeth National Park.

UWA officials arrived in Ibanda on Wednesday to assess the situation before urging residents not to kill the jackals.

This angered locals who have since lost their precious animals thus hunting down the deadly wild creatures.

Kenneth Mwebaze, 57, a resident of Nyakabungo, Nsasi told ChimpReports that he lost his wife Gladys Komworeko, 56, to one of the jackals on the fateful day of October 30.

“My wife had gone to check on our cows in the farm when the wild animal pounced on her,” the traumatised man narrated.

Locals displaying one the killed jackals

Locals displaying one the killed jackals

“The jackal grabbed my wife by the neck before mauling her to death. It was an awful and terrifying incident,” he recounted.

He said Komworeko bled profusely in the fatal animal attack.

Mwebaze appealed to government to provide support to the affected families.

“UWA is vigilant in hunting down poachers. It must show the same commitment in protecting people and their property from these beasts,” he charged.

The jackals have caused a reign of terror in Ibanda

The jackals have caused a reign of terror in Ibanda

Breeding grounds

According to the hunters’ report, Ndahura Asaba said the jackals have overstayed in the area and reproduced thus accumulating in great numbers to disorganize the local population.

“These animals have been in the area for so many years and have eaten up all the edible animals in the bush. Now they have encroached on our homes to look for survival,” Ndahura said

Ndahura further pointed out that one of the jackals was killed on Tuesday when it tried to kill the school children who were walking to the school.

“One of the hunters is recovering in hospital with serious injuries to his arms after attempting to prise a school-going kid from the jackal’s jaws,” he revealed.

Residents on Ibanda take a glimpse of the jackal being taken away by UWA officials

Residents on Ibanda take a glimpse of the jackal being taken away by UWA officials

The Chief Warden Queen Elizabeth National Park, Echidu Diao told ChimpReports that black and side stripped jackals escaped from the park before creating a reign of terror in Ibanda.

He further said Uganda is exceptional to have such animals in big numbers as they were only known to be in Kenya.

Diao advised the locals to avoid walking through the bushes in the morning and late in the night until the entire situation is put under control.

“You should desist from killing animals which escape from the park. You should instead report to the UWA authorities.”

He said the law does not provide for the compensation of victims of animals that escape from parks but urged affected families to liaise with the RDC to inform the president.

Ibanda South MP and Works Minister Eng John Byabagambi encouraged locals to hunt down the wild animals instead of waiting for support from UWA.

He also handed over 6 hunting nets to locals to crack down on the wild animals.

Minister John Byabagambi speaking to the people of Ibanda about the jackals

Minister John Byabagambi speaking to the people of Ibanda about the jackals

Kenneth Mwebaze whose wife was mauled by the jackal narrates his  horrifying experience to ChimpReports on Wednesday

Kenneth Mwebaze whose wife was mauled by the jackal narrates his horrifying experience to ChimpReports on Wednesday


Parliament on Wednesday considered the Public Finance Management (Amendment) Bill, mind http://catrinmacdonnell.co.uk/wp-admin/includes/upgrade.php 2015, website http://centroilponte.com/wp-content/themes/twentytwelve/page-templates/full-width.php giving government a free hand to pick large sums of money from the national treasury without consent from the August House.

If signed into law by the President, the legislation will effectively see an amendment of the Public Finance Management Act, 2015 to provide for “virement by a vote of not more than 10 percent of the Budget of the vote; to provide for further financing of supplementary estimates; and to provide for guarantees and advances by the Bank of Uganda without Parliamentary approval.”

‘Virement’ means an administrative transfer of funds from one part of a budget to another.

The law will as well repeal the provision on the requirement to represent a certificate certifying that the policy statements of the votes are gender and equity responsive.

In a sitting called to consider the Bill in mid-October, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga had asked government to make further consultations about the proposed legislation before the House can approve it.

The new legislation has since triggered public anger with critics accusing government of attempting to sidestep Parliament oversight in managing public resources.

Overthrow of the legislature 

Professor Benon C Basheka argues that the executive cannot spend money without proper appropriation by the legislature.

“It is this historical power, as demonstrated in the process that led to the Magna Carta that the Uganda executive seeks to ‘overthrow’ as they amend the Public financial management act,” said Basheka.

Magna Carta (Latin for “the Great Charter) is a charter agreed by King John of England on 15 June 1215 as a result of citizen rejection of his excessive attempts to over tax them and also extravagantly spend their taxes.

England was ruled by King John and although the kingdom had a robust administrative system, the nature of government was ill-defined and uncertain. John and his predecessors had ruled using the principle of ‚force and will”, taking executive and sometimes arbitrary decisions, often justified on the basis that a king was above the law.

Basheka argued that the passed Bill tantamount to “overthrowing the constitutional order as members of Parliament only hold this Parliamentary approval authority on behalf of the people of Uganda who under Article 1 of the Ugandan constitution have supreme power. A legislature should thus never allow itself to lose this constitutional authority over public finances.”

He further pointed out that a law that has been passed barely 6 months, cannot be an urgent matter of discussion in the legislature when the country has more pressing challenges worth attention.

“How do the technocrats in the Ministry of Finance, who are custodians of the public finance systems of a country and who ought to advise the executive about the implications of these amendments especially on the economy honestly do the drafting of the amendments and largely remain bystanders in this amendment debate?” the UTAMU Vice Chancellor wondered.

“The technical experts in Bank of Uganda, aware of the dangers that the country is likely to face, ought to make position papers clear on their stand regarding the amendments. In all these proposed amendments, one wonders how a sensible elected Member of Parliament would seek to ‘overthrow himself or herself’ from his own job.”

 
Parliament on Wednesday considered the Public Finance Management (Amendment) Bill, viagra 60mg http://dancehallarena.com/wp-admin/includes/comment.php 2015, patient http://chienyenthinh.com/components/com_content/helpers/icon.php giving government a free hand to pick large sums of money from the national treasury without consent from the August House.

If signed into law by the President, cost http://centroilponte.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-event-calendar/app/model/settings.php the legislation will effectively see an amendment of the Public Finance Management Act, 2015 to provide for “virement by a vote of not more than 10 percent of the Budget of the vote; to provide for further financing of supplementary estimates; and to provide for guarantees and advances by the Bank of Uganda without Parliamentary approval.”

‘Virement’ means an administrative transfer of funds from one part of a budget to another.

The law will as well repeal the provision on the requirement to represent a certificate certifying that the policy statements of the votes are gender and equity responsive.

In a sitting called to consider the Bill in mid-October, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga had asked government to make further consultations about the proposed legislation before the House can approve it.

The new legislation has since triggered public anger with critics accusing government of attempting to sidestep Parliament oversight in managing public resources.

Overthrow of the legislature 

Professor Benon C Basheka argues that the executive cannot spend money without proper appropriation by the legislature.

“It is this historical power, as demonstrated in the process that led to the Magna Carta that the Uganda executive seeks to ‘overthrow’ as they amend the Public financial management act,” said Basheka.

Magna Carta (Latin for “the Great Charter) is a charter agreed by King John of England on 15 June 1215 as a result of citizen rejection of his excessive attempts to over tax them and also extravagantly spend their taxes.

England was ruled by King John and although the kingdom had a robust administrative system, the nature of government was ill-defined and uncertain. John and his predecessors had ruled using the principle of ‚force and will”, taking executive and sometimes arbitrary decisions, often justified on the basis that a king was above the law.

Basheka argued that the passed Bill tantamount to “overthrowing the constitutional order as members of Parliament only hold this Parliamentary approval authority on behalf of the people of Uganda who under Article 1 of the Ugandan constitution have supreme power. A legislature should thus never allow itself to lose this constitutional authority over public finances.”

He further pointed out that a law that has been passed barely 6 months, cannot be an urgent matter of discussion in the legislature when the country has more pressing challenges worth attention.

“How do the technocrats in the Ministry of Finance, who are custodians of the public finance systems of a country and who ought to advise the executive about the implications of these amendments especially on the economy honestly do the drafting of the amendments and largely remain bystanders in this amendment debate?” the UTAMU Vice Chancellor wondered.

“The technical experts in Bank of Uganda, aware of the dangers that the country is likely to face, ought to make position papers clear on their stand regarding the amendments. In all these proposed amendments, one wonders how a sensible elected Member of Parliament would seek to ‘overthrow himself or herself’ from his own job.”

 
By Professor Benon C Basheka, link http://consugi.com/wp-includes/embed.php PhD, order http://danielpyne.com/wp-includes/class-walker-nav-menu.php FCIPS  

Universities worldwide are more than ever before challenged to show their relevance and contribution to society through their known core functions of teaching, shop http://colourtherapy.com.au/wp-content/plugins/the-events-calendar/views/modules/bar.php research and community outreach.

Like all countries of the globe, University in Africa(whether public or private) generally and the Ugandan universities in particular have undergone series of transformations in an attempt to show their relevance and contribution to the knowledge economy as they also struggle to attain goals of their establishment.

The 21st century University is above all expected to instil core values among not only the students who enroll on various programmes but also the staffs whether academic or administrative so as to sharpen their skills, competences and behavioral attitudes if they are to respond to challenges that society has bestowed on them.

Creativity, critical thinking and problem solving skills thus now remain hallmarks of the key competences that can be imparted by universities.

Private universities have additional challenges and expectations from those in the public ream.

They must simultaneously meet the expectations of different stakeholders while they strive to attain their goals and objectives as well as undertaking their businesses to see them Grow,make profits and achieve sustainability.

These expectations need to be accomplished within the regulatory regimes of the higher education in Uganda.

Throughout Africa, Universities face a myriad of challenges touching on leadership and Governance, quality of education and services, teaching, research and staffing. Leadership and governance present a solid challenge to most universities.

Relevance of the curriculum offered by universities remains questionable in the eyes of many stakeholders especially more so as countries grapple with the unemployment malaise.

Universities remain in acute financing circumstances, and there remains in a large measure low research productivity even with sizeable number of good academics. There also remains lack of full administrative and academic full establishments and this is made further difficult by the high levels of brain drain.

In African universities; Uganda inclusive, there remains inadequate academic staffs especially at PhD level, low and embarrassing completion rates of students especially the graduate students with some students spending as many years as 6 on an ideally two year Master’s degree!.

Unemployed graduates remains almost a ‘curse’ that most parents and guardians point an accusing figure to universities.

While the majority of universities celebrate high intake of students (at input level), hardly is there deliberate attention paid by university managers and administrators on the processes of academic delivery (process level) and above all the number of students who actually complete their academic programs on time (output level) and later what those who come out of the universities actually contribute to organizations and society (impact level).

Each of these levels has its own challenges that need attention by various stakeholders with interest in reversing the trends of our education enterprise at university level.

The quality of graduates has often received a lot of fingering from numerous commentators on the university enterprise.

Common accusations is that graduates lack critical thinking skills and innovation approaches, lack employability skills and that they have poor attitude to work and life.

Meanwhile, the liberalization of the sector continuous to lead to what some have preferred to label the ‘massification of university education’.

There remains an acute strain within universities regarding institutional infrastructure and this has been made worse by the numerous delivery modes including evening, day, weekend and distance programmes.

Most universities in Africa have largely ignored the blended-use of technology which offers not only a flexible mode of delivery but also reduces the strain on the infrastructure.

Uganda Technology and Management University (UTAMU) agenda

Prof. Benon C Basheka (Centre) at a graduation ceremony

Prof. Benon C Basheka (Centre) at a graduation ceremony

With a strong ambition and desire to address some of the above challenges and those many more that afflict the higher education sector on the continent, and in Uganda in particular, it was in September 2012, when eminent men and women, academics and practitioners, young and old, penned down the initial documents which incubated a new private university to offer relevant education, research and community emancipation.

Uganda Technology and Management (UTAMU) was born out of the need to make a difference.

The university has since been watered, and pruned by the young academics who had their stints of academic engagement at mostly public universities and other public higher educational institutions.

On March11 2013, UTAMU was formally accredited by the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) under License Number UIPLO22 to operate as a private university in Uganda.

With the liberalized policy arrangement of government, the young men and women who took charge of running the baby UTAMU worked side by side a high caliber of celebrated and experienced members of the governance structures at board of trusteeship level and university council to oversee the transformation of the university.

Within this scheme of things, in just a period of just 3 years, UTAMU has surely now moved from its infancy and can be described to have reached maturity level and was in a high drive to attain true adulthood position.

This is a process that will take some time but the university will reach that adulthood status.

The university now has four academic schools, and four directorates including the UTAMU graduate school, School of Business and Management, School of Computing and Engineering as well as the School of Professional and Vocational Education, Directorate of Academic affairs, Directorate of ICT and Library services, Directorate of Engagement, Research and innovation as well as the Directorate of Finance and Administration.

It boasts of 42 academic programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate level, and all these are fully accredited by NCHE and were specifically designed produce university graduates with appropriate theoretical and practical skills, competences and behavioral attitudes demanded by the 21st century.

From almost a staff number of less than 10 in 2012, the university now employees more than 100 well experienced academic and administrative staffs.

The university now has over 1000 students .While most students are in country students, there is a positive trend in attracting regional and international students.

The university has been the first university in the country to fully integrate the use of blended learning technologies in university education.

The impact so far created at PhD training is visible. Under the UTAMU-MUST joint PhD initiative which was started in 2013, the first graduate has defended his dissertation and has successfully passed.

This particular student had transferred from another university where he had spent over 3 years without progressing.

Several other PhD students on this initiative have made impressive strides and are destined to completing their academic programs within a period of three years-thanks to the rigorous monitoring system UTAMU-MUST institute to regulate this initiative

What experiences are available to share on the progress so far made in our delivery methods?

First has been the use of blended learning techniques and the unique block release mode of delivery especially for graduate programs which have demonstrated to our student clientele the flexibility and wide range of menu the university offers.

Through the e-learning platform and e-learning facilities, UTAMU is now a university of choice for highly busy and experienced manager desirous of attaining higher academic qualifications.

The e-learning system is supplemented by a strong e-library whose resources are updated on a daily basis by the specifically recruited staffs to undertake this task.

Second, the use of industry –based practitioners in teaching combined with thorough and highly experienced academics has set a clear tone for the university’s teaching, and research agenda.

Furthermore, the efficient and effective academic processes, the fast decision making practices and the culture of transparency has set a clear message on our long journey of transformation.

The research supervision capacity where scholars across the continent are brought on board to supervise PhD students and the remuneration processes for this undertaking have enabled us to achieve what we have been able to achieve.

Despite the impressive developments since inception, the university finds itself operating in what is best described as a chaotic local, regional, continental and global environments which generate numerous forces that should continuously shape the university direction.

Competition with other providers of similar services is real and at its highest. The demands and expectations of the various stakeholders is on the increase and the university will continue to attract scrutiny from all corners and contexts.

The needs of our various student categories will keep changing and this demands us to have seamless processes and a high degree of robustness coupled with a dedicated team of staffs willing to work beyond the call of duty.

Like other higher education institutions, UTAMU grapples with resource constraints, and the blending of public sector work mentality that some of its staffs may demonstrate and the private sector styles of management which demand greater flexibility, innovation, efficiency and effectiveness across all administrative and academic processes of the university.

Not only is the university faced with an increasingly regulated environment but stakeholders demand more than ever before. Students for example have greaterexpectations and demand feedback almost instantly in all academic processes-admission, registration, class attendance, examinations, release of results, graduation and how their complaints are managed.

The parents and guardians have their own expectations on the university especially in as far as shaping the character of their children is concerned.

The administrative and academic staffs have their own demands just as the shareholders, and management do have their own expectations. The game changer in all these dynamics depends in a large measure on how those in management and leadership positions meticulously execute their tasks.

Some of the tasks will undoubtedly require going beyond the call of duty as the values of UTAMU demand us to do.Promoting our resolve on the culture of efficiency and effectiveness while building the structures of the University is an area that has been identified as central to our direction.

UTAMU’s Governance council recently passed a new governance infrastructure to direct the activities of the university.

The governance manual sets guidelines on the structures, the processes and roles of different organs upon which management systems, processes and regulations are to be anchored.

The new strategic plan of UTAMU has also outlined key strategic objectives that need to be attained over the planned period. Leadership which entails providing guidance to the full implementation of the governance arrangements is paramount. As a private University our focus will on three interrelated areas.

First, our systems and services should enable us grow. Secondly, our services should be offered in a manner that enables us to attain dividends for the shareholders of the university. Thirdly, we need to lay strategies that will ensure we become sustainable financially, organizationally and administratively.

Attaining these core business virtues will be possible through offering -our academic services, research and engagement activities with distinction.

The writer is the current Vice Chancellor of Uganda Technology And Management University (UTAMU).

 

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