Time spent on lectures set to be reduced as 75 year old graduates.
They say one is never too old to dream, and that is proving to be true for a 75-year-old woman who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work and Administration at Bugema University. This was during the 18th graduation ceremony at the university yesterday.
Ms Janet Mutisya Silla, 75, who joined the university three years ago, said the course has grounded her with information about social work, which she is passionate about. “I am elated. Now I am just as educated as my four daughters who are here with me,” said Ms Silla. Her former classmates, who would have otherwise made fun of her advanced age, instead consulted her for anecdotes about life.
Meanwhile, students joining public universities will now spend fewer hours in the lecture theatres, the Minister of State for Higher Education, Dr Chrysostom Muyingo, has said.
This is meant to equip students, who will later on pass out, with more practical skills that are relevant to the job market, Dr Muyingo said yesterday during the graduation at the university campus in Luweero District.
Addressing employers’ needs
“We are going to reduce the time students spend in lecture rooms. One half will be on academic work whereas the other half would be on fieldwork. We want to address the needs of employers,” Dr Muyingo said.
Institutions of higher learning will, therefore, have to nurture links with the private sector to provide the much-needed field-attachment for the students to ground them on what the employers need.
The minister said since many local students do not have the necessary skills, some employers would rather employ workers “from elsewhere”.
An estimated 83 per cent of Ugandan youth are unemployed; something that the World Bank (2008) said had presented employers with an excuse to pay those who get jobs low salaries or wages. However, the mismatch between skills and the needs of the employers is not unique to Uganda.
On Thursday, the University Academic Staff Union (Uasu) of Kenya said many of the graduates from Kenyan institutions of higher learning lack skills. The union said this was due to having fewer lecturers, and, therefore, called for the hiring of more tutors.
Dr Muyingo urged institutions of higher learning to adjust their education curricula and prepare the students for multiple challenges by equipping them with the right attitude to life.
The university vice chancellor, Professor Patrick Manu, urged the graduands to be people of integrity. “Be people of integrity and God-fearing. Stand firm for the truth and be ready to die for it,” said Prof. Manu.
Dr Muyingo refuted claims that the government is “suffocating” teaching students using vernacular.
Rather, he said, the government will do more to. “In the past, we would spend just two years, Form One and Two, teaching local languages. That is not enough. From Class One to Three, the language of instruction will be vernacular. In Form Five and Six, we shall bring back the local languages.”
Dr Muyingo said the Student Loans Scheme will start next academic year. He also urged university staff to carry out research and to publish it to improve quality in university education.
Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is a Ugandan writer and blogger. Studied information technology with major interests in Journalism.He is passionate about sports but at times ventures into other fields
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