Makerere University Chancellor, Prof. George Mondo Kagonyera on 26th February 2015 launched the annual Memorial Lecture in honor of the Late Professor William Senteza Kajubi, a distinguished alumnus and renowned scholar to a fully-packed Makerere University Main Hall.
Prof. Kagonyera said that the lectures will help to keep the renowned academician’s memory alive amongst us. “One of the greatest lessons I learnt from Prof. Kajubi is that he used to mean what he said and said what he meant. I believe that at the end of each memorial lecture many will learn from the experience of the mentor of educationists,” he said. Prof. Kagonyera also called for the Government to utilize the expertise of education professionals when designing Uganda’s education policy noting that most of the work had been left to politicians.
In his remarks, the Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu, said that Prof. Kajubi will always be remembered for his work in initiating the reforms and restructuring the University education system. He noted that Makerere University has and shall continue to recognize the contributions of Professor Kajubi. “In December 2010, the School of Education in conjunction with the family and friends of Prof. Kajubi, immortalized him through a permanent bust in front of the school’s building. We are therefore fortunate that we had that golden opportunity to recognize him for his great work and celebrate with him while he was still alive,” Prof. Ddumba said.
The first Prof. William Senteza Kajubi Memorial Lecture was delivered by Prof. Abdu B.K. Kasozi, a Research Associate with Makerere Institute of Social Research and the former Executive Director of the National Council for Higher Education, on the theme: “Rethinking Uganda’s education system: suggested areas for reform”.
In his illuminating and poignant lecture, Prof. Kasozi said that Prof. Kajubi’s understanding of the theoretical concept of education was that of constant change without rapturing the past. “Prof. Kajubi believed that as education changes, there is a need for a constant review of the education system without altering its goodness,” he said.
He was critical of the current education system’s limitations in addressing the major aims of education. “The general problems with our education system are that it does not encourage production of knowledge through research, debate, observation or innovation at all levels of the system; it is examination driven from primary one to university level, as long as a student gets top marks, he does not care about what he has learnt and the production of theoretical or physical goods are not emphasized,” he said.
Prof. Kasozi called for a holistic review of our education where civil society must link with bureaucrats to lobby politicians to effect changes and where education is integrated in the whole national planning system. He stressed that public universities should renegotiate with the government for a new relationship through the granting of a charter.
His proposed interventions to improve Uganda’s education system are as follows; create original thinkers and innovators, put in place a student-centered learning system, fund basic research at all levels of the system, increase the variety of materials in examinations, change the current, 7-6-3 years to 8-4-4 years to eliminate early specialization into science or arts when students are too young to know the consequences, abolish current specialization in arts or science until students have completed the first degree, change the structure of higher education such that it trains more technicians, emphasize research and knowledge creation, introduce a credit system to ease mobility of students amongst disciplines and institutions and adopt a new funding model for public universities which increases both the institution’s autonomy, funding and accountability.
In discussing the keynote presentation, the Dean East African School of Higher Education Studies and Development, Dr Ronald Bisaso said, “when there is a mismatch between what universities produce and what the market demands, their curricula is irrelevant no matter how elegant they might be academically”.
Prof. J.C. Ssekamwa shared his personal experiences with Prof. Kajubi and highlighted six of Prof. Kajubi’s memorable attributes such as an innovator of an effective element in pedagogy, promoter of other people’s prospects in life and his idea regarding leadership at any level.
In his speech, the Principal of the College of Education and External Studies, Dr. Fred Masagazi Masaazi said that the memorial lecture was a new chapter in recognizing Prof. Kajubi’s efforts in contributing to change in the lives of Ugandans. Dr Masagazi noted that this year’s celebrations kicked off with the repainting of the School of Education Conference Hall with paint generously provided by Peacock Paints.
He added that the CEES had proposed to upgrade and rename one of the lecture theatres to the Prof. W.S. Kajubi auditorium at a cost of UGX120 million. Other proposals include the W.S.K policy and research centre building to be tabled to the University Management.
Speaking on behalf of Kajubi’s family, Mr. Wasswa Yoweri Kajubi, said that his father had instilled in them the importance of living a meaningful and rewarding life through celebrating God and contributing to improving the lives of others. He thanked the organizers of the event, the speakers and attendees for honouring Prof. Kajubi.
Dr Masagazi announced the theme for the 2016 Prof. William Senteza Kajubi Memorial Lecture as, “Practical approaches to funding Higher Education” in respect to the current massification of higher education and the funding challenges associated with the higher education demand.
The inaugural memorial lecture was chaired by the Dean School of Education, Dr Betty Ezati and attended by politicians, civil society, academicians, students and staff of Makerere University and the general public. A document highlighting the lecture proceedings and the College’s analysis will be presented to another stakeholders’ forum and later to the Ministry of Education, Sports and ICTs.
The inaugural Prof. William Senteza Kajubi Memorial lecture was generously supported by Bank of Uganda, Peacock Paints, Palle Moeller Foundation, Buganda Royal Institute of Business and Technical Education, Nkumba University, Lubiri High School, DFCU Bank, Rwenzori Bottling Company and the Friends and Relatives of Prof. Kajubi.
The annual Prof. William Senteza Kajubi Memorial Lecture was initiated by the College of Education and External Studies with the aim of recognizing the great contribution Prof. Kajubi made towards the development of the education system in Uganda and also giving an annual platform for educationists and other academicians to share experiences with decision makers and other stake holders on various education issues as an avenue to stream line the education sector in Uganda as well as inform policy.