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Scholars to change engineering curricula to meet industrial needs

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Exhibitors explain their innovations during the meeting. PHOTO BY Edgar Batte 

By  EDGAR R. BATTE

Posted  Friday, August 29   2014 at  01:00

In Summary

Addressing deficiencies. The programme aims at addressing persistent and documented deficiencies in engineering skills capacity in Sub- Saharan Africa.

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Makerere University has had its share of criticism for being more theoretical than practical and not catering for the needs of the changing and dynamic job market.
Well, this should be a story of yesterday, at least now that its engineering and technology college is working with scholars from other universities to improve learning.
The other universities are Dar es Salaam, Moi and Dedan Kimanthi who are creating a hub and spoke model under which they will share lessons learned and teaching materials.
This formed the debate and exchanges between academic scholars recently at a two-day workshop. They were meeting under the dub ‘Problem based learning: A teaching and learning tool for enhancing innovative capacity in EAC higher education engineering institutions’ programme.
This is based on outcome-based education which is a student centred learning process which requires students to demonstrate the skills and competencies they have acquired at the completion of their studies.
This is different from traditional education where one tends to concentrate on the resources available to the student and the time and methods of delivery of the course content in form of facts and methods.
“Development of outcome based curriculum is part of the Enriching Engineering Education Programme (EEEP) in thr Sub - Saharan Region is aimed at bringing the engineering curricula closer to the needs of the learners and the modern industry,” the programme coordinator Bavo Nyichomba explained.
He said the programme aims at addressing persistent and documented deficiencies in engineering skills capacity in Sub- Saharan Africa.
He added, “Increasing the engineering curriculum’s relevance to regional development priorities and business needs, and building valuable, mutually beneficial links between African academia and business.”

The programme at a glance
The programme started in August last year and is expected to end in July 2015. It is led by the Royal Academy of Engineering, UK, as part of the Africa-UK Engineering for Development (A-UK) partnership which also includes the Africa Engineers Forum, Engineers Against Poverty and the Institution of Civil Engineers

rbatte@ug.nationmedia.com