Education sector needs revamping - academic
Posted Friday, February 22 2013 at 02:00
Prof Omaswa said besides the Makerere University Council being big, it is not professional and lacks the required skills.
A team instituted to investigate the state of Makerere University has said the government needs to pay attention to the entire education system to develop skills needed for the job market.
Prof. Francis Omaswa, the leader of the taskforce, said it was wrong for the government to pay attention to lower education by promoting Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE), leaving higher education to the private sector.
“The government should pay attention to the entire education system. The people who go to teach in UPE/USE schools need the correct skills. This is critical. UPE can’t be strong if higher education foundation is weak because it’s where skills are developed,” Prof Omaswa said in an interview.
“This is where we got it wrong. They are all important. What was wrong was to say UPE/USE are more important and leaving higher education to the private sector to make money,” he added.
The taskforce was expected to look into job-grading structures, reward mechanisms and the resultant grievances and disputes that have often cropped up at the institution.
The findings handed to Makerere University authorities two weeks ago indicate that despite the university producing 67 per cent of the graduates, the institution continues to be underfunded. Prof Omaswa added that even the little resources available are not well utilised.
He added: “The staff-student ratios are below the recommended standard. They are short of funds, which is not their fault. The fees charged are below a unit cost. It doesn’t come on time and some students sit exams without charge.”
Other findings show that some of the administrative positions are duplicated. For instance, the academic registrar and deputy vice chancellor-in-charge of academics serve the same purpose while the law gives the university secretary and deputy vice chancellor- finance the same functions.
The team also points a finger at the National Council for Higher Education (NHCE) for failure to regulate duplication of courses.
The vice chancellor, Prof Ddumba Ssentamu, said a workshop was being organised to discuss the findings with stakeholders, pledging that recommendations within their means would be implemented.