Friday January 31 2014

Prioritise research at universities

By Kambaho Narasi Anyijuka

When I finished my first degree at Makerere University in 2004, I vowed never to go back to the university. This was majorly because learning was largely lecturer-centered and 90 per cent theoretical including poor handling of students’ affairs as a whole.

However, when I enrolled in 2012/2013 for a post graduate course in Investigative Journalism, I was pleasantly surprised. A lot had changed.

The conduct of lectures and the learning process (training and delivery) was student centered with lecturers acting as facilitators and the learning process 100 per cent practical. It was exciting to do new exploits as students. The holistic training with clearly defined output in terms of competencies was tremendous.

During the recent graduation, the Vice Chancellor, Prof Ddumba Sentamu, revealed that Makerere University ranks second in Africa in malaria research courtesy of findings by Dr Mohammed Larmode. What an achievement in research and innovation! This is enough to justify why the government should devote more money to research units at all universities. And the benefits of well-funded research projects by universities or individuals and organisations would be far reaching in transforming our economy.

In view of research and its envisaged benefits, university students should be guided on how to come up with viable research proposals whose impact/findings will create a paradigm shift in the relevant sector or area. This will motivate students to be more focused in designing research proposals during the course of their studies.

A case in point is in Holland training institutions where each student is guided on the project he/she is supposed to work on as part of his/her assessment at the time of entry to the institution. It is my appeal that Dr Lamorde’s research be published on all platforms available ranging from online, electronic, print media as well as displaying it on key public notice boards.

And the training institution together with other stakeholders should make good use of it during the induction of students. It is really inspirational; imagine how the senior fellowship grant he received will impact the economy in terms of job creation and global attention. Thank you Dr Lamorde and thank you Makerere University for setting the research agenda in Africa and the globe.

Kambaho Narasi Anyijuka
Alumni, Makerere convocation