By Lhwanzu Kitooke
- The award means that UCU innovations and way of doing things have been appraised by external parties and found to be solid and highly responsive to societal needs.
Mukono Sunday March 18th, 2018 - Uganda Christian University (UCU) was yesterday Saturday March 17th, 2018 declared overall winner of the 10th annual higher education exhibition organised by the National Council for Higher Education Exhibition. Under the theme, Higher Education for the Future: Strengthening Innovations for Sustainable Development, the exhibition ran between March 15th- 17th 2018 at Lugogo Show Grounds.
UCU won the category of Chartered and Public Universities, which is the highest form of accreditation for Ugandan universities. Speaking shortly after receiving the trophy, Michael Mubangizi, the Manager Communications and Marketing at UCU said that the award means that UCU innovations and way of doing things have been appraised by external parties and found to be solid and highly responsive to societal needs.
“It is the highest form of approval of innovations and contribution to higher education in Uganda by the regulator; the National Council for Higher Education,” Mubangizi said.
UCU was followed by Ndejje University and Uganda Martyrs University respectively.
Universities were also categorised into provisionally licensed and other degree awarding institutions, and other tertiary institutions category. William Banage, a retired professor of zoology who became a professor in 1968 led a team of judges that assessed the universities.
Speaking on behalf of the judges, Mr. Arthur Babu Muguzi, said that the judges awarded marks on the basis of alignment of exhibitions to the theme, level of innovation and presentation as well as documentation and dissemination mechanisms of university innovations.
Also considered was the attractiveness of exhibition stalls, level of public relations and customer care skills of exhibitors, use of space, smartness of the exhibitors seniority of university personnel involved in the exhibition and number of exhibition stalls.
The judges commended UCU for the high level of innovations, alignment of their innovations to theme, superior presentation, public relations and customer skills.
“Some exhibitors could not even state the theme of the exhibition. This was a disappointment because the event is annual and there is enough time to prepare,” said Muguzi. He asked universities to plan earlier enough and budget for their exhibitions.
Mubangizi and Canon Bob Obetti Nzima (Director UCU, Arua Campus) received the trophy on behalf of Uganda Christian University.
The UCU innovations at the exhibition were from the following UCU campuses, faculties and departments; science and technology, engineering and environment, agriculture, nursing, industrial and fine art, business and administration. Others were mass communications, law and library and information science, UCU Kampala Campus and UCU Arua Campus.
Kisubi University won the category of provisionally licenced universities and other degree awarding institutions and other tertiary institutions followed by St. Lawrence University and The Agha Khan University.
In the other tertiary institutions, Uganda Technical Institute (UTC) Bushenyi won followed by Nile Vocational Institute in Jinja and Institute of Advanced Leadership.
The Executive Director NCHE, Prof. John Asibo Opuda made a case of increased enrolment of women in higher education, “Let us encourage women to take higher education seriously,” he said.
The Chief Guest Mr. Sebaggala Kigozi who doubles as the acting Council Chairperson at the National Council for Higher Education and a Commissioner at the Independent Electoral Commission of Uganda said the theme exhibition was timely, “we all want to develop and that cannot take place without innovations.”
He also asked universities to document and widely disseminate their innovations to increase their visibility and their contribution to addressing societal needs.
On her part, Dr. Norah Mulira, the Chairperson organising committee for the exhibition encouraged exhibitors to start small and not to despise humble beginnings, “If we are to innovate for higher education, we will start with small student projects”, she said citing mobile money which started as a student project in Kenya is now serving millions of people.