By Jimmy Siyasa
Uganda Christian University (UCU) has won the first virtual National Council for Higher Education Exhibition. This comes after a three-day online exhibition contest, held from 10-12 November 2021, which attracted over 50 exhibitors.
UCU emerged overall best among both public and private universities. The second runner-up was Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST), followed by United States International University.
According to the panel of judges from the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), UCU showcased innovations and e-services that were relevant to the theme- Innovation for Current and Emerging Challenges and Opportunities under the COVID-19.
“ UCU displayed a stall that resonated well with the theme of the virtual exhibition, said Denis Omvia, the lead judge, who also noted that the UCU booth was neat. “Their booth showed a high level of organization and preparation. The UCU booth, including video uploads, was easy to navigate and download for anyone who visited the site,” he added.
The panel in its criteria keenly considered the efficacy of Virtual systems for examination administration, technological innovation, management of examination malpractice, student identification, online learning, et cetera.
Omvia urged institutions to invest heavily in research and innovation because the future of education is virtual and that “COVID-19 is still with us”.
How UCU won:
UCU has won the exhibition contest twice, since 2018, before it went virtual. This marks the third consecutive win for the institution.
The UCU Learning Management System (eLearning) and the online voting platform eChagua were key innovations that impressed the panel, earning the University first place in the interuniversity contest. Through eLearning, students are able to attend online classes, access reading materials and write examinations. Likewise, lecturers are able to teach, upload course materials (video, audio and text) and also administer assessments effectively.
Echagua: This is the UCU online Electoral Commission platform through which students can register and vote.
Virtual Graduation: UCU continued to teach and assess students, even amidst the COVID-19 lockdowns, and managed to hold two virtual graduations i.e. December 2020 and October 2021.
Other innovations that secured UCU victory include the Law Moots, Online Pre-entry exams for UCU School of Dentistry, Medicine and the Faculty of Law.
The Annual Higher Education Exhibition is one of the key dissemination activities of the NCHE and a premier event in the National Higher Education Calendar. It brings together various institutions from around the country to exhibit technological innovations.