Students Explain Makerere University Potential in an Academic Fair
Makerere University exhibition 1-4th December, 2005.
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First published: December 7, 2005
If you believed in allegations that Makerere University is on the downward move in as far as academics and relevance to the national and individual students’ development is concerned, you may need to think again. Makerere University proved its critics wrong recently through what the academic affairs department in the office of the Guild called “academic innovations at Makerere University exhibition”.
The exhibition was organized by the Guild office of Makerere University under the particular office of the academic affairs minister. Almost all faculties, schools, institutes and departments of the university took part in the four-day exhibition that ran from 1-4th December 2005.
According to the guild minister of academic affairs, Annet Kanyago, the University invited many schools around Kampala and business enterprises which have education related products and services.
The Gender Mainstreaming Division under the Academic Registrar’s office was among the exhibiters. The Division attracted a good number of visitors whom according to one of the officials at the stall Nakabanda Rachael were interested in knowing what gender is all about and its relevance to the students, university and the nation.
Nakabanda says that the division joined the exhibition to explain the importance of gender in the development of society. She says that in an economy where some of the people especially women are neglected, the economy can never attain balanced and rapid development, adding that that is the main reason why the Gender Mainstreaming Division exists and gender studies is taught at the University.
The Gender Mainstreaming Division stall also had on site counseling services to the students who felt they need support in their life.
“The most common issues presented by students for counseling included relationships, academics, fees, sexual harassment from both students and lecturers among others”, says Lempacho Christine a Peer Trainer found at the stall. Peer Trainers are students mobilized and trained by the division annually to sensitize the students’ and the general University community about gender issues.
Films performed by Peer Trainers such as the Hunter and the hunted, Mwanasikana, Silent culture and those about the peer Trainers workshops held in students’ hostels were on display and playing on a big screen-all teaching gender inequalities and how to eliminate them from society.
Other items on display included copies of The Focus, a quarterly magazine produced by Gender Mainstreaming Division, photos, T-shirts, banners bearing gender equality and equity messages.
Another fascinating stall was the one of the Faculty of Technology. Here, a number of technological innovations were exhibited. The most outstanding piece was the cereal roaster, which was invented by Basil Bbabu who graduated in 2003 with his invention as the best that year.
The cereal roaster can roast 15 kilograms of cereals at a go in ten minutes. According to Bbabu who was at the stall to explain his innovation, the machine can be very helpful to both domestic and commercial users. The machine uses charcoal as the source of energy.
Bbabu says that the user needs to rotate the machine at 15 revolutions per minute for ten minutes in order to achieve the required results of properly roasted cereals.
Other innovations from the faculty included a fruit extractor, a dishwasher, a maize Sheller, passion fruit blender and a computer program used in designing of things done at the faculty.
You could have heard that the faculty of Technology plans to begin designing and producing aeroplane parts – yes, the dream could come true. During this exhibition, students demonstrated how this would be done. Andrew Ayo, one of the students at the site explained how Solid Edge - the program used to design technological machines, works and that all the pieces exhibited were designed here in Uganda using Solid Edge and this same program can be used to design aeroplane parts. Ayo however says that the Faculty lacks the industrial version of Solid Edge.
The stall for Faculty of Medicine also was a place of useful knowledge that students benefited from. “Moderate drinking is socially acceptable and scientifically useful, but most alcohol drinkers take too much for their livers to handle”, educated Batte Anthony.
In Batte’s words, the liver can normally process 75 mills or grams of alcohol and anything exceeding that puts the liver at risk and hence the health of the alcohol drinker. Batte says that for someone to drink moderately, one bottle of Guinness, two of Bell, one of Nile and Club is enough.
Guinness contains 75 grams of pure alcohol; Club has 45, Nile 56 and Bell 40. The risks of taking above capacity for the liver to process bring heart disease, cancer, endocrine disease and liver failure among other complications. “Therefore friends drink responsibly, do not say we did not tell you”, warned Batte, a 4th year Medicine student.
Smoking and contraceptives were other areas of information exchange and dissemination at the faculty of medicine stall.
Alex Muhindo, a 4th year student of human medicine was particularly good at the anti-smoking campaign. Muhindo explained to students and other people who visited his stall that smoking is very bad and dangerous to human health and non-smokers needed not to begin because the habit is addictive and yet has no benefit.
He blames government for not enforcing “no smoking laws” in public places and forcing cigarette producers to put meaningful warning labels on their products, adding that “cigarette smoking may be harmful to your health” messages are not effective because they carry another misleading message that smoking may not harm your health, which is not true.
Apart from the innovations in different faculties, schools, institutes and departments, visitors were enlightened about the different courses taught at the University and available employment opportunities for every course offered at Makerere.
The lead exhibitor in this area was the academic registrar’s office of Makerere University. This stall was visited by mostly secondary school students seeking information regarding the admission requirements, essential subjects for certain courses among other things.
According to one official at the stall, Makerere offers 249 courses including certificate, diploma and degree courses. She informed the attentively listening students that almost each year the university begins a new course and that these courses are begun to answer the emerging needs in the job market.
The students were given the university anthem to learn as they prepare to join the university of their dream. “These students are in most cases senior-six candidates and the university thought by giving them the university anthem the students would be encouraged to read hard to join Makerere”, revealed one official.
The students talked looked excited and satisfied with the knowledge attained through the exhibition. Pennymerionce Nasali, a student from Our Lady of Good Counsel in Gayaza expressed gratitude for the information given to her by the department of Political science and public administration, which helped her to choose a career to take.
“Before this visit our teachers confused me about which subjects to pass in order to get university admission on certain courses, but now I’m aware” said Nasali.
The Academic Registrar’s stall also exhibited Gowns including the 82-year coat, which was said to be the oldest and the first gown worn in the beginning days of the university, ties, Convocation T-shirts, graduation books, and graduation photos of all Chancellors the university has ever had.
Next time you hear an academic exhibition at Makerere University, go and witness what the nation’s future managers can do and judge for yourself whether Uganda is on the right path towards the modern and developed country that we all yearn for.
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First published: December 7, 2005
John Isingoma is a member of Ultimate Media Consult (U) Ltd. A social scientist by training, Isingoma is the Executive Secretary at Ultimate Media Consult (U) Ltd and after years training and practice in the media has become a dedicated writer and researcher.