To increase access to flexible quality education in Makerere University by increasing capacity to integrate ICTs into pedagogical processes through leapfrogging the current 1st generation distance education provision into 4th and 5th generation distance education provisions.
Makerere University (Mak), a hitherto single-mode institution, became a dual-mode university in 1991 when it launched its first distance education programs. At that time, distance education was delivered through print modules prepared by lecturers and delivered to students when they report to the University to attend occasional residential (face-to-face) sessions. This mode of delivery was termed the correspondence mode and has since been categorised as the 1st generation distance education.
Twenty-two (22) years down the road, the mode of provision of distance education at Mak has not changed! Distance learners still depend on print study materials which are blended with occasional face-to-face sessions at the main campus with no or limited use of ICTs. This 1st generation form of distance education provision is archaic, costly and accessible only to a limited number of students. The situation has remained static for the last 22 years because Mak does not have the financial, human, infrastructural and technical capacity to implement ICT based distance education.
By the year 2000, only two distance learning programs – the Bachelor of Education (External) and Bachelor of Commerce (External) had a total enrolment of 7,000 students. Overtime, the number of distance learning programs has grown to five. However, due to the poor student support system, characteristic of 1st generation distance education, retention of students has continually declined due to high attrition levels averaging at about 60% per intake cohort. Presently, there are 3,425 distance
With the advent of the World Wide Web (WWW) and interactive, mobile, ubiquitous and synchronous ICTs, universities world over are embracing the distance education mode of delivery using these ICTs. The opposite is true for the distance education provision at Mak. Since its inception in 1991, distance education at Mak is largely still of 1st generation order or of the correspondence form. Current distance education programs at Mak utilise print-based study modules supplemented by occasional residential sessions at the main campus. The programs are more teacher-centred than learner-centred. They employ limited and in most cases, no ICTs at all. They are thus limited to a few privileged students and are costly to run. Consequently, this 1st generation distance education defeats the cardinal aim of distance education, which is, to massify, at a low cost, the provision of education and reach out to all those who cannot afford to attend a fulltime education.
Stagnation at the 1st generation distance education has curtailed Mak’s ability to foster ICT pedagogical integration. This stagnation has been occasioned by the limited infrastructural, technical, human and financial capacity of Mak to implement 4th and 5th generation distance education. The 4th and 5thgeneration distance education uses intelligent flexible learning models which employ interactive multimedia (IMM) online; e.g., social networks, Internet-based access to WWW resources, computer-mediated communications using automated response systems and campus portal access to institutional processes and resources.
In this Project, we aim at achieving resources and human and technical capacity to offer blended/online learning programs. Through this Project, financial resources shall be secured to build the necessary infrastructural, technical, human resource and research capacity for leapfrogging Mak’s 1st generation distance education provision into 4th and 5th generation distance education mode.
When 4th and 5th generation distance education is achieved at Mak, lifelong learners with multiple social, political, economic and religious obligations and challenges; youth completing Advanced (‘A’) Level studies; marginalised groups, Ugandans in the Diaspora; and other nationals within and without the Eastern Africa region will be able to access quality higher education. Education will be extended to socially, economically, geographically or politically disadvantaged individuals or groups of people. Such persons could be: women and men emerging from war, conflicts and natural disasters, individuals stricken by disease and poverty, women whose movements are limited by gender and reproductive obligations and those persons qualifying but cannot be absorbed in the limited brick-and-mortar universities in LMICs.
Further, with 4th and 5th generation Distance Education, nationals of South Sudan will be able to access education from Mak, without the need to travel to Uganda for extended periods. This will abet capacity development in the young nation of South Sudan.
Offering 4th and 5th generation distance education is in line with Uganda’s Vision 2025 which is committed to providing an education which imparts the 21st Century skills to its citizenry. It is also in line with Mak’s 10 year strategic plan which articulates open, distance and e-learning (ODeL) as the number-one strategic action for increasing access to flexible education at Mak. This Project is also in line Millennium Development goals of eradicating poverty and gender equality.
Education (Bachelors and Masters Level)
PhD and Research
Country of Implementation: Norway and Uganda
Project Duration: 5 Years
Funding Body: NORAD- NORHED
Project Cost (Amount Applied for): NOK 17,992,295
Core Project Team
University of Adger
Dr Paul Birevu Muyinda (PhD) (Senior Lecturer/Head of Department Open and Distance Learning (Project Coordinator)
Tel: +256-772-406919, +256-701-406919