Makerere University should be applauded for the new move it has taken to improve the quality of graduates it churns out every year. It’s a good decision it which should have come much earlier.
On its 67th graduation ceremony on Tuesday, the university announced it had phased out 197 academic programmes across its colleges. The Vice Chancellor Prof John Ddumba Ssentamu revealed that the Senate and Council had restructured the university’s academic programmes and reduced the courses from 450 to 253 to synchronise its curriculum with the National Development Agenda objectives.
Under the restructuring, the university’s director of quality assurance Dr Vincent Ssembatya said similar or related courses will be merged to avoid duplicity of content and to improve the quality of the academic programmes offered at the university to ensure they meet the dynamic and rigorous demands of the growing job market.
The split of the academic programmes into small multiple courses has hurt both the quality of the degrees and diplomas the university offers and the extra resources squandered on similar or related courses offering substantially the same content and skills.
This anomaly has bred an undesirable result of churning out half-baked graduates who cannot compete favourably in the ever-changing and growing labour market.
It has also consumed the space and resources for more deserving courses that are critical and relevant to the country’s development agenda.
Dr Ssembatya rightly cited the merger of Bachelor of Information Systems and Bachelor of Information Sciences.
In brutal honesty, this has been a thoughtless undertaking, wasting the university’s meager resources without producing anything of additional or different value. There is also the Bachelor of Computer Science and Bachelor of Computer Engineering, whose only differentiation is the wording. The list is long. Makerere has many such twin courses yet the country gains nothing from them.
The restructuring and fusion of the courses will bring huge relief to the resource-starved university. The move will save a lot of resources that have otherwise been wasted on facilitation and teaching of these redundant courses and redirect the savings to support more critical areas. Besides, it will enrich the academic knowledge the university offers to the students in their respective courses because they will get more comprehensive teaching and less or no redundancy in content. And by this, Makerere’s academic rating will improve significantly and restore the university’s pride as the country’s tertiary giant.
The issue: Course restructuring.
Our view: The move will save a lot of resources that have otherwise been wasted on facilitation and teaching of these redundant courses and redirect the savings to support more critical areas.