CEES Seminar Series: Research under a lockdown


Even in the turbulent periods when most of us were home trying to hide away from Covid 19, Makerere university researchers at the Department of Humanities and Language Education of the college of Education and External studies (CEES) were busy patrolling communities to further understand what Ugandans think of current learning and teaching methods and how effectively they can be harnessed.

All this was unveiled on 21st January, 2022 during the 4th edition of the college seminar series themed Educational research during a national lockdown, Experiences and possibilities in the field. Seminar series is a Makerere university platform where both students and researchers meet to share and brainstorm on findings from projects and research they have completed.

Dr. Rebecca Nambi a senior Lecturer and researcher at the college of Education and External studies (CEES) opened the engagement reminding the audience how the Education fraternity is at crisis due to the Covid 19 pandemic and reinstated how worse it is for researchers, urged them not to bow down as it is a mandate they have to take upon if they are to continue educating and positively impacting this our nation.

Dr. Rovincer Najjuma the moderator of the discussion invited Dr. Marjorie Sarah Kabuye Batiibwe a research don and mathematics Lecturer at the Department of mathematics and Basic sciences on the panel to discuss how she successfully conducted four research projects in the middle of a country lockdown.
Dr. Kabuye with 11 years in research was able to collect data on a theme named ‘Integrated women in mathematical sciences in Uganda’ that was funded by the world academy of science where she looked at empowering Ugandan girls on picking interest in mathematics at a young age to scrap away a mindset that it is such a ‘difficult’ subject. Secondly, she worked on a research project themed ‘Future training and Job market training in secondary schools’ where she looked at avenues from the people’s perspective through which we can prepare secondary school students for the Job market economy.

Increasing the number of girls offering mathematics and basic sciences in East Africa was another project Dr. Kabuye worked on basing on the fact that a few girls pick interest in such subjects. “We wanted to address the girls’ attitude and approach towards mathematics,” added Dr. Kabuye. The fourth project was about transformation of teaching and learning using emerging technologies in Makerere University.

“Covid 19 has affected the way researchers and educationists understand, conduct and disseminate research but we still remain relevant and in a spotlight as everyone is looking on us to revamp the education sector that has been tested for the last 2 years, the domains of learning, emotions, health and life style should be at center stage in bringing back minds of our students to classes since they spend most of the time with us at schools,” Dr. Kabuye advised.

“Mentorship and psychosocial support are a mandate to every person they call a teacher. We should be able to signal to other sectors of challenges in post lockdown education.”
The pandemic has impacted educational research learning styles, pedagogy, curriculum and policy.
Challenges still remain in the recruitment of participants, increment in cost of doing research, delayed completion of projects, management of participatory data collection methods and minimizing ethics including consent, qualitative data collection, privacy and confidentiality.

However, embracing digital technology and greater free access to scholarly works are opportunities that cannot go unappreciated. Possibilities from research under lockdown include capacity building on online support and technological tools for researchers.
Dr. Kabuye ended her remarks showing a need for design of remote packages has to be adopted as it has been done to urban would-be samples to ensure inclusivity in research as one of the objectives and goals of research projects.

The Head of Department Humanities and Language education Dr. Muhammad Kiggudu Musoke thanked researchers and educationists at the college for honoring the seminar series program, the commitment and resilience they showed even during the Covid 19 lockdown as they embark at transformation through building for the future.

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