The United States ambassador to Uganda His excellence William W. Popp and Makerere University professors have praised the two-time Vice Chancellor the late Prof William Senteza Kajubi for his enormous contribution towards the education sector.
This was during the 4th Fulbright memorial lecture held on Tuesday, November 7, 2023 at Makerere University in the memory of a great educationist under the theme: “Uganda’s Higher Education in the Digital Age: Navigating the future through technological advancements”.
According to Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, the Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof Kajubi left a remarkable legacy, which advocated for equal access toquality education and he is described as the father of the education sector.
“We celebrate him, not only as a leader but also a symbol of unity and resilience. His dedication to our nation’s progress and his unwavering commitment to the development of the education system continue to inspire us all,” he said.
The late Prof Kajubi will be remembered for being the father of Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE) that ensured that all children can have access to education.
Prof Nawangwe called for togetherness to work towards the future of the country as they celebrate the legacy of the late scholar.
He lauded the U.S for their continued commitment to nurturing change makers through its Fulbright Program which facilitates exchange of knowledge, skills and culture. The late Prof Kajubi is celebrated as one of the first Africans to benefit from the Fulbright program in 1952.
The Fulbright program is an international exchange program that is sponsored by the U.S government and it has fostered mutual understanding between the United States and other countries since 1946.
Prof. Nawangwe noted that since the outbreak of Covid 19, the university has continued to embrace digital technology inform of blended learning. And he said the university’s obligation to conducting research that will alleviate Ugandans from poverty is a sign of giving back to the government of Uganda for the investments done at the University.
“We are looking at what we can do in order to help the country to move forward on this digitization front. What we are going to do is to study the other countries that have gone before us, to know what they are doing, and pave away of how best we can do it without repeating what they did,” he said
“We are recognized as one of the most proficient and research intensive institutions in Africa. And when it comes to clinical medicine, we compete with the best in the world,” He said.
He asked different stakeholders to utilize the available resources to deliver change in their communities saying, “There are countries that are more advanced in the digital platform than we are but I don’t think that can stop us from doing things that they are doing and going further than they have done. We can use the equipment we have like smartphones and simple computers that we can afford that can do the same work that the complex computers in advanced countries can do.” The VC emphasized.
“We must address challenges of climate change, youth unemployment, good governance, emerging diseases among others”.
His Excellency William Popp acknowledged Makerere’s collaboration with the institutions in the US and applauded the VC for the far he has moved the University to being the one of the leading academic institutions in Africa.
He pledged more support and a good working relationship of the US and Makerere University.
Prof Anthony Muwagga Mugagga, the Principal of the College of Education and External Studies called for the need for teachers to incorporate Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their teaching and emulate Prof. Ssenteza who did great things in the education terrain for close to 30 years.
“At the start of the year, I asked my colleagues whether robots won’t replace us. But what I know is that a well-trained teacher will never be replaced.” He noted.
He described Prof. Kajubi as a beacon of hope and progress in the field of education. “His unwavering dedication to the betterment of our region, and his indomitable spirit in the face of challenges, serves as an inspiration for all of us in the realm of education”
The keynote addresses, delivered by Dr. Jeannice Fairrer Samani and Dr Alister McLeod emphasized the need for Africa to use technology to solve its challenges.