Monday, 20 April 2009

The Rebuilding of Makerere's Reputation?

There is interesting article on the rebuilding of Makerere's reputation at the Science and Development Network website. It writes glowingly about the return of a 'research culture' at the university, indicated by a sharp uptick in the number of PhD students graduating in the past few years. This comes after Makerere's reputation as one of the best university's in Africa was hurt by years of neglect and hostility during the fifteen years of political turmoil that consumed Uganda from 1971. It is notable, though, that the article attributes many of the gains to foreign donor money (including the gleaming IT faculty - pictured above from ibeatty on Flickr), a source that is clearly unsustainable. It remains that Makerere is desperately short of resources from central Government, as any visitor to campus will quickly realise.

This extract addresses both the the recent improvements and the huge problems that remain:

Patrick Okori, a crop scientist at Makerere University in Uganda, is breaking a departmental habit of 40 years. He is employing a postdoctoral fellow.

"Today," beams the triumphant scientist from behind his spectacles, "I have been able to employ the very first postdoctoral fellow in the department. And I have also trained 17 postgraduates, 14 MScs and three PhDs over the last four and a half years." Across the university other scientists tell similar stories as Uganda's highest seat of education gradually regains its prestigious reputation of 40 years ago...

But all is not yet perfect and some successes have heightened the challenges. The recent report for IDRC, which it commissioned to assess its own support to the university, highlighted the strain caused by the enormous number of students, up from just 7,000 in the 1990s.
Problems include large classes, increased teaching and marking loads and poor salaries, said the IDRC, noting that "at the same time, [staff] are facing an increasing pressure to conduct research and publish"

Hat-tip: Africa Unchained

1 comment:

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