Interviewed and complied by Priscilla Lamwaka
Excellent academic performance is certainly one of the goals we stand for as the business school. Since we aim to enable the future of our students, as much as possible, our efforts must be centered towards the learning processes in the Institution . I do appreciate the efforts of all staff towards this achievement. Various specific practices contribute to the good performance.
There is executive support from the Principal right to lower academic administrative offices. Principal’s Office through various offices ensures the key learning processes are properly handled. These include among others; admissions, teaching assessment, field attachment and curriculum review.
New students, through the orientation programme are taken through key presentations on their studies and how to handle life at campus. The Principal’s address to the first year students is usually well attended and the message of hard work, avoiding wasting time, keeping free from situations that endanger their lives among others is well received. Deans and Heads of Department further take up the message in their respective units. This is a good starting point to final academic grades. MUBS administration enables the Guild Leadership to talk to fellow students and counsel each other. So as students get admitted into the institution, they are fully aware of what it takes to secure a good degree.
MUBS uses a team teaching model, with two to five academic staff handling a class. This enables staff to handle areas where they are more specialised within the course. This mixture of staff teaching the same subject ensures complementarity of skills so that our students are able to pick more from class.
Our Quality Assurance Directorate monitors the various processes in the institution. Reports on how teaching is going on are submitted to Principal and Deans for action. At any time, im aware of what is happening. Therefore missing of teaching classes is minimized. Though we have not yet been able to enforce students’ registration per lecture, we hope with the full implementation of the Academic Management Information System, this will be possible and will further improve students’ class performance.
Im fully convinced that we have good academic staff. Our practice of retaining the best performing students to start an academic career has been very useful. We take them through a TOT session to be able to pick basic pedagogical skills. A few years ago, we started the Postgraduate Diploma in Education program to enable academic staff get appropriate teaching skills and competences. Our Staff Development Policy which ensures all staff advance to higher qualifications makes them more able and confident to deliver in class. On this note, I would wish to congratulate 7 our staff who graduated with their PhDs at the January 16, 2020 graduation ceremony at Makerere University.
We do encourage staff to teach using local cases that can be well comprehended by the students. In the past, we trained staff how to develop local cases. We shall continue to do so. Some staff have written books/ monographs, so students find it easy to supplement the library textbooks with staff books. We have tried to have the key essential books in the library. Students can equally access the electronic reading materials.
We encourage our senior staff, the Professors, the PhD holders not only to facilitate at doctoral and masters level, but also to teach first year classes. The senior staff have wide examples, knowledge and experiences to pick from. This encourages students to work hard and target to be the same like the senior staff. You will realise our staff do not only hold academic positions, but also get involved in other outside activities like presentation of papers, they are members of boards on some government parastatals, they do some consultancy among others. So they are exposed to the practical aspects of what they teach. When you mix the theoretical and the practical aspects, then students learn more.
I also think the group discussions learning model that the students use enable them to grasp more concepts since they are tutorials in themselves. These academic associations like ASAMU have been helpful in improving performance of weak students. I must also say discipline is important; we don’t have unnecessary riots at MUBS.
As administration we are always available to sort out any issue that otherwise would be a potential cause for a riot. We do thank the students for this culture. As other university students are striking or planning so, MUBS students are in class. I am sure our students have an edge over the others in the employment market. This culture of seriousness at MUBS keeps students yearning to be the best in their classes. That humble ceremony faculties organise to recognise students on the Vice Chancellor’s list motivates students to work hard and to keep on the top. I must appreciate all Deans who have been organising such events.
Are you proud of this achievement and do you feel your efforts have not been achieved?
Yes, we are here for the students cause and it is a good feeling to see our students, accompanied by their parents receives the prestigious academic award at the Makerere University graduation event. I personally fell lifted up! Such achievements are a reflection that we have been working hard.
Do you expect this to be a continuous achievement even years to come?
Yes, even if we don’t get the very best, our students will always be among the best 10. One of the challenges as Academic Board is to reduce on the failure rate and increase the pass rates.
We are vindicated when our students perform better than those from other institutions when they go for field internship and when they get jobs. We get reports that our students do well. Having a theoretically and practically right graduate is what Uganda requires. This gives us pride. I have a feeling that MUBS will always be a great institution in Uganda and beyond.