A team from Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) visit Makerere to benchmark the operationalisation of the Collegiate system.
A seven- man team from Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) made a three days visit to Makerere University to study how Makerere University was fairing following her transition from Faculty based to a Collegiate system.
SUA is in the process of restructuring with special emphasis on the proposed School of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness. The lessons picked from Makerere would help them make informed decisions.
The SUA team arrived in Uganda on 29th March, 2015 and was on campus from 30th March to 1st April. They first visited the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and interacted with the Principal Prof. Bernard Bashaasha and other staff.
The SUA team members included Damian Gabagambi, Charles Malaki, Emmanuel Mbiha, Sebastian Chenyambuga, Caroline Nombo, David Kraybill and Isaac Minde.
At the University, they had interactions with senior members of staff and Management including the Vice Chancellor and his Deputies, Directors in the Departments of Planning and Development, Quality Assurance, Research and Graduate training, long serving professors and members of staff who have served on different university committees, Deans, Heads of Departments, and RUFORUM.
The key issues and questions revolved around the rationale of restructuring Makerere University, the motives and what the situation was before. Other generic issues were how the exercise was conducted and the processes, the challenges faced during the implementation and how they were resolved. Also key were questions on the outcomes of the collegiate system and the role of different stakeholders in the restructuring process and how they would redo it if asked to repeat.
The team obtained detailed description of the current structure touching on key areas such as relationship with higher organs of the University, academic matters, finance, student matters, staff, research and funding, among others. They also had a physical guide tour of the University to get a first hand appreciation of available facilities and services.
Among the outstanding benefits from the collegiate that commonly featured throughout different interviewees included the decentralisation of some of the administration functions such as accounting, registration of students, procurement, Human resources and communication functions. Others benefits are the reduction of the duplication of courses, efficient use and sharing of the available infrastructure and human resources in teaching.
Some of the challenges cited during the implementation of the collegiate system included delayed implementation of the policy from 1996 until 2011 due unwillingness and resistance of members. The team was also informed that the university was still grappling with the decentralisation of staff recruitment, finance and academic management wit powers still retained at the centre.
Other challenges according to interviewees arose from the choice to go for the four tier system (college, school, department and the centre) as opposed to the three tier system which created another layer of bureaucracies and administrative costs.
Also noted was the problem of none representation of College Principals at the senate and council committees due to lack of policy mandate causing a gap between top management and colleges.
It was also observed that whereas the number of students kept on increasing, available infrastructure was inadequate including finances to run the core functions.
The DVC (Finance and Administration) Assoc. Prof. Barnabus Nawangwe outlined some of the plans to raise revenue. These included the recent privatisation of the halls of residences and dinning services, downscaling of the workforce in the there and redeployment of the workforce as support staff at colleges then, outsourcing catering services for the students.
Dr. Nawangwe also explained that the university master plan is to form Public Private Partnership to develop university resources. These include the Development of the 14 acres of land at Kololo into a commercial complex; Rebuilding the Katanga land into a bus terminal; Redevelopment of the Guest House to a three star hotel that can host big conferences and also make serious business and; Hire competent staff to man the university Printery.
To address the issues of space to address the rising students’ population, the DVC (FA) said some units had embarked on developing their own facilities using internally generated funds.
He also said, university dining halls are to be used as lecture rooms and that the Mwai Kibaki library fundraising drive had been launched and other projects in CHUSS and CoBAMS were underway to kick off with support from development partners.
Story compiled by:
Communication Officer, CAES