The Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara on Thursday 6th May, 2021 launched the development of an in-house Academic Records Information System (MakARIS) aimed at ensuring full control by the University of its academic processes and records. The launch follows a resolution by the University Council at its 151st meeting, and undergirds four overarching goals of the Makerere University Strategic Plan 2020-2030.
The four goals are: A research-led University responding to National, Regional and Global development challenges; Innovations in Teaching and Learning that respond to the changing environment; An engaged University with enhanced partnerships with industry, the community and international institutions; and A professionally governed, equitable, inclusive and gender mainstreamed institution.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe in his welcome remarks thanked the Chairperson and Members of Council for the resolution that paved way for the development of MakARIS. He thanked Acting (Ag.) Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration), Dr. Josephine Nabukenya for accepting to chair the Steering Committee that will spearhead the development of MakARIS.
“I believe that all processes in the University should be digitized and effected on an integrated system. I therefore thank the Acting DVCFA who since her appointment has ensured that IT-dependent systems are implemented promptly” remarked the Vice Chancellor.
Prof. Nawangwe’s appointment of Dr. Nabukenya as Chairperson MakARIS Steering Committee was based on her vast experience as Associate Professor of Information Systems, developer of IT polices and leadership of various research projects.
In her acceptance remarks, Dr. Nabukenya noted that Makerere University has the requisite capacity to develop a fully integrated Information System and introduced her committee members. These are;
- Dr. Umar Kakumba – Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs)
- Mr. Hudson Musoke – Ag. Director Legal Affairs
- Mr. Yusuf Kiranda – Ag. University Secretary
- Mr. Alfred Namoah Masikye – Academic Registrar
- Dr. Vincent Ssembatya – Director Quality Assurance Directorate (QAD)
- Mr. Samuel Mugabi – Director Directorate for ICT Support (DICTS)
- Prof. Henry Alinaitwe – Principal College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT)
- Assoc. Prof. Josephine Ahikire – Principal College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS)
- Mr. Silas Ngabirano – Assistant Commissioner ICT, Ministry of ICT and National Guidance
Also introduced were members of the technical team consisting of Software Engineers, System Integration Specialists, Systems Analysts, Enterprise Architects, Programmers and Research Assistants. The technical team made up of staff from the School of Computing and Informatics Technology (CIT) and DICTS.
The Ag. DVCFA shared that the development will be carried out within a period of 6 months and is justified by; Reduction of costs as there will no recurring license fees, Accommodation of user stakes (students, banks and other stakeholders to be consulted) and Ownership (the system will be owned by Makerere University).
Furthermore, the development is justified by; Customization (the system will be customizable to meet emerging needs), Reduced security risks on institutional data, and Improved service provision to various users. The MakARIS enterprise architecture will ensure that all process and systems that feed into the management of student records will be integrated so as to cater for both present and future requirements.
“It gives me so much pleasure to be able to participate in this launch, which is at the heart of what Council has always desired to do” remarked the Chairperson Mrs. Magara as she commended the Steering Committee for the presentation and planned activities.
She noted that once fully developed, the system will provide an enriching environment for the University to draw out and utilize the vast potential that exists within the various colleges. The Chairperson added that efficiency and effectiveness are key elements of Information Systems, short of which, they are as good as dead.
“Automation will greatly improve information flow, alleviate the frustrations that many have experienced in the past and as a result, holdups will be history” said Mrs. Magara.
She applauded the University Management and technical team for the efforts taken to develop the system so far and pledged Council’s support in the form of any policies that will need to be enacted to ensure that the system is implemented. Mrs. Magara concluded her remarks by challenging University units to look beyond solving institutional challenges to helping Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies tackle national needs.