KAMPALA —The Second Professor William Senteza Kajubi Memorial Lecture was yet another opportunity for the family, friends and educationists from all over Uganda and beyond to celebrate the life of this gallant alumnus and career teacher.
Held in the Central Teaching Facility 2 (CTF 2) Auditorim, Makerere University on Thursday 14th November 2019, the Lecture was organised by the College of Education and External Studies (CEES) with support from friends and the family of the late Professor William Senteza Kajubi.
Delivering the keynote address on the theme, “Fostering the Quality of Education in Uganda” the Vice Chancellor, Uganda Christian University (UCU) Rev. Canon Dr. John Senyonyi expressed his joy at being chosen to deliver the Second Memorial Lecture in honour of a man he first met as an S.5 student at King’s College Budo in 1973.
“Prof. Senteza Kajubi later on become my Vice Chancellor at Makerere University, where I returned in 1978 to teach in the Department of Mathematics” he added.
Rev. Canon Senyonyi’s lecture was insightful and holistic as it tackled the subject of quality right from pre-primary level to higher tertiary education institutions. It regularly posed questions that provoked members of the audience to ponder, and was full of quotes from fellow educationists, philosophers and world leaders.
One of these was from the President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address of 1961, “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”
His resounding call at the end of each discourse on a level of education was the need for Government to step in and regulate the seemingly ‘runaway’ establishment of institutions. In particular, he noted that “Government should take a keen interest in Pre-Primary education… setting up an independent institution to handle the regulation of Pre-Primary Education will ensure quality right from the start.”
Dr. Senyonyi explained that learners at this stage are very susceptible to bias and any bad experience that causes them to detest going to school could stay with them the rest of their academic life. This, he noted, is much harder to undo as the student advances, hence the need to ensure quality right from the foundational stages.
The discourse on Higher Tertiary Education is where the need for better quality came to roost. Here, Dr. Senyonyi started on a poignant note saying “Higher Education might not be for all and yet the development of our country cannot do without it…”
He discussed the mismatch between the increasing numbers of graduates who cannot find jobs and the job market that cannot absorb qualified ones owing to their lack of practical skills. The Keynote speaker in this case proposed the need to establish a network of incubation centres, where learners ought to spend considerable time honing their ability to translate the theory learnt in class into practical skills.
The keynote lecture discussant Dr. David Onen, Senior Lecturer, CEES, was equally up to the task as he gave an emotional but rousing response to the keynote address. He thanked his college of recognizing Prof. William Senteza Kajubi, noting that his contribution to Uganda’s education sector cannot be ignored. The discussant therefore gave his response in the context of Prof. Senteza Kajubi’s exemplary life versus the current situation.
Dr. Onen cautioned the audience to think about the inequality that has cropped up in our schools in terms of different amounts of fees paid by schools in Kampala and those in the rural areas. He noted that this inevitably leads to a difference in the quality of education delivered in rural and urban settings, which wasn’t the case when Prof. Senteza Kajubi went to school.
“Professor Senteza Kajubi loved teaching, he loved his colleagues and his students unlike today’s teachers who are no longer dedicated” said Dr. Onen as he addressed another topic, before adding “Most teachers in Uganda today are angry people; they come to class annoyed and leave even more annoyed.”
The discussant also shared that whereas Prof. Kajubi did not attain a PhD, his writings and manuscripts portray him as a man of quality and a distinguished scholar. He added that as an Educational Administrator, Prof. Senteza Kajubi was a jolly man who knew how to cooperate with colleagues.
Delivering his remarks at the lecture, the Acting Vice Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs), Dr. Umar Kakumba, quoting a poem paying tribute to Professor William Senteza Kajubi following his demise, noted that “he was a candle that lit other candles”. He therefore thanked CEES, friends and Prof. Senteza Kajubi’s family for ensuring that his legacy still lives on today through events such as the Memorial lecture.
Dr. Kakumba shared that Makerere has made great strides in training quality human resource for Uganda and the region as was shown by the diversity of alumni; some well over 60 years of age, who graced the Memorial Lecture. “Our very own Chairperson of Council is an alumna of the School of Education” he added, followed by thunderous applause and cheers from the audience.
The Acting Vice Chancellor nevertheless challenged CEES to organize more debates discussing the quality of education and topics of similar importance, especially as Makerere University prepares to celebrate 100 years of existence in 2022.
The Chief Guest at the Memorial Lecture and Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara in her address to the gathering thanked the University Management and CEES for organizing the Memorial Lecture and encouraged them to continue providing many similar forums where in-depth discussions that are of generational impact on society can be shared.
“I am honoured to be at this very distinguished session and discussion celebrating the life of Professor William Senteza Kajubi who was a door opener; he opened doors of opportunity for many” she said.
Mrs. Magara added that quality education is a multi-dimensional aspect that goes beyond the transference of information from teacher to student to the impartation of life. She therefore decried the current trend that celebrates the academic prowess of a few prolific candidates and not quality education.
“It saddens my heart when for weeks after the release of PLE results by UNEB, our newspapers are awash with candidates who have got 4 aggregates… what we applaud becomes the standard… can we kindly move away from the 4 aggregates to what the value of quality education is?” pondered Mrs. Magara.