President Yoweri Museveni has asked Universities to design education programs that aim at solving society’s problems.
Museveni said if Africa is to develop, there is a need to establish a direct community-linked education system instead of just teaching students to pass exams.
“In my opinion, the new education system should have 6 elements including; understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the pre-colonial African societies so as to understand why they were conquered by the rapacious foreigners; understanding the colonial intrusion, after the mutation of the slave trade into colonialism, the creation of the enclave economies that confined themselves into the production of raw materials; and understand the need for change, which includes manufacturing, expanding of the money economy and expanding of the services sectors,” he said
The system he added should also be; dealing with the neo-colonial social sciences; sing the education system to instill confidence in the African peoples, and study the history of the World, including Europe, to understand how social-economic metamorphosis took place.
Museveni made these remarks in his speech which were read by Vice President Rt. Maj. Jessica Alupo during a Symposium on the Role of Universities in Shaping National Development at Makerere University.
Museveni, for example, pointed out that the majority of Ugandans in the colonial era were placed far away from the money economy which made their lives difficult.
“Much of the pre-colonial economy of Africa, even when we were being attacked, being taken as slaves, was mainly a non-money economy. Money was not so much developed. There were some attempts; the use of cowrie shells and so on, but it was not a fully functioning money economy like the European one had become. It was a system based on mainly primitive homestead social self-sufficiency where you would find the home would grow its own food, build their own house,” he said
“I challenge our professors here to talk about the uneven distribution of coffee cash to countries. The global value of coffee is now four hundred sixty billion dollars but all the coffee-producing countries are getting US$ 25 billion out of the US$ 460 billion and Africa is only getting US$ 2.5 billion; out of that, Uganda takes US$ 800 million and it is one of the biggest producers of coffee in Africa,” he said
The Symposium was organized under the theme: Discussing the role of Universities in Responding to Africa’s problems and development needs.
Speaking at the function, Prof Lorna Magara, the Chairperson of the University Council said that Makerere University has taken an approach of being a research and innovative University which is now offering student-centered education as opposed to teacher-centered.
“This enables students to determine what they need to learn and innovate ideas that are centered on solving society’s problems.
In his keynote address, Prof. Vincent Ekbob from Nigeria stressed the need for Universities to move away from primitive teaching approaches.