The study time for a semester at Makerere University has gradually reduced to 14 weeks up from 17, and any form of delays regarding graduation can clog up the system, affecting service delivery for the growing student population amidst limited resources.
In a bid to graduate at the stipulated time, as per the academic calendar, the Makerere University School of Public Health organized a two days’ work shop in Kololo Annex for Master’s student purposed to empower and support them to work on their dissertations succinctly
The work shop involved an intense one on one interaction among the students, their respective supervisors and colleagues and among the key elements stressed involved the use and adoption of technology and software like Atlas for proper data management and analysis, the need for students to be in touch with supervisors, having sound research questions and themes, qualitative and quantitative data management skills and familiarity with one’s data.
The Dean, Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze in her opening remarks expressed the urgent need for students to complete their dissertations and graduate in time, regardless of other conflicting loyalties and demands in the outside word. She cautioned them against hiring people to help them in doing the dissertation, as that would deem a student corrupt, incapable, and un able to practice the skill.
“Equip yourself with confidence to do stuff, the world is bigger than this country and therefore focus on the skills more than the paper,’’ said Professor Wanyenze.
Dr. Barbra Kirunda, (MPHDE coordinator and mentor) re-echoed the urgency in making sure that the students graduate in time. At the MakSPH, she observed that there has been a gradual increase in student admission, hence the need to match the numbers to the graduation rates.
Dr. Kirunda also tipped the graduate students on adjusting to changes in time by being proactive and maintaining an open and consistent communication with their supervisors.
The students on their part applauded the School administration for the initiative, and promised better output regarding their dissertation and time of graduation.
“I have been able to meet and interact with my supervisors and colleagues. This has helped me to address my comments in line to my supervisors’ expectations, and my colleagues have helped me in stream lining my data and correcting various mistakes. I hope to finish up and graduate in time, with a better dissertation,” said Patrick Patrick, a student on MPH Distance Education intimated.
Joy Banonya, an MPH1 student disclosed that despite the demands and responsibilities in the outside world, the workshop helped her to realize the need of working on her dissertation as priority, catch up with her super visor and learn new data handling techniques and soft ware like atlas. ‘’ I look forward to catching up and graduate in time,’’ she said.
However, the students expressed various challenges and proposed to the faculty to adopt changes like increasing the work shop days from 2 to 3 so that ample time is provided for students to catch up and learn better, the work shop to be divided in to two sessions namely, one at the proposals and the other addressing comments and actual data, the need for the school to empower and connect with class presidents to be at the fore front of mobilizing their fellow student for such activities ,and the need to shift the work shop days from week days to weekend to cater for working class and up country students.
On the way forward, faculty promised to priotise and create more awareness to the work shop by including it on to the university calendar, every academic year.
Written by Bonefance Tumusiime, Student Intern, MakSPH Communications Office