SIMAD University Seeks to Collaborate with Makerere University



Date:

14th July 2022

Engineer Mohamed Mohamud, the Deputy Rector for Academics of SIMAD University, Somalia together with Mr Abukar Nuktar Omar, the Dean Faculty of Education visited Makerere University last week. The visiting team interacted with Principals and Deputy Principals of Six (6) Colleges to learn more about Makerere University and explore possibilities of collaboration in specific areas.

SIMAD University was established in 1999 and started with a Department for Accounting and Information Technology. Currently, there are nine (9) faculties with a student population 3,700. The University has a good working relationship with the government, private sector and their former Rector is the President of the Somalia Government.

Somalia is a post-conflict country with SIMAD University having Nine (9) faculties and running 45 programmes offering bachelors and masters programmes. They have 450 staff, 300 of which are permanent. SIMAD University was founded by Direct Aid Organization and started as a Technology Institute. Direct Aid is a voluntary non-governmental organization assisting with development programmes in Africa. The Technology Institute transformed into SIMAD University and seeks to provide ample opportunities for high quality, advanced education in science, technology and arts for Somali students and adult learners in the greater Horn of Africa.

At Makerere University College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT), the visitors were received by Dr Anthony Gidudu who represented the Principal and Deputy Principal. In a presentation, Dr Gidudu highlighted the three Schools namely; School of Engineering; School of the Built Environment and the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts. He mentioned the Departments under each of the Schools. He pointed out the new Institute of Innovation for business incubation aimed at producing entrepreneurs and a Centre for Research in Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation.

Dr Gidudu is the Dean, School of the Built Environment. He suggested to the visitors that since Somalia was facing a number of land issues/challenges between different tribes, the best way to cooperate with Makerere University would be capacity building. He implored SIMAD University to encourage its students to apply for the Masters programme in Land Management and Administration which was recently approved by Makerere University Council and yet to be advertised by the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training. The programme is interdisciplinary bringing on board lawyers, planners, historians, economists as well as sociologists to learn how to handle land rights and ownership. There would be opportunities for staff and student exchanges. He advised SIMAD University to keep in touch for information about semester dates and give the information to their students.

Dr Amin Tamale, the Head, Department of Physical Planning and Architecture at CEDAT informed the visitors that they had come up with a programme of skilling masons in the country and pointed out a possibility of extending an invitation to SIMAD University to participate in the training next year in March. The College was in the process of establishing a Centre of Urban and Regional Planning that would attract urban planners and managers within the region for specialized training.

Responding to the presentation from CEDAT, the Deputy Rector Eng Mohamed Mohamud informed the Staff of CEDAT that the Rector was not able to come as earlier communicated due to an emergency call from the President of their country. He thanked the CEDAT team for the cordial reception and the informative presentation.

The Dean Faculty of Education at SIMAD University, Mr. Abukhar Omar informed the CEDAT team that the Architecture programme at the University commenced two years ago, and as such, the partnership with Makerere University would build more capacity in that area. He also suggested faculty exchanges to their university.

At the College of Education and External Studies (CEES), the visitors met with the Deputy Principal Associate Professor Ronald Bisaso, Dr Rosemary Nabiryo representing the Humanities and Language Education Department; Dr Sanya Rahman representing the Dean, School of Distance and Lifelong Learning and Professor Fred Bakkabulindi from the East African School of Higher Education Studies and Development (EASHESD). Dr Bisaso welcomed the visitors and informed them that College has a rich history with buildings constructed in 1923. The College has been grounded extensively in teacher education and conducts a wide range of research. There are 100 members of staff with PhDs and others are yet to complete.

In his speech, Eng Muhamed Muhamud, the Deputy Rector of SIMAD University appreciated the warm welcome. He highlighted that the University has nine faculties with most employees being graduates of the University. It is these members of staff who are sent to other universities for further studies and return to head Departments and Schools. The University has greatly contributed to the community transformation by training and producing social workers, medical doctors and other health workers, as well as graduate teachers in schools. All first year students at SIMAD University are required to take the English Skills Programme to be able to study in English at higher levels. The Rector expressed interest in cooperation in teaching and learning by way of sending experts to teach the English language; joint research in writing and publishing.

Responding to the request from SIMAD University, Dr Rosemary Nabiryo said the Department of Humanities and Language Education could assist in teaching pedagogical skills. Dr Rahman Sanya from the Distance and Lifelong Learning Department informed the visitors that a big component of distance learning deals with e-learning which cushioned the university during the Covid-19 pandemic. The School used distance learning mode both offline and online for lectures and examinations.


Meeting wih the Deputy Director of DRGT Prof Robert Wamala(2nd Left) in his Office

At the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training, the visitors were received by the Deputy Director, Associate Professor Robert Wamala who reiterated that Makerere University was focused on increasing the number of graduate students. He explained that the Grants Management and Support Unit (GAMSU) coordinates external research done by staff with other universities while the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training (DRGT) coordinates research done by students. Commending the move towards collaboration with Makerere University, Dr. Wamala said:

“What you are doing is what every university that seeks to grow does. Somali students can apply for masters programmes here and will be admitted if they qualify. It is better to partner with the institution rather than particular units. Going forward, draft proposal of the partnership envisaged should be sent to us so that we start the dialogue.”

At the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), the Deputy Principal Dr Awich Ochen informed the visitors about the four major areas of the University’s Strategic Plan (2020-20230) namely; being a Research-led University responding to national, regional and global development challenges; Internationalization; innovation in teaching and learning; engaging the community. Makerere University cannot work alone but as a Consortium for research collaboration as well as student and staff exchanges. Makerere Staff can be invited as key-note speakers at their conferences. He added that the School of Linguistics and Languages would be ready to cooperate with SIMAD University once a general agreement is signed signed by the institution.

At the College of Health Sciences (CHS), the visitors interacted with the Deputy Principal Prof Isaac Kajja; the Dean of Health Sciences Prof Kamba Pakoyo; Dean School of Medicine Prof Annette Nakimuli; the Deputy Dean Public Health Associate Professor Elizeus Rutebemberwa and the Assistant Manager International Programmes Ms Norah Namirembe. The Deputy Principal welcomed the visitors to the College of Health Sciences-the oldest and a descendant of a long history. The highlighted that the College has four schools namely: Medicine, Biomedical Sciences, Health Sciences and Public Health with a total of 27 departments. The College has the largest number of research outputs and it is highly ranked internationally. The major areas of collaboration are teaching; external examining, joint supervision, research, community service in the area of medicine and public health. The College is very selective and keen on the ranking of the collaborating partner internationally.

Responding to the highlights from the CHS team, the Deputy Rector informed the hosts that SIMAD University became fully fledged in 2011 with the Faculty of Medicine starting in 2014. They were visiting Makerere University College of Health Sciences to explore possibilities of collaboration in order to benefit from their vast and rich experience.

During the interaction, they noted that collaborations are demand driven. The partners would therefore generate the needs and the College of Health Sciences would find a way of assisting them. “It is important to know what the partners are bringing to the partnership and the benefits to each other. Since SIMAD Faculty of Medicine was still young, SIMAD needs to build capacity first by bringing their faculty for training and staff exchanges.”

Both parties (CHS and SIMAD) reached consensus that SIMAD develops a curricula involving specialists within Makerere University. They also noted the need for a clear roadmap of the collaboration to guide the flow of activities.

At College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS), the visiting team held a meeting with the Principal, Associate Professor Eria Hisali who briefed them on the College and Governance structure. “CoBAMs has three schools namely: Business, Economics and Statistics. We have 120 full time academic staff. 51 administrative and support staff. The College runs 25 undergraduate programmes in Economics, Statistics, Actuarial Sciences and Population Studies,” said Associate Professor Hisali.

In the meeting, Associate Professor Hisali highlighted that the strategic focus of the College is to be the best on the continent. The College has an elaborate Quality assurance system with indicators to check performance and an automatic process flow of activities for staff and students. The students are in position to follow the system from first year up to completion time. The College is student centered with incubation centres for students to develop business ideas. This is blended with infrastructure development and expansion of creating policy laboratories to produce policy indicators by researchers and policy makers who will engage government, manufacturers and decision makers. The College also embarked on monthly seminars at lunch time to present research findings and share experiences.

Writer: Martha Muwanguzi, Head-Mak International Office


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