The former Vice Chancellor of Makerere university says that for social transformation to be realized, University education must prioritise research and innovation if technology, economy, politics and cultural restructuring are to take place.
Baryamureeba was speaking at at Uganda Martyr’s University Nkozi during a National Annual Research Conference held under the theme: University Education & Research for Social Transformation.
He deduced that University Education & Research for Social Transformation is neither a myth nor a reality in Uganda.
He cited a poorly planned education system that is not integrated, Universities faced with poor inputs including students, poor quality graduates in most disciplines, low research quality and output, low investment and interest in research and development as reasons for his deduction.
“There is need for changes in the curriculum, quality and standards. There should be diversification of higher education, access to policies and all students should have profiles and share their experiences,” he enlightened participants.
He explained that such an overhaul would enable higher institutions of learning meet external standards, Quality assessments and accreditation as well as response to local drivers among others.
Citing John Brennan, Roger King and Yann Lebeau, in their study dubbed The Role of Universities in the Transformation of Societies; An International Research Project Synthesis Report, Baryamureeba highlighted the role of Universities in transforming society as producing highly skilled labour and research output to meet perceived economic needs, building new institutions of civil society, encouraging and facilitating new cultural values, training and socialising members of new social elites
He also emphasized the need for universities to engage in Strategic Partnerships, adhere to crosscutting ethical principles and the significance of research and development particularly in business as well as ensuring quality assurance.
Explaining Social transformation, Baryamureeba said that in the face of globalization, regional integration and emerging forms of global governance, social transformation affects all types of societies in both developed and under-developed regions.
Baryamureeba said any analysis of social transformation requires analysis of both of macro-social forces and of local traditions, experiences and identities.
He added that, “Globalisation is leading to new forms of social differentiation at the international and national levels, polarisation between rich and poor which are affecting most countries and the relations between them. This issue can no longer be defined in terms of development, it is no longer possible to draw clear lines between developed and underdeveloped areas, or to put forward a universally-acceptable goal for processes of change.”
To impact society through research, Baryamureeba emphasized the importance of Universities to adhere to ethical principles if they are to come up with useful innovations. He enumerated ethical principles as honesty, objectivity, integrity carefulness, openness, and respect for intellectual property, confidentiality, responsible publication and mentoring, respect for colleagues, social responsibility, non-discrimination, competence and legality.
He added that ethical norms create a foundation for accountability to the public, build public support for research, and promote moral and social values in society and the institutions themselves.
On research and development(R&D), he said it is only through innovations that effective work processes, products and ideas are birthed creating a possibility of businesses succeeding, increased productivity and performance which is why Government must set research and innovation priorities where public funds are involved.
He outlined Pitfalls in University Education in Uganda as: Focus on short courses, certificates and diplomas, their academic nature, Less focus on research- Low research output, Poor teaching and research infrastructure, few PhD holders,Low tuition fees that are less than the unit cost and a General curricula which falls short of producing graduates with specific set of skills