Makerere University Business School in partnership with the European Union have awarded students four million shillings for winning the competition of developing a Mobile Application Hackathon aimed at strengthening Uganda’s Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) capacity to use ICT in Masters’ research journey, quality management processes and devise Policy reforms for relevant high-quality research outputs (ICT-4 MRPQ).
The competition involved five teams of students from Makerere University, Makerere University Business School, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) and Makerere University Business School- Mbarara.
The project ran under the theme “To strengthen higher education institutions capacity to use ICT in Master’s research journey management process and devise policy reforms for relevant high- quality research outputs at HEIs in Uganda.”
The ICT-4MRPQ project focused on project interception and management, stakeholder mapping, profiling and engagement, national research and university policy reviews, developing research methods manuals for staff and students, developing E- supervision platform and staff mobility and capacity building.
The winners were students from Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) under their team name ‘The Scholar Track’ and later signed an agreement with the University.
The Scholar Track team won Shs4 million, Ubuntu Kwanza grabbed Shs2 million, Team Tucodinge Shs1 million, and Team Hackers were awarded Shs500,000.
Speaking at the event, Prof. David Katamba applauded the winners for the wonderful innovation and urged the other participants to keep their hopes high since the country is advancing to technology in the fields of social and economic transformation.
Prof Katamba said, “The project is student centered and will cater for the current and future references in research for Masters Students.”
He added that the App is aimed at improving the masters research projects and will be to track the students’ progress in their course of study.
Speaking about their victory, The Scholar Track group leader, Augustine Beilel revealed that the team realized that 86.2% of the students do not complete their programs because of adhered methods.
Augustine Beilel added that the team will require strictly three months for full upgrading the Application. He further revealed that they will need 12 million Uganda Shillings to implement it.
The University Principal, Prof Moses Muhwezi appreciated the students and asserted that the main problem with the entire University was completion of programs in time but the Hackathon project will deal with this challenge.
“It’s a nightmare that many students don’t complete their studies. We have been in the Senate struggling with those who completed 2014 backwards whether to allow them continue or deregister them until we have final upgrade, they must be deregistered and they are very so completion time is very important,” Prof Muhwezi said.
He added, “If this app is meant for that problem you have met what is required. The other challenge is dropout. When students gain 30% dropout by the time they graduate, that cohort which gives the right time for them to perhaps call the lose touches provider. They actually lose touch with institutions and for some obvious reasons, others are right, others are good reasons. Some people go to Africa, others go to Europe, and others can’t do that. Once you are able to link up with it, I imagine improving the completion time; I imagine that the Tamayinda macaroni going into research PhD and master graduate students will not be macari. They are progressively increasing the intake of graduate students.”
He further urged the mentors and the winners to make sure that the processes and skills are correct and all combine ideas of the other competitors so as to achieve the quality App to use.
The Ubuntu Kwanzaa leader, Bob Wesonge revealed that lack of quality communication has been hindering many students in Masters Classes and by graduation the rate of 14% in these classes is missing at Makerere University Business School.