URN.Rev. Dr. John Kitayimbwa, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Academics at Uganda Christian University, says with the new calendar it is more plausible that the A-level examinations will be held at the end of the year.
The new academic calendar for primary and post-primary schools will affect the schedules and admission into higher institutions of learning in Uganda for the next three or more years.
According to the managers of higher education institutions and educationists, the calendar created a dead year at the lower levels by eliminating the 2021 Academic Year thus putting universities at risk of having very few or no direct entrants into the Academic year 2022/2023.
Rev. Dr. John Kitayimbwa, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Academics at Uganda Christian University, says with the new calendar it is more plausible that the A-level examinations will be held at the end of the year.
He made this observation while making a presentation on online learning organized by Makerere University. Dr. Kitayimbwa says that although institutions are ready, there will be no learners coming through the lower education system for admission in 2022.
He observed that despite the fact that universities recruit students from three previous Academic Years, the majority of students who enroll in these institutions are from the previous year. A look into Makerere’s private admission list confirms that few students from the 2018 and 2019 academic years appeared on the list.
He adds that with very little or no direct entrants, universities – more so the private ones- will be affected greatly yet they are still struggling to recover from the effects of COVID19. Dr. Kitayimbwa says that this only affects the universities as institutions, but their staff will also feel the pinch since universities might not be able to meet their salary bills.
In the end, the change might affect all people offering services to the universities and students. With COVID-19 persistently casting a shadow on the education sector, Kitayimbwa says Uganda needs to rethink its assessment mode, which is entirely based on one National assessment, saying the education system might be bogged down for years.
Gulu University Vice-Chancellor, Prof George Openjuru Ladaah, says that universities must live to the reality of the day and accept to alter higher education schedules by re-adjusting their calendars and admission processes to fit into the national school calendar to minimize the resultant effects.
“The university system will not normalize in a day. If everything remains constant, the new calendar will affect us up to around 2024,” Prof Openjuru noted. Prof Openjuru further noted that universities and other institutions of higher learning shouldn’t worry much about the August intake since some institutions have scheduled the academic year 2021/ 2022 to begin in January and February yet in a normal year semester begin four months earlier.
Dr. Mouhamad Mpezamihigo, the Vice-Chancellor of Kampala International University, equally agrees, saying that moving forward individual institutions of higher education should revise their admission process to survive the disruptions. Dr. Mpezamihigo notes that with the disruption in the system, institutions should look at means of attracting the big batch of learners from 2019 and 2020 who have not yet enrolled for higher education.
To this effect, more universities are now adverting the upcoming January intake including those which had already released admission for the academic year 2020/2021. For instance, Makerere University has re-advertised private admissions for undergraduates.
Dr. Mpezamihigo adds that after braving 2022, which has little direct admission, universities will have to adopt a new system of enrolling learners immediately after the release of their final examination around January or February. The suggestion removes the famous vacation for senior learners until when a harmonization point is met.