This issue of Makerere Journal of Higher Education (MAJOHE) presents five papers touching on four themes: university-community partnerships (UCPs), research in higher education, open and distance learning (ODL), and technical vocational education and training (TVET).
Under UCP, Edopu et al. report the findings of a study that delved into the implementation and impact of the UCP approach to the delivery of the Bachelor of Industrial and Fine Arts program at Makerere University’s Margaret Trowel School of Industrial and Fine Arts. They report that delivering the BIFA program following the UCP approach has helped the school to close critical gaps in studio support for its students, thereby enhancing the quality and relevance of teaching and learning. However, it has not resulted into service learning, contrary to the widely held view that UCPs result into symbiotic gains for higher education institutions and their communities. Therefore, the authors endorse—as part of the panacea to the resource constraints inherent to the massification of higher education in Africa—the UCP approach albeit with recommendations for more attention to service learning.
Under research, Adeosun reports the findings of a study that investigated efforts to expand teacher-trainees’ capacity to identify educational issues and generate research ideas from them using participatory research approaches. The study demonstrates that close links with schools spurred teacher trainees’ ability to construct research ideas, changed their perception of research, and improved their research skills.
Under ODL, Mutambo et al. report on the effectiveness of satellite study centres in supporting the ODL program at Makerere University. Starting with review of related literature, these authors probe the extent to which the centres’ service delivery is satisfactory. Their findings show that although the centres have an important role to play in supporting the ODL programme, they are constrained by an indistinct status and mandate; gaps in the University’s policies and understanding of ODL; inadequate funding; communication gaps between the centres and their coordinating unit at the University’s main campus; inadequacy of study, ICT and human resources; and unconducive location and opening hours of the centres.
The last two papers draw on the findings of two primary studies to discuss innovative ways of promoting the development of TVET. In the first of the two papers, Ayonmike argues that industries and governments have important contributions to make towards the development of TVET while, in the second, Oviawe demonstrates a case for public-private partnerships in the development of this field of higher education. It is noted that these are in concurrence with Edopu et al., notably in their recommendation that higher education institutions and systems increase their amenability to the input of their external stakeholders.
It is noted too that, carefully considered, each of the five papers addresses aspects of innovations that are being implemented to address challenges in higher education today. We are glad that MAJOHE, now in its tenth volume, continues to give such papers expression. It is our hope that readers will find the papers relevant to the refinement of the innovations for the improved efficiency and effectiveness of higher education institutions and systems—the very goal of MAJOHE and indeed the East African School of Higher Education Studies and Development.
As usual, publication of this issue of the journal benefited from the input of our anonymous reviewers and advisors and we thank them for their selfless contribution.