The orientation meeting for the College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) was held on Thursday 25th February 2021 in the conference hall in JICA Building, Makerere University Campus. Speakers at the meeting included the Deputy Principal, Deans of Schools, Chairs of Departments and Student Leadership. Read on for highlights of the speeches at the meeting.
In his remarks to the students, Assoc. Prof. Fredrick Muyodi (Deputy Principal, CoNAS) welcomed the freshers. He delivered apologies of the Principal (Prof. Joseph Mugisha) who was attending another meeting and introduced heads of departments and administrative staff of the college present. Assoc. Prof. Muyodi highlighted the modalities of problem handling through the protocols of leadership from the student leaders to top management of the University. ‘As we are all aware, we are operating in the new normal following the Covid19 pandemic, therefore you will learn in a blended learning environment of ODEL’ he said. Students were encouraged to register on MUELE as the e-learning environment of Makerere University to access all the resources for their programmes. The Deputy Principal advised students to work hard from the start to ensure excellent results. Non-attendance of lectures and laziness will be reflected on the performance of students, Assoc. Prof. Muyodi further noted. He emphasised the importance of STEM i.e. Sciences, Technology and Mathematics) as drivers of innovations and development in the country and globally. He stressed the need for private students to pay their fees in time to avoid inconveniences.
Heads of department and other staff talked to the students. The issues highlighted included: hard work for excellent performance; attitude, students should desist from talk of flat courses versus professional courses; importance of self-study and research; avoidance of exam malpractices; hygiene; attitude; reference to notice boards where important information is pinned. Departmental level orientation meetings were announced to allow discussions of specific issues pertaining to programmes of study by the students.
The College Registrar, Ms. Hellen Ssali Kalema clarified on the several issues regarding registration, subject combinations and requests for change of programmes. She reiterated the importance of self-motivation and academic excellence. She highlighted the importance of discipline among students. Students were told that consistent poor performance will result into expulsion from the university. Students are given three chances to re-sit a particular course and thereafter expulsion is considered, about 20 students are expelled per year at CoNAS alone. Ms. Kalema also advised students to avoid forgeries on documents and exam malpractice.
The College IT Officer, Mr. Kasaga Moses explained to students on the various IT services available for their use for better learning experience. He advised that owing to the Covid19 pandemic and the necessity of the Online and Distance Education Learning (ODEL) more university services have been transferred online as opposed to frequent interaction with staff; students can always seek for help whenever they encounter challenges.
All the speakers wished the students a good stay at Makerere but to remain aware of the AIDS scourge, abuse of drugs, peer pressure, prostitution and unwanted pregnancies which affect performance. All the aforementioned can affect academic performance and lead to death. Staff from the University Counselling and Guidance Centre encouraged students to seek help at all times before it is too late. The student leaders led also talked to the students. Students were encouraged to make use of the College and University websites for updated information. A team from the College of Education and External Studies (CEES) also oriented the freshers to the ODEL and use of the MUELE platform.
As We Build for the Future.