On a cloudy October Friday at Gulu University, a few dozens of Masters students from the Faculty of Business and Development Studies fill up a little shelter set up by the Building Stronger Universities (BSU) project for workshops and conferences. One group after another, from within themselves, they step forward to present their research works to a makeshift team of internal and external examiners. The audience includes their peers, their supervisors, and professors Inger Lassen and Iben Jensen from Aalborg University in Denmark.
In September 2018, Mostafa Shehata defended his PhD Dissertation: “Newspaper and Social Network Sites in Egypt After the 2011 Revolution: Connective Action, Communication Power and Mediatization of Politics”, at Roskilde University (RUC) in Denmark. He concluded that “media can provide a good space for mobilisation for a specific amount of time. But in the long run, you will need strong presence ‘on the ground’, and organisations to support your mobility and your movement”.
When Dr. Norazana Ibrahim did her Ph.D. project at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), she could confirm that agricultural waste should be an important energy resource in Malaysia. Now comes the difficult part of commercializing the technology in the Malaysian waste management industries.
Graduate students of the London School of Economics and Political Science gathered at Kenya’s coast in September 2018, where the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Dr Mukhisa Kituyi told them: “With your international credibility, it is easier and tempting to leave and take out of the continent the little intellectual resource that could solve problems their countries face.”
A dusty road leads me to Pece Primary School on the outskirts of Gulu town, a city in the northern Uganda. Just opposite the school, is a signpost that reads: “Gulu University Institute of Peace and Strategic Studies [IPSS].” It points towards a sizeable block sitting on an enclosed acre of land. The building’s cream walls and green roof have greyed due to age, Dr. Stephen Langole is a social scientist, who has studied different aspects of post war life in northern Uganda. This time we are going to talk about his PhD thesis, UrbanYouth in Post-conflict Northern Uganda: Networking Livelihood Resources.
One of Uganda’s key concerns in education over the years has been the growing rift in performance between urban and rural schools. Primary and Secondary school grades in the national examinations largely tend to decline with distance moved from the country’s capital, Kampala. Solutions to bridge this gap and restore parity, however, could be in a book gathering dust in Gulu University’s library. Dr. Stephen Odama is fully aware that the knowledge in his PhD thesis could go unutilised, the way of most academic research in Uganda, unless there is publicity and awareness about his findings and recommendations.