Higher Education in Uganda: The Role of Community Colleges in Educational Delivery and Reform
Uganda is a landlocked country in Eastern Africa with a total population in 2006 of 29.9 million and one of the highest annual population growth rates in the world at 3.2% (World Bank, 2008). Over 80% of Ugandans derive their livelihood from the agricultural sector. Uganda has obtained recent milestones in its national education development, including universal primary education, and in 2007, universal secondary education. Expansion is beginning to trickle into the higher education sub-sector and the future expansion of higher education institutions (HEIs) at all levels will be required to meet the growing demands. Many factors have made higher education expansion in Uganda possible, including improved security, especially in the Northern Region, restoration of macroeconomic stability, removal of economic distortions, and an improvement in terms of trade (MOFPED, 2006). There are hundreds of colleges in Uganda that make up a major part of the human resource development in all regions of the country. Community colleges range in size from private colleges with nothing more than one or two rented classrooms in an office building to HEIs that comprise large campuses with thousands of enrolled students. In this chapter, we will discuss the historical development of higher education with a specific focus on community colleges. Sections include an in-depth analysis of the types of Ugandan HEIs, unique features of Ugandan community colleges, case studies of example community colleges, and current and future trends in Ugandan higher education and community colleges.
Musisi (2003) identifies four phases in the historical development of Ugandan higher education. Prior to the first phase, which began in the 1920s, schools were predominantly owned and operated by Christian missionaries. During the 1920s, the British government assumed direct responsibility and Makerere University was founded in 1922 as a technical college to serve students from the British East African territories of Kenya, Tanganyika, and Uganda. Following the Asquith Report in 1949, the college obtained a semiautonomous status and was affiliated to London University. Human resource development entitled the “Africanization of the Civil Service Structure” was the primary focus of the second phase in which significant higher education developments occurred, including granting of London degrees to students of Makerere College (1953) and later the establishment of the Royal Technical College in Nairobi (1956). In 1961, the establishment of the University College of Dar es Salaam ended Makerere's predominance as the soul higher education provider in this region.
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