Makerere University started in 1922 as a humble technical school enrolling 14 day students of Carpentry, Building and Mechanics. Nine decades later, the University has made giant strides–enrolling over 35,000 students in over 145 study programmes hosted by nine colleges spread across various campuses. As one of the first higher education institutions in East and Central Africa, the university has had to contend with a multiplicity of issues, including relevance, curricula reform, community engagement and graduate employability; access, equity, massification and quality assurance; national politics, regulation, institutional autonomy and academic freedom; funding and financial management; student politics and activism; staff unionisation, management and brain drain; physical resources expansion, utilisation and maintenance; liberalisation, privatisation, commercialisation and internationalisation; Information and Communication Technology (ICT); and institutional leadership and integrity. Today, the University stands out proudly as a hallmark of innovation and excellence in teaching, research and community engagement, notwithstanding the challenges it has experienced over the years.
As it celebrates 90 years, the higher education scholarly and policy fraternity take the opportunity to honour and continue the University’s tradition of scholarship and innovation — through contributing ideas for dealing with some of the challenges that the University and similar institutions are contending with. Although studies of Makerere University have been included, it must be understood that this book is not necessarily about the University. Additional studies have been drawn from Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and other institutions in Uganda.