Students advised on making tough relationship choices

BY AGATHA MUHAISE

“Is your relationship drawing you closer to God, or drawing you away from God in pursuit for status?”

Pastor Nick Korir challenged students to reflect on the above statement, in his adress during the Advent semester Relationship Week.

Korir, the Youth Pastor at Nairobi Chapel in Kenya, asked the students to step out of fake relationships that plunge them into bottomless pits ofreplacingtruelovefor lust, infatuation and sex.

“The devil has managed to plant a seed of doubt in the youth, driving them to doubt their competence to preserve a relationship with ethics of virginity and abstinence.

This forces them to take on desperate measures, with the lie that the guidelines set in the Bible are limitations to your freedom. Do not believe such lies but commit to making tough choices for your good,”he told the students at Uganda Christian University (UCU), Mukono.

The theme of the week was ‘Tough Choices Galatians 6:7-8’. The focus was on the decisions that youth make in managing relationships in their lives. These included paying attention to one’s inner beauty, lost innocence, sexuality, balancing academics and relationships, and wise living, among others

The vice chancellor, Dr John Senyonyi and his wife Ruth tackled the session on lost innocence in relationships. “Sexuality is a gift from God for pleasure and propagation,” the VC said, explaining that it is

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The 2016 – 2017 guild polls commence in high gear

BY BRIGHT NIWAHA

Preparations for Uganda Christian University (UCU) Mukono’s 2016 – 2017 guild elections are in high gear according to the vice chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Desmond Feni.

 

The process kicked off on September 5, 2016 with a call for applications for the position of commissioners who will aid in the election season.

Feni stressed that vetting of the applicants shall be done by the electoral commission

committee and successful candidates will participate in running the electoral activities.

“The applicants are many and we take in between 40 to 50 commissioners depending on our budget. We assess every individual who hands

in the application, observe his or her personal character and screening is done, after which successful applicants are trained,” he said.

Activities include: civic education training, picking nomination forms, vetting, and

faculty vetting for presidential aspirants. Other activities are the vetting of the joint selection board, declaration of successful candidates, campaigns, and finally voting.

Elections shall be held on November 4, 2016.

Institutions should emulate UCU’s drug fight – Rugunda

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The UCU team led by the band during the Drug Awareness Walk in Kampala (Photo by Fred Hidula)

BY ELIZABETH AMONGIN

“Institutions of higher learning have been urged to emulate Uganda Christian University (UCU) in the fight against alcohol and drug abuse,” the Prime Minister of Uganda, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, has said. He was flagging off the campaign walk, organized by UCU’s counseling department, to create awareness against alcohol and drug abuse, on Saturday, September 10, in Kamwokya, Kampala. “Drug addiction is a major threat to the young people, who feel it is normal to abuse alcohol and drugs. I, therefore, thank UCU for organising the walk and I urge other institutions of higher learning to emulate them in this fight,” Rugunda said.

 

“Drug addiction is a major threat to Uganda’s population, targeting the young people. This campaign walk against drug abuse is crucial in eradicating alco-hol and drug abuse, which comes innocently and the young people fall for it,” he explained.

He called upon the addicts not to feel condemned but rather seek help.

The Vice Chancellor of UCU, Dr John Senyonyi, urged parents to avoid secrecy while dealing with the issue of drug abuse.Hesaidthatthe best way of handling addictions is through speaking about them.

“Secrecy is a major problem that hinders recovery from addiction. Some parents never tell us about the child’s situation and this adversely affects the recovery process.”

The Director of Butabika Hospital, Dr David Basangwa, who was the chief walker, encouraged people to reach out to those suffering with addictions such that they can be helped.

“It is our responsibility and we all have a role to play towards ending drug abuse in society. We have opened up rehabilitation facilities where addicts can get help,” he said.

He thanked the counseling department of UCU for passing on the message of hope towards drug addicts, emphasising that addiction can be prevented.

Tonny Nganwa, a recovering alcoholic, testified of how he recovered from al- cohol abuse, with the help of his parents.

“My family never gave up on me, they never pushed me away even when I went for rehabilitation for over four times, they kept on encouraging me. No one should fool you that you can recover from addiction without anyone’s help so ask for help,” he said.

The walk, which began at the KCCA gardens opposite Cafe Javas in Kamwokya, Kampala Capital City Authority, was also attended by Ms Beti Kamya, the Minister for Kampala; as well as

participants from the Ministry of Health, and rehabilitation centres like Recovery Uganda, East African Centre for Addiction Services, and Stop Underage Drinking (Uganda).

Lecturers’ teaching tactics reinforced

 

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The Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs, Dr Benon Musinguzi, addressing the ecturers during the workshop (Photo by Bright Niwaha)

 

BY BRIGHT NIWAHA

The Directorate Teaching and Learning, in conjunction with the Faculty of Education and Arts, conducted a pedagogy workshop to equip teaching staff with skills as the 2016 advent semester resumed.

The two-day workshop was held from September 5 – 6 in the former law library, under the theme: “Ensuring quality learning through effective instruction”.

The Vice-Chancellor, Dr John Senyonyi, in his opening remarks, urged staff to propagate UCU’s identity and be familiar with the university policies in order for them to set a good example among the students.

“We are not ashamed of the testimony of our Christian identity and we should all be conversant with the motto, vision, mission, core values and theme of the university,” he said.

He added that lecturers must address the intellectual aspect of the development of the complete person, and advised them to not just focus on academics but also cater for other needs like the emotional and health aspects.

“Remember that our main customer is the student. We are here to serve the student so go out of your way to make their experience here

memorable. Serve them with diligence, and the highest level of integrity.”

“The profits of a teacher may not be immediate but are realised over time. Every upward progress in the status of your student is your upward progress too,” Senyonyi said.

He urged the lecturers to familiarise themselves with the university policies on issues such as the dress code and ensuring a paperless work place, among others. “You are privileged to have such training and I thank the Dean, Faculty of Education for organising it. I did not get such training and I am surprised that my former students are grateful because many of them were my guinea pigs. Therefore, this is a chance for you to get the skills and enable you do a good job,” he concluded.

Dr Benon Musinguzi the Deputy Vice- Chancellor Academic Affairs, noted that most lecturers are not trained teachers and should, therefore, undertake pedagogy training as an important aspect of their university education.

“Lectures are teachers regardless of specialization. All teachers need knowledge and skills to teach and assess learners. Our students have excelled in the field because they are academically better than the rest and because of the way you model them,” Musinguzi explained.

Musinguzi advised the lecturers to read and understand the education philosophy for UCU (2008), which marked a fundamental shift from ‘teaching what we know’ to teaching towards the goal of producing the ideal graduate through holistic instruction in line with the theme,“a complete education for a complete person’.

Mr Peter Mugume, one of the organisers of the training told The Standard that the pedagogy programme is a 2011 initiative of the Vice Chancellor, aimed at training lecturers and tutors to improve the quality of teaching, learning and assessment of performance in the university.

Resolution to graduate nurses’ impasse overdue

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Uganda Christian University (UCU) and three other universities are embroiled in an im-passe over the issuance of practicing certificates to their graduate nurses, on the grounds that they do not meet the minimum qualifications.

The body responsible for issuing the practic- ing certificates, the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council (UNMC), contends that despite hold- ing degrees, the nurses either did not sit for or pass both chemistry and biology at advanced level.

UCU argues that there is no indication that the programme of study was not accredited; that the students were not taught properly, or that they did not acquire adequate nursing knowledge and skills.

On and on the arguments and counter argu- ments go; drawing in the National Council for Higher Education, courts of law, and parliament.

As these ‘elephants’ fight, the ‘grass’ (gradu- ates, parents and sponsors, and patients in health centers across the country) continue to suffer.

What is apparent is that a mistake was made, and whoever is responsible for it should own up and speedily seek an effective way forward to end the suffering. Then, all concerned parties need to en- gage in soul searching and realise that continuing the impasse is not going to take away the problem.

More importantly, those whose mistake it is not, but who are part of solution seeking, should swallow their pride. No more going around in circles and blaming so and so. Instead of finger pointing, work towards a gainful way forward. Short of that we are all losers who will end up throwing out the baby with the bath water.

How to make use of eLearning and eResources at UCU

thekla.jpgTHECLA ATUKWASE

Thanks to the advancements in information communication technology because students can now make use of electronic resources and also learn electronically. These two concepts, eResources and eLearning, are part and parcel of knowledge acquisition and sharing. Though used interchangeably, the two terms are different and below are the distinctive highlights of each, to enable use make the best of use of both.eResources refer to any information or material that can be accessed electronically.

These may take the form of electronic journals, scholarly databases, electronic books, hybrid digital collections and internet gateways.

The eResources are famous for their convenience, and having access to the latest and up–to-date information.

The inherent extra features for eResources such as links to other databases, search facilities and supplementary information all make it a plus.

eLearning on the other hand is a learning platform that utilises electronic technologies to access educational curriculum outside a traditional classroom.

eLearning includes but is not limited to completely virtual programmes, distance learning and blended programmes that are a hybrid of traditional classrooms and eLearning platforms.

The good trend of eLearning has been embraced by UCU as well.

According to the UCU strategic plan for teaching and learning, goal 3.5, there is need to maximize on creating programmes that can make education available to a wider, non-residential student population and eLearning is one way that can help us achieve this objective.

 

The eLearning platform has multiple advantages that include cost effectiveness and saving plenty of time since limitations of space and distance are overcome.

Learning takes place 24/7, anywhere, anytime. This flexibility amplifies the issue of convenience associated with eLearning.

The discreet nature of eLearning is another strong point. The platform allows individuals to tackle the subject matter at their own pace. Tracking of course progress is also possible courtesy of the Learning Management Systems (LMS).

UCU uses the Moodle learning management system where students can log in from anywhere in the world to access their class materials and interact with one another.

Each institution uses a specific system, but they are all similar in their ability to present course material including class syllabus, assignments,

quizzes, and provide video and audio plus a whiteboard screen where the lesson is presented just like it would be on a classroom’s video screen or blackboard.

You can interact with instructors, access course materials and stimulate debate among your fellow students when it fits your schedule.

All specific course information such as how to reach the instructor, what work is expected, and deadlines to turn in assignments and take tests will be found within your course site.

In conclusion, eResources and eLearning are complimentary aspects of the learning process at UCU, so lecturers and students are encouraged to make the best use of both.

Atukwase is a Librlian at Hamu Mukasa Library, Uganda Christian Unversity

The Agony of Christ

My topic today is common in churches. However, it is among the least understood messages because our knowledge of it is limited. This could be because it is impossible for us to fully comprehend the agony Jesus suffered during His Passion.

How can our human minds grasp the gruesome death of our Saviour and its compelling power? This is an attempt to unpack that mystery. Christ’s suffering is also called His Passion. The Passion of Christ has many angles, the first of which is His anticipated suffering.

As a little boy, malaria attacked me several times. Our town had a medical assistant who ran a treatment scheme out of his home. He was famous for his fearsome ‘needles’, as we called the injections that he liberally administered to young children suffering from malaria.

Our father dutifully took us to him when we were unwell. The medical assistant would promptly take out his ‘needle’, immerse it in water in a saucepan, light a paraffin stove and proceed to boil the water in full view of the intended victim! I would sit there helpless, cringing with fear, anticipating the suffering when that needle would eventually tear through my backside.

My anguish to an extent reflects the agony of Jesus that night when Judas walked out to betray him. Jesus anticipated the physical, spiritual, mental, and social pain He would endure in the coming hours of doom. His perspiration turned into buckets of sweat; which Luke calls “great drops of blood”.

But I think that Jesus’ worst nightmare was separation from the Father! On the cross He cried, “My father, my father, why have you forsaken me?” To make sense of this, consider that eternity has no beginning and no end; eternity is.

The Father and the Son had known unbroken pure, loving, fellowship with each other eternally but on that cross they were parted. As humans, our love is time-bound and it has ups and downs. Even those who pledge the deepest love on earth can never assure unbroken fellowship. They get parted, and we talk of heartaches. The Father and the Son did not know this life.

Their love was deep and knew no end. That was broken for the first and last time on the Cross. The Father and the Son were parted because Jesus was carrying the sin of the world. This is another enigma. The Bible puts it simply: “He who knew no sin took our sin.” And He carried the full consequences of sin. Separation from the Father within Himself and physical death became possible this once in eternity.

Years ago, one of my sons was very ill. His body temperature tested the maximum on the doctors’ thermometers. One night, while my wife was away, and I was in bed with this young boy, his body touched me.

It felt like red-hot charcoal! I jumped up, gripped with fear, and dressed hastily to take him to hospital. I am glad there was no traffic or traffic police on the road. Love moved me.

My eyes welled with tears at the thought of losing a son I love. In a very small way I felt his pain, and I was there for my son. So it was with Jesus. He was there for you and for me. He suffered our pain of sin. Peter says, “He bore our sins in His body on the tree.” The final perspective I want to reflect on is Judas’ betrayal. As Michael Card sang,

“Only a friend can betray a friend.” Jesus washed Judas’ feet, and shared bread with him at the Passover dinner. John reflects on Jesus’ love, saying, “… having loved His own … He loved them to the end.”

Still, Judas betrayed Him and Jesus had to bear this agony too. Jesus went through agony, rejection, separation from the father, and betrayal by His friends, for you and me. The song writer Clay Crosse put it that, “He walked a mile in my in my shoes.”