Quality. That’s the word. Makerere University College of Health Sciences (MakCHS) knows it’s hard if not impossible to influence anyone with lasting impact without quality. That’s why the College’s Quality Assurance team led by Irene Rebecca Namatende recently organized and held a Quality Assurance Induction Workshop that brought together key people from the different departments to develop a roadmap for quality improvement at the College.
Opened by Prof. Moses Joloba who represented the College of Health Sciences Principle Prof. Charles Ibingira, the half-day workshop was organized in alignment with National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) that requires every university to establish an independent Quality Assurance Unit (QAU) at the department, college, faculty and the central institutional level to address quality issues.
At Makerere University, the Quality Assurance Directorate is headed by Dr. Vincent A. Ssembatya who delivered a keynote presentation at the workshop. He said the QAD sets quality assurance control guidelines and continuously reviews all programs; teaching and assessment in the university. He said quality must be a culture; it must be in our minds, in our psyche so that we may feel it and see it. But for quality to be embedded in us as a culture, we must consistently plan, act, improve and evaluate our performances. Evaluation is essential in helping us to find out the defects that impede the realization of quality, and tossing them out.
Dr. Ssembatya simplified the definition of quality as “adding value”, and that to do so we must orient ourselves with a niche of excellence; fulfilling expectations up to threshold minimum requirements. We must start interrogating the purpose of doing what we are doing, and direct all policies and processes at ensuring enhancement of quality and standards of educational provision. The right things must be done right, for this is the thriving approach through which quality of higher education will be achieved and maintained.
At MakCHS, and the university overall, a students’ satisfaction survey will guide the Quality Assurance team on the gaps to be filled while evaluation of teaching will be done independently from administration. Individual appraisals of staff will be encouraged and better incentives provided to motivate academic staff to do better.
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