BY AGATHA MUHAISE
“There has been this school of thought in the country that arts do not matter. I want to say today that I do not agree! This being a middle-income country, we should emphasize the importance of arts. I think we need to have a holistic approach to development, like the countries we tend to admire like Malaysia have done.”
These were words of Dr Livingstone Sewanyana, the Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI), during the launch of two new courses by the Department of Development Studies under the Faculty of Social Sciences of Uganda Christian University (UCU), Mukono, on May 5, at Principal’s Hall.
The two new academic programmes launched are Bachelor of Human Rights, Peace and Humanitarian Interventions (BOHPHI), and Bachelor of Organization and Development Management (BODM).
During his address, Rev Canon Dr Uzziah Kiriaghe Matte, the head of the Department of Development Studies, said this is part of the refurbishment the department has been undergoing. These courses, Dr Matte said, have already been approved and accredited by the National Council of Higher Education (NCHE), ready to roll out.
“The department has been undergoing a revamp process to strengthen our curriculum since 2014. The aim is to tailor our training programmes more closely to the needs of society and offer more appreciable and useable skills to our graduates. We believe that the new courses will add to the range of options for our applicants,” Dr Matte said.
BOHPHI is meant to help the learners appreciate the challenges of human rights’ violation, introduce them to the issues of promotion and protection of human rights, peaceful co-existence, and the aftermath of war and instability. BODM is to introduce the learners to how organizations are initiated, built, function, and equipped with skills in designing, implementing, and managing development initiatives.
Dr Sewanyana congratulated UCU on the launch of the two new programmes and commended them for having thought of the need to start such programmes at a very demanding time.
“I applaud UCU for producing the best employees in the country. I employ over 200 people but I want to tell you that your products are among the finest, and I want to commend you for that,” Sewanyana said.
Dr Matte also announced that the department was set to include more elements of entrepreneurship in the existing Bachelor of Development Studies course. It is now to be renamed: Bachelor of Development and Social Entrepreneurship.
Together with the Master’s in Development, Monitoring and Evaluation, these two programmes are awaiting the approval of the NCHE before being rolled out.
Other guests at the event at which staff were awarded certificates in recognition of their contribution to the curriculum development process were, Dr Benon Musinguzi, the deputy vice chancellor Academics, who represented the Vice Chancellor; and Prof. Mary Sonko Nabacwa, dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences.