In my two years I have spent at university trying to piece together the meaning generated out of the bits that make up the word ENGINEERING, I have only met more absurd situations – some expected, others not. I have seen the noblest of professors chew money like cud and dare not place a foot in the laboratories. My heart continues to burn with anger and my head drops in shame whenever I hear the least innovative of ideas being hoisted higher than the country’s flag.
The Wasted Laboratories and Brains of Africa
I do not attend a great deal of lectures! Do not accuse me before giving me audience. I shall explain myself here since blogger gave me this space 😉 …yours is at the end. I do not attend most lectures because I have come to realize that I study better on my own. The class I study in is modelled for grade seekers, not engineers. I am not good at cramming and I prefer to perform all calculations from scratch. The content taught in most Engineering classes is outdated and the lecturers hardly bother to update themselves. The lecture notes given are the equivalent of textbooks in size, a very unnecessary thing in this age of Google! Practical applications are the equivalent of utopian dreams and the professors and lecturers dare not step into labs, which I’d figured for an engineer is the right place to be. The examinations set require one to cram previous year questions or examples in the handouts given. Examiners want answers given word for word and shall not take time to understand it otherwise. This frustrates the curious frank thinker in me. I like to change things not recite stuff…yes, even lyrics!
The president and government of Uganda has continuously donated generously to the Engineering college at Makerere University but all we have achieved is the Kira EV!? No one questions how the money is accounted for and we have no laboratory to use! Many times, I have failed to get a chip or micro-controller to use for a small project and even when they exist in the labs, students are still not allowed to use them permanently i.e One can not solder it to the circuit board… no, not even resistors. Yes, there are exceptional cases where one can access these but that is the general idea of engineering in a Sub-Saharan African university; or at least in Uganda… Makerere?
So, does it make sense that first class graduates are nothing different from 2nd class graduates? While students are busy building 3D printers in their garages in the USA, students are busy cramming notes here? Shall our professors, very few by the way, realize the need for harnessing student creativity for innovative solutions? The final question to ask is are we really churning out Engineers or just a bunch of graduates who happened to attend Engineering lectures?