Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Makerere University management has revived plans to send students for internship, field attachments, and recess during the ongoing lockdown.
The university had prematurely called off the internships in July amidst concerns from some sections of the public on the timing of the program which required students to remotely work with their hosts or design projects during the lockdown.
According to the guidelines from the university senate, students were also at liberty to either participate in university staff-led projects to undertake activities with clear deliverables approved by the college internship committees or form small workgroups on work-based assignments and present before the internship committee.
But a section of students shunned the arrangement arguing that it could be hard for them to get placements amidst the challenges brought about by the lockdowns as several companies were downsizing and battling other financial and supervision challenges.
Now, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs at Makerere University, Professor Umar Kakumba, says they have also received requests from students who are willing to carry on the program as it had been initially designed. Basing on the mounting requests, Professor Kakumba notes that the university has decided to reopen the program to willing students who either secured placement or are ready to take on projects as guided by their supervisors.
Professor Umar Kakumba points out that they have since realized that some students, especially those from border districts who are still under full lockdown had been disadvantaged.
He further adds that as the university had earlier suggested, the program which will run up-to December is designed to allow students who may not be able to complete within the given timeframe to be accorded a remedial extension program.
Makerere University Guild President Julius Kateregga says that although they are not opposed to the new arrangement, the university needs to walk the talk and ensure that individual schools do not come up with a separate set of guidelines differing from the one stated.
“If they are saying that those with the ability and willingness to take on the program can go on then we support their idea. The only problem is to impose the program and making it mandatory,” says Kateregga.
The internship is a mandatory exercise designed to provide learning and development opportunities as well as professional experience to university students as they relate classroom exposure with the employment setting. However, several other universities suspended the activity until further notice due to the unprecedented lockdown.