Evaluation of the Skills Enhancement & Cross-cutting Courses under the CCNY supported Next Generation of African Academics (NGAA) Programme - Evaluation Report

Executive Summary

Makerere University is among four Universities in Africa which have benefited from the six year- two phase CCNY supported project (2010-2016) focusing on building, nurturing and retention of the Next Generation of African Academics (NGAA).

The programme now in its second phase has a component for enhancing the skills capacity of staff in cross cutting areas such as research management, policy brief development, scholarly writing and communication. It was envisaged that an evaluation will be undertaken during the second phase to assess the performance in the implementation of these skills enhancement training in research management, policy brief development and scholarly writing & communication. This evaluation would then feed into subsequent course offerings.

In undertaking this evaluation, the methodology applied included review of key programme documents obtained from the Directorate of Research & Graduate Training and interviews for beneficiaries, resource persons and coordinators. The evaluation adopts both qualitative and quantitative data analysis utilising computer aided software Statistical Package for Social Scientists SPSS for the quantitative and Atlas-ti for the qualitative

The key findings as synthesized from the responses to the evaluation questions mainly relate to respondents’ perceptions of course coverage or content, structuring/or design, target, delivery, timing and frequency. Both participants and resource persons acknowledge the importance of the courses. This validates the need to have the courses as articulated at project design and formulation. A total of 282 beneficiaries from 9 colleges and 3 public institutions were covered in a space of 3 years, this was over and above the 180 (60 per year) that had been envisaged.

The evaluation under course content focused on the topics covered and the how they aligned to the objectives of the skills enhancement courses. A number of topical areas covered were deemed to have been determined from a generic point of view. It emerges that the absence of a systematic training needs assessment limited the focus and curriculum design for the courses as offered. In addition, the need to stratify the beneficiaries according to academic level was strongly emphasised, this would allow for target specific training sessions to be designed and organised.

Although several respondents state that the courses have impacted on their academic life, the measurable indicators in terms of policy briefs, publications and by implication promotions are limited. Moreover, these outputs even if they exist cannot directly be attributed to the training courses. Coordination, particularly record keeping remains a fundamental challenge, this is in addition to the need to diversify the choice of resource persons.
Several of the suggested improvements have resource implications which extend beyond the financial to human resource/experts or professionals, coordination and additional logistical inputs. This may call for a comprehensive requirements review exercise for future course delivery including identifying stop gap measures where conditions deem necessary.


The main recommendation includes the need to integrate the courses within the University system. This will minimise the multi-disciplinary tension, match the training to the academic level, promote relevance as well as ensure sustainability even after the NGAA project. Further articulated is the need to change the mind set of staff and students to embrace the soft skills that go beyond the academic circles. It is envisaged that this will enhance the research profile of Makerere University, enhance relevance throughpolicyspecificandwritingtoenhanceresearchuptake. Itwillfurtherenhance international research collaborations that is key to knowledge generation and transfer within the globalized era.