The philosophical implications of the liberalization of university education in Uganda
Muwagga, Anthony Mugagga
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In 1992 Uganda’s university education was liberalized. However, the underlying resultant values and beliefs accessed/transmitted by the different universities within their philosophical paradigms are not very certain to most university stakeholders. The primary purpose of this study was to examine the rationale for the expansion of university education in Uganda; it focused on the philosophy and reality behind the different universities in Uganda. The study through the use of three research questions gleaned the information from the university academic and non-academic context, the axiological and metaphysical pivot and manifest of the university inputs and out puts. A descriptive case study research design was used. The study sample included; university top administrators, members of the academic staff, university students, university education experts and other stakeholders such as the university non-teaching staff and university service providers such as hostel owners. The study utilized questionnaires, interviews, focus group discussions, document analysis and participant observation as the research instruments. The study findings were coded and tabulated with an aim of identifying categories, patterns and themes, which facilitated a coherent synthesis of the data. It was presented descriptively in themes deciphered in the course of the study, through tables, percentages and sub-titles which correspond to the study objectives and other supplementary questions posed in the course of the study. The study demonstrated and revealed that liberalization of university education has had some salient philosophical implications, which are revealed by the state of the university context; axiological and metaphysical manifest of the university in-puts and out-puts. This is evident in the morality, beliefs and real epistemological manifested by the university inputs and out puts. It reveals that the different university stakeholders have seemingly divergent roles ascribed to university education. It also reveals that the different universities both private and public hinge on the their mission and vision as a pivot for their philosophical orientation. The study concluded that there is over emphasis of the corporeal end of university education. It also concluded that the general university context, pedagogical and non-pedagogical, is constrained especially that of the Public/ Government owned(PG) and For-Profit Universities(FPU). It further reveals that Public/Government owned universities (PG) and the Commercial/For- profit universities (C/FPU) are value and belief constrained, whereas the Private Moral-Spiritual (PSMU) or ‘Mission’ Universities are more axiological and metaphysically sound/disposed by virtue of their mission and vision. The university context is determined by the university corresponding philosophical orientation. The study recommends that there is need to evolve a national university philosophy or instruction to offset the apparent over emphasis of the corporeal/material end of university education in the Public/ Government owned (PG) and commercial/For-Profit universities (C/FPU), which has come as a result of the constrained university context and raised student numbers. There is need to re-examine the real vis-à-vis cosmetic or apparent university rationale. The university context should also be continuously examined to determine the true university philosophy ipso facto values and beliefs transmitted in the different universities.