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“I chose Unisa because it’s the best online university in Africa”

Dr Christopher Muganga is an assistant lecturer at Makerere University, Uganda, and a recent PhD graduate in Management Studies at Unisa. Muganga explains that he grew up in a peasantry background where education was not so much cherished. “I grew up in a cattle-keeping family, and cows mattered more than education.” Charting out his path, out of the ten siblings, he is the third-last and the most highly educated. “I went to good high schools, because I was a very good performing student, though I would often be interrupted by many competing family demands, especially rearing cattle,” he says.

As a Ugandan national, he says that he chose to study outside his country and at Unisa specifically because he likes to discover new things. Having studied in Uganda for most of his educational life, he wanted to pursue his PhD in a different environment, and Unisa was his preferred university. “I chose Unisa because I believe it's the best online university in Africa and has an enabling infrastructure that supports online learners,” Muganga explains. “Unisa has a very good online library that enables learners to access resources in the comfort of their homes. Additionally, the university has competent academics that make you love what you do. My supervisor, Professor Adele Bezuidenhout, is an amazing academic, very technical, meticulous, and patient with learners. I enjoyed my doctoral journey with her, and she made me love my academic journey.”

Dr Christopher Muganga

Sharing her sentiments, Bezuidenhout says: “It was a privilege to work with Muganga during the past few years. He was very dedicated and disciplined, right from the beginning of this journey.’’ She added further that she appreciates the special bond that developed between them and the process it took for him become an expert in his chosen field of research. “When the student becomes the expert, as in this case, it is a privilege and an honour to step aside and allow them to take the lead from here on. I have the utmost respect and trust in Dr Muganga, and I am in no doubt that his future, as well as his students' futures, will be blessed beyond expectations,’’ Bezuidenhout says.

Muganga chose to study for a PhD in Management Studies because it is in line with his teaching occupation at Makere University. “I interrogated the most pressing issue faced by the higher education sector in Africa and the world at large, academic retention, through proper management of talent that leads to organisational commitment, through the retention of valued academics,” he explains. “Pursuing this study was, however, not easy as his biggest challenge was coming to terms with scientific or academic writing. However, Professor Bezuidenhout took me step by step through every process and eventually, I mastered writing in a scientific and academic sense.”

He adds: “Unisa also has enough online resources, and tutorial sessions that support learners. I wish to applaud the good work Melanie Malan did, training me and many other doctoral students on how to access online resources.” Malan is a Senior Librarian in the College of Economic and Management Sciences.

Through his newly acquired PhD at Unisa, Muganga says he hopes to get a promotion to the rank of lecturer. “In addition, a PhD is a yardstick to academic growth at Makerere University and the higher education sector worldwide. I have already started writing journal articles from my work and hope to raise to other higher ranks like senior lecturer, and associate to full professor,” he says.

As a successful international PhD graduate, Muganga advises other students at Unisa, especially those not residing in South Africa, to believe in themselves, and that they too can make it. “Unisa is a prestigious university in Africa and provides opportunities for everyone in the world to explore their potential and be the best they ought to be,” he says. “The university also has competent academics to provide the best to online learners. Given how Unisa has transformed and supported me through my doctoral study, I would not hesitate to be part of the university’s academic team if an opportunity came up.”

*By Tshimangadzo Mphaphuli, Senior Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2022/05/05