Vincent Kisenyi is a lecturer at Ugandan Christian University in the department of Business. He received a scholarship to participate in the summer school “Doing Business in Europe” in Groningen for 3 weeks in 2016.
Part 1: Journey to Hanze
“Our trip to the Hanze was a sponsored trip by the Foundation and I would like to thank all the donors and members of the foundation. The one ticket and facilitation that was given to me and my colleague has had a multiplier effect and in that way many people have benefitted in various ways, both our students and our colleagues. And it’s our prayer that such efforts are continued because they add real value to very many people in the world.
We call it the Hanze experience. Being a lecturer, it gave us the opportunity to first of all experience what exactly takes place in a summer school, so we were students at the same time, one would say it was a humbling experience. Secondly, also to see how things are done. The experience itself is a lifelong experience because it changed the way that I personally was doing things. Looking at how the facilitators were handling their lectures, looking at how the students were participating, looking at the technology that was being used, I think that was a great thing. But most importantly, the philosophy of learning which is learner centred and very practical, I think that was something that was good. And coming home to Uganda with that experience I think we’ve been able to share it with other faculty members and it has changed the way things are being done. So, the multiplier effect is even greater. You know that we are a result of how we learn what we learn, and I think it is impacting many young people in becoming pragmatic in the way they look at things.”
Part 2: Change in Education
“Now, when I give assignments, I group the students and cause them to go and interact with the real small businesses around the campus. This has also helped the community of business people around. They have interesting questions, some of them do not keep accounts, some of them do not know the importance of having very simple books. Why? They consider accounting a very complex thing for those who have graduated, yet, even at their level they can do it. So, the challenge for the students is to go out to these business people who are around the university community and work with them to find a simple way of how they can keep records. And the experience is very good, the results are interesting. First of all, the students’ level of creativity increases, being able to translate the seemingly complex bookkeeping knowledge to this shop keeper who is probably a dropout from an academic system. So, we’ve had so far two cohorts, one in 2017 and 2018 do this exercise. This takes place both on the Bachelor level with informal businesses and on the Master level with formally registered businesses.
For the students I always tell them apart from asking them about the books, try to build a relationship, because business is about relationships. Some students have established good relationships and are following up, looking past the bookkeeping at the market possibilities, even hygiene, customer care, etc. We have three good businesses that have really benefitted, and you can see a remarkable change. In 2019, this year, come May, there will be a new group and I want to take them a notch higher in terms of that interaction. But, more importantly, we want to sell this idea to all the other accounting lecturers that doing a good class is okay, but how can that help the community? Because this is where the students are going to work and find business opportunities.”