“I Voluntarily Re-sat a Paper to Improve My Grades,” Makerere’s Star Opens Up

As a fresh student at university, cure you will often be told by lecturers that ‘First Class Degrees are acquired in first year’. And the phrase is not a mere pep talk, dosage it is true in every sense. Reason being – the university grading system is set up in a way that every mark throughout the course contributes to one’s final results and consequently their Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA).

For this very reason, drugs students who are dedicated to get a First Class will work by all means to avoid retakes and low grades right from the time they are introduced to the course.

Such was the case for Rogers Mukalele, 30 who emerged as the second best overall student during Makerere University’s 67th graduation this week. Mukalele, a student of Information Science from the Jinja campus was the top science performer with a CGPA of 4.91.

As such, he was recognized with an Award and a Ush 500,000 cash prize on Wednesday by the Makerere University Convocation for his distinguished performance. However, his, like many other success stories never came through sitting and wishing, as he revealed to ChimpReports in an interview.

His hardwork and determination was inspired by the fact that he was individually raising his tuition fees.

“In the first year, I was working while I studied. So, because I was paying my own money I put in much determination and did all I could,” he said.

Prior to joining university, Mukalele was a secondary school teacher of Computer Studies and Mathematics which he proceeded to do on a part time basis when he enrolled at Makerere.

He holds another Bachelors Degree in Education (Science) from Busitema University in 2010 which he also acquired through a government scholarship.


As a teacher, he says he earned Ush 600,000 as a monthly salary which he saved for 2 years before reporting to campus.

“Since I was teaching computer studies, I had some good understanding of Information Technology (IT). Right from the first day of the semester I would look at the course outline and then do enough research even before the lecturer comes.”

He said his knowledge of the basics given his prior training gave him the luxury of time to alternate between teaching and studying during his first and second year.

To majority of the students at university, scoring above the average mark (50%) in an examination is always the ultimate goal. Below this mark, one must re sit the exam lest they don’t graduate. However, Mukalele’s pre-determined resolve for excellence made him pursue more than an average mark.

He told us that at some point, he had to re-do an exam in which he had scored a 60% mark.

“There’s a paper in which I got a 60 and I decided to re-do it so as to improve it since the university policy provides for this. I don’t have any 60s. I mostly have 80s and a few 70s,” he said.

But scoring better grades wasn’t the only huddle that Mukalele had to prevail over. Raising his rather costly tuition fees was another challenge but fortunately, teaching wasn’t the only window for him to gather resources.

He revealed to us that part of the money came from book sales for a book he authored titled ‘Computer Studies for Uganda’. The book is currently in major book stores including Aristock.

Mukalele (R) poses with his parents after being recognized as the best science student
Mukalele (R) poses with his parents after being recognized as the best science student

He told ChimpReports that his love for ICT had everything to do with the fact that we live in an era where information and technology are central in everyday life. His dream is to innovate solutions that will impact people’s lives.

“I aspire to do a Masters Degree and coming up with an innovation that will impact lives of Ugandans and the world. I already have some projects am working on so for me this Award wasn’t just out of cramming but also the skills I have acquired,” Mukalele explained.

Among some of the projects the IT graduate has so far worked on is ‘Sharability’, a web based system that schools are using to share digital learning resources. He did this as his final year project and currently, about 200 schools across Uganda are using the platform.

“These days, schools are increasingly using electronic resources like power point slides, electronic notes and videos but those in the rural areas are still disadvantaged. The Sharability platform connects teachers to develop and share these resources,” he said.

While he built the platform as a purely academic project, he says it has been able to earn him some money especially from some teachers who appreciate the service.

He looks to boost ‘Sharability’ through the Annual Communications Innovation Awards (ACIA) an initiative that recognizes and supports outstanding ICT innovations in Uganda.

His academic accomplishments aside, Mukalele still holds bigger future plans including inspiring young innovators.

“The field of education is one where I have strong passion. So I look at my self-progressing and becoming a lecturer. I hope to use this Award to inspire my students,” he said.

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