The three-year project is being supported by the Finnish Ministry of Foreign affairs
This is aimed at giving students an opportunity to try new methods of generating knowledge and applying it to the community.
The three-year project is being supported by the Finnish Ministry of Foreign affairs and brings together a consortium of Universities among them, the University of Nairobi, University of Da-er-salaam and Aalto University of Finland.
The Coordinator of the project Dr. Venny Nakazibwe explained that the PBL East African project is a new methodology that allows students to test the knowledge that they have got in class and be able to apply it in real life situations and be able to get information from the perspective of different disciplines that is being offered in the university.
"For instance we are a college of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology; we have an opportunity to have students come from different disciplines and join together to address a social issue, "she said
Speaking during the regional conference on Strengthening Problem Based Learning in East Africa, Nakazibwe explained that "Kaveera" is now a real life situation affecting everyone, and the Environment and the soil which the students need to look into as a means through which they can improve people's mindsets about it and be able to find out what can be done with the plastic waste so that it can be put to a better use.
"It may not be eliminated completely but what can be done to collect all the plastics that cause a challenge to everyone. "
"Through this, we have done community awareness and collected the most dangerous plastics from the drainages where students have put them together and used them as building materials in the construction sector through generating low cost blocks for construction that can be used as pivots for construction purposes."
She observed that traditional knowledge can be useful where new challenges emerge and there is a need to come up with new approaches since the system of learning is not the same compared to 50 years ago.
"We need to have teaching and learning based on the learners' centered perspective in addition to addressing community needs through the best approaches," she said.
She added that the project seeks to realize better understanding of the communities in which we live in, behavior patterns since many people do not know that littering a bottle will not course and immediate impact will not immediate but long time impact.
"We have to appreciate that our soil is the source of food and should not be contaminated with plastic materials because we shall not get food from another planet yet Uganda is known to be a food basket for Africa," she said.
Prof. Henry Alinaitwe the principal of the college said the project is a good approach in a sense that it promotes knowledge transfer and outreach.
The acting Vice chancellor in a speech read for him by Prof. Alinaitwe welcomed the idea saying it is making the universities more relevant to the needs of the country.
"Am particularly glad to learn that CEDAT is committed at enhancing the use of PBL in our curriculum, the objective of PBL are in line with the strategic plan of Makerere University.The University is moving towards learner centered approach to teaching and being researched., "he said.
Prof. Minna Halme from the Aalto University of Finland said the PBL approach helps to add value to the solution.
"Delaying to come up with a solution delays sustainable solutions which in the end limits development." She said