The background

The introduction of the course of Commercial Art at Nkumba in 1979 was a turning point in the history of art education in Uganda. Prior to this the gist of art education in Uganda had been either Fine art, taught at Makerere University Art School, or art education taught at several teacher education institutions in Uganda.

The Commercial Art course at Nkumba was focused on training students to enable them engage in art that would serve to promote humanity especially in the economic sectors. Consequently emphasis was put on the Graphic arts and the curriculum revolved around that area in teaching, methods and materials Nkumba gained a lot of popularity for the nature of skills its art graduates had because;

  • They complemented the economic activity of the Ugandan business community by advertising their products and services. They did this through methods and materials not commonly used in other tertiary institutions.
  • They had a very strong attitude to work, which made them have a competitive edge over graduates from other institutions.

As Nkumba developed and gained University status, a more standardized curriculum was developed. It had components that were similar to the curricular of other leading art schools within the region, particularly Margaret Trowel School of Industrial and Fine Art (MTSIFA, MUK), Institute of Teacher Education Kyambogo (ITEK) and its affiliate school (Michelangelo School of Arts) situated at Kisubi. This implied that whereas Nkumba had a good reputation in the world of work, it had now entered a strong competitive league.

The curriculum in its current form has been operational for the last fourteen (14) years and whereas several courses have been introduced, it has not had a major structural review yet the economic, technological and educational environment have continued to change very fast and on a daily basis.

The complexity of the whole situation (competition, curriculum, study programmes) has impacted on the current status of SCIAD within the University and general education field. A review of the performance index at SCIAD over the past five years shows a static situation in academic standards, student numbers and capacity.

Against that background, an initiative was taken to review SCIAD programmes so as to avert the undesirable static trend and to reinstate the niche in commercial art education which SCIAD had over the other partners, prior to the mid 2000.

The preliminary focus of the whole process was to establish whether SCIAD would perform better if it restructured its operations but retained the quarter system of study or, redesign the whole structure into a semester system.


Mission, Vision and Objectives


To provide and apply knowledge through artistic/design and scientific technology relevant to social and economic development.


To be a leading Commercial Industrial Arts and Design Centre through teaching, research and development of society.


Against the SCIAD mission, the programme has three principle objectives:-

1-            to enhance teaching and research skills in Commercial Industrial Art and Design

2-            to improve quality, capacity and efficiency of students and staff systems.

3-            To offer a high academic quality and competitive programme.