ICT for Education in Uganda?

12 06 2009

As information and telecommunication technologies continue to find their way into the country, the education system of Uganda stands a chance to improve further. I must acknowledge the fact that we are living in the world where technology is changing faster than ever, competition for jobs is very stiff and unemployment is immense. This means that we need our education system needs to equip us with all the relevant knowledge – technical, practical and the theories that we need to get decent jobs.

Many schools in Uganda today are still in poor conditions with hardly enough desks, information material (laboratories and libraries) and limited room for the pupils.

Question remains, “Can ICTs for Education work for Uganda?”

Honestly the future of online learning/ or ICTs in Uganda’s schools is still uncertain.

In a country where power lines break and remain unfixed for a period of a week or so, many rural areas have no power, an issue of immense poverty, unemployment etc.

The government of Uganda is making efforts to provide education material to government schools through donating text books from which schools have benefited. Many schools however do not have libraries where pupils/students can access information for research and take private studies purposes.

However with the credit crunch, we need to choose wisely and make sure that only the most essential ICTs are put in place to enhance learning at lower levels of education. There are a variety of cheap technologies designed specifically for schools. Examples include: NComputing where one PC shares resources amongst different workstations not to mention Open Source software.

“Lets embrace the right to information and the right to education by introducing ICTs in classrooms in Uganda.”

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Entrepreneurship and ICT in Uganda.

4 06 2009

The issue of entrepreneurship and ICT for development in Uganda today still remains a big challenge.

In a country where infrastructure is still poor and not well distributed throughout to benefit the local people as well as the urban people.

I should also acknowledge the issue of immense poverty, unemployment and lack of skills.

Different development schemes have come and gone. Some have made an impact and others have done no good at all.

Issues of ICT for development and entrepreneurship trainings are not new in our ears, but what is entrepreneurship really?

Mrs. Omara a 45 year old resident of Apac district (Northern Uganda) is a small scale farmer. Asked what kind of job she does she replied, “I am a house wife, I have no job really!” I went ahead to ask her what she does with her small produce. She said, “I have 8 children, and since I have no job, I have to produce more food crops than we consume. This helps me to earn an extra income to support the family and to take my children to school. We have an open market every Monday where I can sell my produce.”

She does not think she is an entrepreneur though because she does not have capital. But she generates some income out of her small garden to support the family.

ICT4Development on the other had still remains a very big challenge. Many people still do not understand what the term “ICT” means. All they know is ICT stand for Information and Telecommunication Technology. And every time the term ICT is mentioned, people quickly interpret it as “Internet and Computers”. So when you say Entrepreneurship and ICT, one question keeps crossing people’s minds; “How can computers and internet  help to improve on our enterprises?” Simply because thats their interpretation of ICTs in a layman’s language.

In a recent five (5) day “Training in Entrepreneurship and ICT Skills “ conducted in Apac District of Northern Uganda, people were surprised to learn that Mobile phones, Newspapers and Radios are also ICT tools. Out of the 45 women participating in the training, 39 own mobile phones and only 6 do not own mobile phones.

The training was organized by Women of Uganda Network with support from the NEPAD Spanish fund for African women Economic empowerment to support a project on  “Enhancing Income Growth among small and micro women entrepreneurs through the use of ICTs”.

The project targets women entrepreneurs from the three districts of Ibanda (Western Uganda), Mukono (Central Uganda) and Apac (Northern Uganda).

The purpose of this project is to promote the economic empowerment among small and micro women entrepreneurs in the three districts of Uganda.