Makerere University is carrying out a needs assessment in educational institutions within the East African region to establish a mechanism of delivering online educational programmes within the region. This activity according to the UniversityÃ¢‚¬„¢s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba, is aimed at ensuring that the E-learning regional centre, based at the College of Computing and Information Sciences, Makerere University serves the needs of the East African region.
Prof. Baryamureeba was speaking during a function held at the College on Friday 27th January, 2012 to award academic certificates to the first cohort of students who had enrolled for masters and post graduate diplomas offered by Amity University in India in collaboration with Makerere University. These courses are offered under the Tele-Education programme implemented in 2009 as part of the Pan-African e-Network Project supported by the Government of Uganda, Government of India and the African Union.
Ã¢‚¬Å“Your achievements today show that online education has a great possibility of offering educational advancement to anyone who has the drive and desire. We, in a humble way ask Government to support us more so that this facility is rolled out in the entire University,Ã¢‚¬ said Baryamureeba. A total of 44 graduates received certificates and the best four students who displayed great academic brilliance and trounced their counterparts in Africa won medals.
Speaking at the same function, the Minister of ICT, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda said his ministry together with the Rural Communications Development Fund and the Ministry of Education would soon embark on a programme to roll out enhanced science teaching in rural schools using ICTs. This, he added, would enable the rural poor access quality science teaching and therefore enable the rural poor students to compete effectively with their urban counterparts.
With Makerere University, planning to open up more upcountry-based campuses, the minister hopes that the ICT Ministry and the University will partner to set-up computing and teleconferencing facilities in the various institutions in order to broaden the educational opportunities for the rural communities and improve their development opportunities. Dr. Rugunda was represented by Hon. Nyombi Thembo, the State Minister for ICT.
The Indian High Commissioner to Uganda, His Excellency, S. N Ray Shri, said IndiaÃ¢‚¬„¢s support to Africa in the area of capacity building programs is hinged on the fact that ICTs can play a major role in harnessing the benefits of globalization for mutual advantage. Ã¢‚¬Å“ I hope that the Tele-education programme will provide a foundation stone for human resource development in Uganda and contribute to the countryÃ¢‚¬„¢s economic growth,Ã¢‚¬ he noted.
The Pan-African e-Network project, which is running in several African countries, is being funded by the Government of India to tune of $117 Million. Under this programme, Makerere University was chosen to serve as the regional center to advance Tele-Education in the East African region. The e-learning center was set up at the then Faculty of Computing and IT, now College of Computing and Information Sciences and it is well equipped for use with a modern video conferencing laboratory. Under this project, a total of 787 students are currently enrolled for various courses offered by Amity University, India and the Indira Ghandi National Open University (IGNOU).