Microsoft is set to establish a Microsoft Innovation Centre at Makerere UniversityÃ¢‚¬„¢s College of Computing and Information Sciences come July 2011. The centre will see students train in a cross section of software for mobile phones, server sites, desktop, and cloud computing, at a subsidized rate. Makerere University will provide the necessary infrastructure and equipment.
Juliano Tubino, the Director Microsoft Innovation Centers, says, Ã¢‚¬Å“MicrosoftÃ¢‚¬„¢s contribution will include technical expertise in the form of specialized product trainers, guidance on operations, software, training materials, access to the Microsoft Innovation Centre network, and marketing assistance.Ã¢‚¬„¢Ã¢‚¬„¢ Similar Microsoft centers in Africa have been set up in Tunisia, Tanzania and South Africa, making Uganda the forth recipient.
Ã¢‚¬Å“At the Centre, students will be in position to access the Microsoft platform and develop applications on and for that platform. It will provide a real life environment for software development as students maximize their time of study,Ã¢‚¬„¢Ã¢‚¬„¢ explains Michael Niyitegeka, the Head of Corporate Relations at the College. Ã¢‚¬Å“On completion, the students will be better placed to create jobs, but will also be ready to fit in the industry after the hands on exposure at the centre,Ã¢‚¬„¢Ã¢‚¬„¢ he adds.
Microsoft has supported a number of student initiatives at Makerere University, geared around skill development, like the Imagine cup competitions which primarily focus on studentsÃ¢‚¬„¢ innovations. According to Niyitegeka, MicrosoftÃ¢‚¬„¢s decision to support the establishment of this Innovation Center is an indication of its commitment towards skill development in Africa and its confidence in Makerere University as a strategic partner.