ICT clubs for students in 23 schools are set for establishment this year 2019, with support from Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) in conjunction with facilitators/team from Kisubi Associated Writers Agency (KAWA). The 2019 program follows the success of the first phase of the ICT Clubs Pilot Scheme which started the last year 2018.
The selected schools for 2019 include Butsibo S,S,; Nyabiteete S.S.; Nyakiyumbu S.S.; Wekomire S.S.; Vision S.S.; Kambuga S.S.; Trinity College, Nabingo; Mubende Light School; St. Elizabeth Girls’ School; Semuto S.S.; St. Henry’s College, Kitovu; Seeta College; Apac S.S.; Sir Samuel Baker S.S; Kitgum High; Palisa S.S.; Nyangilia S.S.; Dzaipi S.S.; Bududa S.S.; Bukeda Comprehensive Academy; Soroti S.S.; Rock High School; and Iganga Girls School.
Over the past decade, about 1000 secondary schools in Uganda have benefitted in a government program to equip them with computers and other items as a strategic plan to build the capacity of schools in ICT in Education. UCC implemented it under its Rural Communications Development Fund (RCDF).
The schools selected for the launch of the ICT Clubs are some of the beneficiaries of the RCDF program of equipping schools with computer labs. The launching of the ICT Clubs is a part of the strategy of RCDF to ensure sustainable use of the computer labs by making the ICT Clubs pivotal in maintenance and operations.
UCC ICT Clubs Curriculum
UCC produced a proposed curriculum to ensure maintenance and operation of the computer lab by club members. It covers various skills under students help desk, networking and internet basics, internet services and applications, using web authoring tools, and other recommended club activities like producing a computer club magazine, making brochures, learning to create presentation slides, blogging etcetera.
UCC has further developed a proposal of linking up each of the 20 ICT Clubs with one nearby University to collaborate with and support the clubs. Through this pilot project, students are expected to gain practical skills beyond the set curriculum for secondary schools and promote innovation. It is further expected to make students learn more on ICT and provide opportunity and platform for outstanding students to be recognised and benefit from UCC/RCDF support.
REPORT ON 20 CLUBS LAUNCHED IN 2018
In 2018, UCC mandated KAWA to implement a pilot project activity of launching ICT Clubs in 20 selected Secondary Schools. Namely: St. Mary’s College, Rushoroza; Bishop Kivengere Girls, Kabale; Mbarara High, Mary Hill High School, Mbarara; Rwenkoba Secondary School, Ibanda; Masaka Secondary School; Kasanga Seed Secondary School, Kampala, Nabisunsa Girls, Bishops Secondary School, Mukono; Dabani Girls, Busia; Mbale High; Mbale Secondary School; Nero Rock High School, Kumi; Lira Town College; Oulu High, St. Joseph, Layibi; Arua Public, Arua Senior Secondary School, Nalinya Lwantale Girls and St. John SS, Nandale.
KAWA prepared a one-month program from 18th June to 18th July 2018 in which period facilitators visited each of the selected schools, and the launches were carried out. Each school was allocated at least three hours for issuing out T-Shirts, making a presentation to sensitize the club members, give them opportunity to share expectations and accomplishments in ICT, preside over a short handover ceremony of Samsung Galaxy Tablets donated to the clubs, officially launch the project and do a video recording of feedback from participants. At the end of the one month program, KAWA invited the club patrons to a one day Knowledge sharing meeting at Makerere University Business school as reported here.
Some of the schools already had ICT clubs or their equivalents (Mbarara High, Gulu High, Lira Town College, Bishop Kivengere Girls, Arua Public, Bishops Senior Secondary School, etc) while others did not have or are defunct (Nyero Rock High School, Hildale High). Either way ICT activities had been going on, ranging from typical ICT and Computer studies lessons to conducting activities beyond those directly provided for in the curriculum. The first events and accomplishments that the students shared revolved around the following:
Achievements by some ICT Clubs
Many students shared their results as being their ability to use the basic programs on a computer. Namely: word processing, spreadsheet and presentation slides.
Students of Gulu High shared how ICT is helping the visually impaired students to have equal access and benefits of ICT. The students of Gulu High, Bishops Secondary School and Nabisunsa Girls have a program of doing peer learning in practical between students of upper classes and those in the lower levels.
Students of Bishop Kivengere Girls, Nabisunsa Girls, Arua SS and Lira Town College shared their exploits in projects involving using apps to solve community problems. Students of Arua Secondary School have an ongoing project of an online platform addressing water and sanitation issues affecting communities.
A team of students in Lira Town College are involved in robotics and other prototypes which they have exhibited at several events and winning awards. Students of Mbarara High School and Arua Secondary School reported developing award-winning projects and participating at ACIA Awards organised by UCC. Some have come to realise that their passion is in ICT and would like to pursue it as a career
Students of Bishops Secondary School, Mukono provided a comprehensive account of their activities, achievements and challenges. According to their club chairperson, their accomplishments include:
- Equipping students with ICT knowledge and latest advancement.
- Conducting out-reaches to different classes
- Maintenance and cleaning of the computer laboratory
- Organising typing competitions, and
- Website authoring.
Achievements cited by Bishops Mukono SS include:
- Increased interest in computer studies and the computer lab
- Providing internet connectivity for students to use on certain occasions
- Acquisition of a router
- Developed a website for their school
The plans of Bishops Secondary School, Mukono included:
- Further promotion of ICT in the school
- More active participation in ICT events in and out of the school
The challenges of the ICT Club of Bishops S.S as shared by one of the members included
- Lack of adequate funds for the various club activities.
- Delay in hosting the school’s website
- Limited ICT equipment in the lab
- Lack of access to the internet
- Limited time to run the club activities.
STUDENT PARTICIPANTS FEEDBACK
A few participating students were asked to freely share their learning points of the presentations during the launch in one minute. The video below captures some of the feedback
Some Statements from School Administrators and Club Patrons
Headteacher, Lira Town College, Lira
I want to thank the Uganda Communications Commission for what they have done for Lira Town College. You see these computers here. They are the ones who gave us computers. They have also trained rural people here two times. Now today they have come to you the students. They want us to form a club here, a club which was already existing, however, they have just come to strengthen, so I am delighted and want to thank UCC, but as you may know, our population has now risen to 2300, so we are now begging for more computers. …. at least you can add for us like 40 more computers.
I want to thank the students for what they have done, those in the club who have excelled at the national level. Each year we have been taking students to the national level as far as ICT is concerned. I am also happy because even one of our teachers went to Europe because of ICT. He was able to stay for a week in Europe because of ICT. I believe these students we have here will do great work in the future.
Deputy Headteacher, Bishops Secondary School, Mukono
The deputy said that where the world has reached, one either complies or becomes obsolete. He told the students. Therefore, you have an excellent opportunity through the /CT Club establishment program. He pointed out that he is a disciple of ICT who has never sat in class for an /CT lesson, but he has learnt how to use it_ He expressed the view that Ministry of Education and Sports could consider /CT and entrepreneurship going hand in hand. He further observed that though the initial cost of ICT is high, in the long run, it is very cheap.
He appreciated ICT for digitalising information which has saved the burden of a paper form of keeping records and carrying out transactions. He, therefore, challenged the students and teachers to take the club of /CT to another level by converting their knowledge into a product for sale assignment online. The deputy outlined expectations for the ICT Department: 1) let teachers move from the use of chalk to digital work in their lessons. 2) Teachers and students should begin to access homework and 3) Posting of teachers’ minutes online in advance of meetings. 4) Establishment of the digital library. 5) online sharing of test and examination questions.
He also stressed the importance of developing an attitude of problem-solving. “Decision making and problem-solving is a skill.” He said even if one was bright but is not innovative and can’t solve problems, the chances are that he or she won’t get a job.
He further urged UCC to extend the 21st-century skill and knowledge training to teachers in the various subjects they teach.
The Headteacher, Arua Secondary School
Arua Secondary School is very open to activities of UCC. To UCC and KAWA, I want to say that I am humbled by what I have seen taking place in Arua Secondary School today. It takes the hearts of loving people, loving institutions, thoughtful organisations to organise such things for the good of the students. My dear children from Arua Public School and Arua Secondary School, what is happening now is not something small. This is not something simple. It is not something to joke with for the commission empowers us…. Today, in the current world, without information, without knowledge you will go nowhere, and what UCC and KAWA are doing is to enable you in terms of education, in terms of technical ways of how to handle these ICT gadgets. KAWA and UCC need a loud and thunderous applaud.
Headteacher, Nabisunsa Girls’ School
In her closing remarks, the headteacher of Nabisunsa Girls’ School observed, “when somebody thinks about you, it means they are challenging us. I saw the last bit of the presentation where one of the sister schools is already ahead of us. They have come up with a project, and we have seen the advantages of the project.” She said she believes Nabisunsa can do better. She urged her students to take it up as a challenge and put their hands together to come up with something and beat other schools that are ahead of them. She remarked that as a school they are organised, and the students are very disciplined and very creative.
She thanked UCC for the Samsung tablets and that she was looking forward to working with KAWA and UCC. She promised that there would be something great out of the ICT Club. She also cautioned the girls to make sure that they use the tablets strictly for club activities. She said their patron would guide them very well and urged them to handle the tablets with care. She further thanked UCC for computers it earlier offered to the school.
Deputy Headteacher, Kasanga Seed Secondary School, Kampala
The deputy thanked KAWA for coming to conduct the launch of the pilot project. She said they had been waiting for a long time for the day to come. She said she thought it would never come to pass since the documents for the event were signed the previous year.
She said Kasanga Seed SS is blessed being the president’s school and that because of it the president (of Uganda) donated 40 computers which many schools do not have. She said they had been conducting ICT lessons in senior five and senior six since it is compulsory at that level. However, effective the beginning of 2017, the school chose to start computer studies at senior one and two. She said when the idea was sold to parents, they bought it. She said it accounted for the significant number of students at 0 levels. She thanked KAWA and UCC for the T-shirts offered to the club members, the tablets and the time dedicated to sensitising the students. She then launched the club. “In this error, if you are /CT illiterate, then you are in trouble,” she said.
The Patron, ICT Club of St. Joseph’s College, Lavibi — Gulu
The patron thanked the facilitator, Chole Richard for
his presentation_ He said he listened attentively to Choie’s presentation and got
inspired by the immense knowledge of ICT and how the world was changing_ He
said what Chole shared confirmed what they as a school had always told
“There is a lot that is happening in the world that nobody must be left behind from knowing”, he said. He further said that there were very many aspects of ICT which must be embraced and made use of for people to advance.
We don’t need to lag. There is a lot that you people are going to gain through the launch of this ICT Club”, he said. He urged the students to use what they have learnt at the launch even to explore more.
“Like it or not, there is that time when the teacher will use the smart phone_ Then their presentations are going to be in the form of power point. That’s why no one must be left behind.”, the patron said. “So that is where the world is heading, and no one should be left behind_”, he added. He urged the few who have been selected to spearhead the club to inspire others to embrace ICT.
Patron, ICT Club of Gulu High School — Gulu.
She thanked KAWA for enlightening the club members. She said what has been learnt during the launch will make the students more innovative. She said she believed that their school might also get well known like all the other schools whose creative accomplishments have taken them beyond the country. She paid tribute to the unique needs students of Gulu High School. She said they were significantly engaged in learning projects and she believed that they could do more together. She further observed that ICT encompass everything in our life. So, they have to embrace everything
Special thanks to Rogers Mukalele who produced this report. A more comprehensive report can be accessed on the ICT Teachers’ Association of Uganda (ITAU) website by following this link; http://bit.ly/2vblYpU