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The College of Computing and IS through its Centre for Innovations and Professional Skills Department (CiPSD) conducted a one-week ICT skills training workshop from the 11th – 15th Dec 2017. The training was part of the College’s community outreach initiative to give back to the Makerere University community. The overall main objective of the training was to impart ICT skills to the youth of Uganda and empower them to realize the potential of ICT in unlocking their career paths for the future. The training was facilitated through by a Cisco grant that was awarded to the Cisco Networking Academy within CiPSD
The training targeted Primary 7, Senior 4 and 6 vacists and other interested youth. A total of 80 participants registered and participated in the training. During the orientation session, Mr. Robert Tuhaise (Legal Main Contact, Cisco Networking Academy) welcomed the participants and encouraged them to take this time and fully utilize this opportunity to understand what role ICT has to play in their future.
The one-week training session was customized around a Cisco Networking Academy programme called Get Connected. The Academy firmly believes in basic technology skills as essential for anyone who wants to participate and compete in today’s digital economy. Get Connected therefore introduced the participants to basic computer and Internet navigation skills. Some of these ICT skills included;
- Identify different types of computer systems, components, printers, and other devices.
Understand Microsoft Windows and how to work with files and folders.
- Understand computer networking, how to browse and search the Internet, and how to use email.
- Create accounts for Gmail, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
- Identify common problems and implement simple solutions for hardware, software, and networks.
The facilitator’s during this training were all recognized Academy instructors namely; Mr. Robert Tuhaise (CCNP Instructor), Mr. Charles Halonda-Funa (ITE Instructor), Mr. Stuart Ssebulime (CCNA Instructor) and Ms. Barbara Nalubega (CCNA Instructor). The training sessions were 100% hands on and conducted from 8:30 am – 1:00 pm. The response and interest shown by the participants during the training was so positive that some of the training sessions would end at 2:00 pm.
At the end of the training participants were issued with Certificates of Completion but not before getting a few words of advice from Prof. Tonny Oyana (Principal, CoCIS). But before giving his remarks and advice, he randomly selected some of the participants to briefly introduce themselves and mention something that makes them happy. One of the participants, Mangusho Joram was happy to have received the opportunity to get ICT skills training while others promised to return for more training.
In his closing remarks Prof. Tonny Oyana encouraged the participants to embrace the ICT skills they had received, build on their self-confidence and communication skills and lastly earn to thrive in today’s world.
The College of Computing and IS (CoCIS) hosted and conducted a pilot exercise of over 6000 job applicants during the second week of January 2018. The objective of this activity was to carry out an online based aptitude assessment (e-recruitment) of all the job applicants.
The assessment the first of its kind was coordinated by the Uganda Public Service Commission (PSC) and CoCIS and follows the launch of the Electronic Recruitment System (ERS) in December 2017 that allows for the automated enlistment of applicants.
This form of recruitment was developed to addresses some of the administrative challenges encountered by PSC when recruiting for other government agencies which include; time taken to recruit, costs incurred during recruitment, paperwork used, complaints from applicants e.g. fraud etc.
Present during the assessment and the press briefing were Justice Ralph W. Ochan (PSC chairperson), Prof. Tonny Oyana (Principal, CoCIS), Hon. Benigina Mukiibi (Member, PSC), Ms. Winnie Kabogosa Musoke (Member, PSC), Mr. Enyomu Richard (Commissioner, Monitoring & Guidance, PSC), and Ms. Alenga Rose, Undersecretary PSC).
According to the PSC chairperson, Justice Ralph W. Ochan, the just concluded assessment was a huge success and will go further in improving transparency, data management, scheduling of interviews, shortlisting qualified applicants etc. He applauded the partnership between both institutions (PSC and CoCIS) that made this exercise a success (especially on the cost implications for government) and looked forward to more similar partnership in the near future.
Prof. T. Oyana (Principal, CoCIS) in his remarks welcomed the applicants and the team from PSC. He thanked them for taking the initiative in developing such a system that will curb out corruption and enhance efficiency within the recruitment process. He wished the applicants present on that day all the best during their assessments and reiterated that CoCIS is an icon of excellence in the areas of;
• Teaching and Knowledge transfer
• Research and Innovations
• Digital Literacy etc.
and encouraged all applicants to endeavor and take a tour of the College and see what makes it the best in region (East Africa).
AirQo Monitor – a low cost air pollution monitoring technology. Researchers at the College of Computing and Information Sciences have developed low-cost air monitoring devices to measure air quality. Researchers have innovatively deployed a network of air quality monitors on boda-bodas and street lights and buildings in selected areas of Kampala city to produce a detailed and near real-time map of air pollution map.
The research team is led by Department of Computer Science Associate Professor Engineer Bainomugisha in partnership with Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), and University of Sheffield. Each AirQo monitor remotely sends air quality data for mapping and analytics. The air quality data includes levels of Particulate Matter (PM) particles of sizes 1, 10 & 2.5 micrometers, which are considered a key indicator of air quality. These particles are small enough to enter the lungs and cause major health problems. To put it in context, the diameter of a single human hair is about 30 times larger than PM 2.5 particle. The AirQo can be customized to measure other major health damaging pollutants including Sulphur Dioxide, Nitrogen Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide.
The WHO considers air pollution a major health and environmental risk, yet there is no regular air pollution monitoring or research into its spatial distribution in Kampala and other major cities in Uganda. This leaves citizens in the dark about their exposure. The researchers believe that there is an urgent unmet need to identify the sources and quantify the scale of air pollution, its spatial and temporal distribution and causes. This is vital if we are to motivate the changes required to reduce or better manage the air pollution problem.
The AirQo innovation is a major improvement over the traditional air pollution monitors and deployment models. Air quality monitoring equipment has traditionally been prohibitively expensive and complex. Setting up a single air quality monitoring station currently costs over 150 thousand dollars. The AirQo innovation uniquely combines a cost-effective low-cost air monitors and use of mobile objects such as boda-bodas for collecting air quality data. Boda-bodas in Kampala are re-known to reach almost everywhere thus providing more fine-grained spatial data than you can ever collect with traditional monitoring equipment.
So far, the team has collected over one million records of data about air quality in Kampala. The team believes that system’s low cost will ensure a long-term sustainable deployment, with data provided to the population through mobile phones, websites and social media. “Our innovation allows citizens make informed decisions. Citizens can where to use the information to decide where live and the school to send children to,” said Associate Professor Engineer Bainomugisha. “Policy makers will be equipped with scientific evidence on the magnitude, scale and sources of air pollution so as to better manage, regulate and contain the problem” More project information available at www.airqo.net
A delegation of consultants from African Union (ICT Consultant, AU) represented by Mr. Moses Bayingana and Ms. Mariam Aniya (ICT, Consultant) on Tuesday, 14th Nov 2017 met with Prof. Tonny Oyana (Principal, CoCIS), Mr. Joseph Ssemogerere (E-learning Coordinator, PAEN project), Ms. Liliane Ayebare (Ag. Head, CiPSD) and Mr. Godwin Kahuuta (Principal Scientist, Ministry of ICT and National Guidance). The meeting was scheduled to discuss and get feedback about the implementation of the Pan-African E-Network Project (PAEN) at the College of Computing and IS (CoCIS), Makerere University. In particular the genesis of the of the project, how it was implemented, the achievements and challenges of the project, and recommendations.
(From left to right) Mr. G. Kahuuta, Mr. J. Ssemogerere, Prof. T. Oyanna, Ms. L. Ayebare, Mr. M. Bayingana and Ms. M. Aniya
During the meeting Mr. Ssemogerere presented the main objective of the project which was funded by the Indian government at a cost of US$ 125 million to connect all African Union (AU) member countries with some of the best universities and hospitals in India to share their expertise in the fields of education and health so as to accelerate the socio-economic development of Africa.
He also briefly talked about the Implementation of the five-year project which was through Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd. (TCIL) who set up the network providing e-services with priority on Tele-Education, Tele-Medicine and VVIP connectivity (video conferencing and VoIP) among the African member states and Makerere University (CoCIS) was selected as the National E-learning Centre to host the students enrolled in the various courses under this project.
Mr. J. Ssemogerere presents a report on the PAEN project
Key highlights and achievements during the presentation;
- That there is still a large demand for the programmes offered by both Amity University and Indra Ghandi National Open University (IGNOU) notably the Masters in Business Administration and Bachelors in IT/IS programmes.
- The favorable subsidized costs of the training enabled the unprivileged to get good quality education.
- The flexible study timetable schedule enabled students from upcountry locations the opportunity to study at their convenience as well as complete their studies on time.
- That Makerere University had the best performance, highest enrollment (2,540), and completion rates (1500) within the whole African region at approximately 60% graduate pass rate.
- The project had increased the much-needed human resource in Uganda in the disciplines of IT, Business, Finance and Human resource studies.
- A majority of the graduates who completed testified to having got promotions and better jobs.
- The challenges noted by Mr. Ssemogerere were;
- Lack of effective communication specifically with IGNOU regarding student questions and general guidance during the programmes.
Enforcement of the tuition fees for operation costs.
- Some students not focused on studying creating a lot of exam retake scenarios.
- In regards to forging a way forward, he recommended the following;
- An extension of the project by renewing the necessary MOU’s etc. This will enable more Ugandans to access subsidized quality education.
- Operationalizing the Regional University Centre which was supposed to continue providing Tele-Education to other countries in the region even after expiration of the project. Specifically addressing issues of;
- Getting approval from Makerere University (Senate) to start delivering online courses.
- Training staff at CoCIS to deliver online courses.
- Providing sufficient support (Financial support).
He concluded his presentation by thanking the Indian Government, the African Union, all participating institutions for successfully coordinating the project from its inception to completion and kindly requested for more opportunities that will steer Uganda to the next level.
Mr. Bayingana was very impressed by the performance of CoCIS (Makerere University) during the project especially with achieving the highest completion rate in Africa with 1,596 students graduating during the project.
Mr. Kahuuta an Amity alumnus who graduated from the program with an MBA in International Business attested to the benefits, achievements and successes of the project and requested for a renewal of the project emphasizing on the use of the newly laid fiberoptic infrastructure.
The Principal in his remarks thanked Mr. Ssemogerere for successfully coordinating the project amidst all the challenges and requested that AU renew or extend the project. In forging a way forward, he requested that the AU provide seed money and other initiatives that can address some the challenges faced e.g. content development, training of administrative staff to sustain the project and develop the infrastructure.