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                                                                                                                   Written by Alum Patricia

The System Software Center, in the College of Computing and Information Sciences at Makerere University hosted a presentation on 11thJuly 2017 with the theme “Getting to Grips with National Cyber Security”, presented by the celebrated Eng. Dr. FF. Tusubira, CEO of the UbuntuNet Alliance for Research and Networking. The aim of the presentation was to create awareness about national cybersecurity, its importance and how best to curb it.  

The presenter focused his presentation on the need for Uganda as a country to concentrate on getting a grip on national cybersecurity by citing instances where networks in different countries were hacked. He cited several instances where IT security was compromised, e.g. August 2016 when a group of hackers known as shadow brokers hacked the National Security Agency [NSA] and released hacking tools that were created by the NSA into the public, a power blackout in the capital city of Ukraine, Kiev in December 2016, and the hacking of Uganda Revenue Authority where the organization lost approximately 2 billion UG shillings to hackers using a computer system.

According to Eng. Tusubira the best way to curb national cybersecurity is by starting on a personal level, creating awareness among children, risk management behavior enterprise, and also understanding where a threat can be induced from e.g. by insiders of an organization, hackers, extremist organizations, investigative journalists, industrial espionage etc. He added that measures can be taken to counter the threat like malicious code protection, effective information security governance, incident management practices, and testing of the system to ensure it is hack proof.  

The presenter concluded by quoting the words of Aristotle, an ancient Greek philosopher and scientist who wrote, “We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit” meaning that the country as a whole should engage in early cybersecurity measures in order to avoid the effects of national cybersecurity crisis.

The Huawei “Seeds for the Future 2017” programme in Uganda was launched in April 2017 at the College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) in a partnership with the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, Ministry of Education and Sports, Makerere University, and Huawei Technologies and on Monday 29th May 2017 hosted an event at the Makerere University main hall.

The objective of the event was to officially flag of the 10 winners of the Huawei “Seeds for the Future 2017” programme. It was attended by Hon. John Muyingo (Minister of State for Higher Education), H.E Zheng Zhuqiang (Chinese Ambassador), Prof. Okello Ogwang (Ag. Vice Chancellor, Makerere University), Stanley Chyn (MD, Huawei Technologies Uganda), Dr. E. Kahiigi (Ag. Principal, CoCIS), and other invited guests.

Hon. John Muyingo did the honors of flagging off the 10 winners that will depart for China on Friday 2nd, June 2017.  During their two-week trip, they will get the opportunity to experience the Chinese culture, get exposed to the latest in ICT technologies and trends, and gain some valuable work experience at the Huawei’s Technologies headquarters.

Hon. John Muyingo thanked the Chinese government and Huawei Technologies for providing this opportunity to the winners and urged them to be well behaved during this trip since they are representing Uganda abroad. Representing Makerere University will be Mr. Daniel Mutembesa, Ms. Godliver Owomugisha, and Mr. George Joseph Serunjogi. All three are currently Master’s students at the College of Computing and Information Sciences and are also part of the Artificial Intelligence research lab (AI Lab).

The other seven winners are Mr. Jonathan Kigozi (Muni University), Ms. Maria Mwanje (Mbarara University of Science and Technology), Mr. Francis Bukenya (Busitema University), Ms. Hellen Nakayiza and Mr. Marvin Ggaliwango (Lira University), Ms. Sharon Lalam (Gulu University), and Ms. Maria Angela Namuleme (Kyambogo University).

The College of Computing and Information Science hosted Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd Uganda that was launching the second edition of its Seeds for the Future program 2017. The guest of honor at the launch was the Hon. Frank Tumwebaze (Minister of ICT and National Guidance) accompanied by Mr. Chu Mao Ming (Deputy Chief of Mission Chinese Embassy to Uganda), Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (DVC, F & A, Makerere University), Mr. Patrick Muinda (Assistant Commissioner, Communications and Information Management, Ministry of Education and Sports Association), Assoc. Prof. G. Maiga (Ag. Principal, CoCIS), and Dr. G. Kiyingi (Dean, EASLIS).

All invited guests were first given a brief about the program that was initially launched in 2016 and saw 10 ICT students get the opportunity to experience the Chinese culture when they travelled to Beijing and Shenzhen. In addition to the culture they were also exposed to the latest technologies, best ICT educational practices, and gained some valuable work experience at the Huawei’s headquarters.

During his speech, the Hon. Frank Tumwebaze thanked Huawei for its Seeds for the Future 2017 initiative that is contributing to the ICT industry in Uganda in terms addressing unemployment, improving the skills of Uganda’s IT professionals etc.

Stanley Chyn (Managing Director, Huawei Uganda) mentioned that the objective for Seeds for the Future 2017 was to select another 10 students for the program and of the 35 that participated in the selection process several were from Makerere University, Kyambogo University, Muni University etc.

A College team that comprised of several heads of department met with Ms. Teresa Mbagaya (Microsoft Education Lead, East & Southern Africa - ‎Microsoft) to discuss how the College and Microsoft can revive their existing partnership and embrace some of the new Microsoft initiatives.

Some of the initiative discussed during the meeting were the on;

  1. Implementing the Microsoft Education Transformation in Higher Education at Makerere University, College of Computing and IS as a pilot project.
  2. Reviving the College’s participation in the Imagine Cup which they previously won three years in a row (i.e. 2012, 2013, and 2014). The Cup is a competition that bring together ICT students from all over the world to display their innovations that critical address issues of the world today.
  3. Setting up of an Imagine Academy in Uganda that can make us more relevant to the ever-changing digital world.
  4. Applying Microsoft technologies across all the learning trajectories with Office 365 as well as azure (a collection of integrated cloud services that developers and IT professionals can use to build, deploy, and manage applications).

All the initiatives were well received and appreciated by the College team and they promised that the College will have students to participate in the Imagine Cup 2017.

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