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IDLEL 07 Conference

The IDLEL07 conference on Open Source solutions was held from 22nd to 24th August at Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort. The theme of the conference was Open source solutions for open government and open data in Africa. The primary goal of IDLELO7 is to increase the awareness, integration and adoption of free and open source software (FOSS) in Africa within the theme emphasizing how such Free and Open Source solutions are being used to achieve Open Data and Open Government frameworks. This entails promoting Open Source software sharing in Africa.

The speakers included; Hon. Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister for ICT and National Guidance. The minister said that the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance had prioritized research and innovation as one of the key areas of focus of the medium and long term. The minister also presented the ICT sector strategy and investment plan priorities innovation to create a systematic and enabling environment for the advancement of FOSS.

Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, the minister of Science, Technology and Innovation presented on the role of FOSS in fostering science related software to the real-world problems and research and development is essential, and the government was committed to this. He also said that Software Development is young but with a gross potential

Nnenna Nwakanma; the Africa Regional Director Web Foundation from Ghana also presented on Open data for sustainable Development in Africa. She shared the confluence of Open things – Open Governance, Open Data, Open Solutions and tasked Uganda to join Open Data Partnership. She also encouraged young people to go past developing apps to providing solutions, for local problems and encouraged women and girls get into ICT and innovation

Seun Ojedeji, a member of the Free and open source software foundation Africa (FOSSFA) recognized that NITA-U has a role in drafting the nationwide FOSS policies. He also recognized communities like; COSIS, ILICIT Africa, Outbox, UN Global Pulse Lab, Women of Uganda Network, Incubation Labs MUK. He also officially invited NITA-U to become a FOSSFA Member. Mr. Seun announced the host of IDLELO8 as Durban, South Africa.

Other speakers included Mr. James Saaka, the Executive director of the National Information Technology Authority-Uganda (NITA-U),Linnet Kwamboka, the CEO of Data Science Kenya, James Wire from CURED limited Uganda and Professor Patrick Mangeni, a former NITA-U board member.

The conference was organized by the Ministry of ICT and National guidance in partnership with NITA Uganda, Huawei, the Free and open source software foundation Africa (FOSSFA), Makerere University.

The National ICT Workshop for Secondary School Head Teachers was held from 10th to 11th August 2016 at the Makerere University Main Hall. The conference was organized by Makerere University, College of Computing and Information Science (CoCIS), the National Information Technology Authority - Uganda (NITA-U) and the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES). The training was meant to improve ICT skills and attitudes required of head teachers to effectively integrate ICT in education management and achievement of high quality imperatives of secondary school education in Uganda.

The workshop was presided over by several dignitaries namely; Prof. B. Nuwange, Deputy Vice Chancellor (F&A), Makerere University, Dr. A. Rwashana, Deputy Principal, CoCIS, Dr. R. Nassali Lukwago the Guest of Honor, Permanent Secretary MoES, Dr. Y. K. Nsubuga, Commissioner Secondary Education – MoES and Dr. Frederick Kitoogo, Director Planning, Research & Development, NITA (U).

The workshop intended to harness the potentials of ICT to achieve the goal of inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all. The workshop also provided a platform for high level policy dialogue and knowledge sharing on how to effectively and efficiently integrate ICTs into secondary education.

Dr. Nsubuga remarked that over 1037 computer labs will be constructed for Secondary schools under the UCC, MoES, and NITA (U) partnership and that retooling of 300 Secondary school teachers in ICT during the school holidays was currently underway. In addition, he encouraged teachers to register with the web portal built by MoES (www.tmins.go.ug)

The conference also focused on ICT policies for education, equipment’s and applications for school records and information management, ICT for teaching and learning in secondary schools, ICT capabilities in the classroom etc.

The workshop had approximately 45 Secondary school Head teacher’s in attendance from various districts namely Kampala, Gulu, Bushenyi, Masaka etc.

In conclusion, the conference and training workshop is to continue contributing in setting up students for success in an increasingly smart connected world with increasing and committed support from the partners that sponsored the workshop i.e. MoES, NITA (U), and CoCIS.

Prof. Constance Obura-Okello (Principal, College of Computing and IS) together with Mr. Bernard Kirk (Co-Founder, Africa Code Week), Dr. Jonathan Serugunda, (Lecturer, College of Engineering, Design, Art & Technology), and Mr. Paul Bakaki (HOD, Center for Innovations and Professional Skills Development) met to discuss the Africa Code Week initiative.

Africa Code Week (ACW) is an initiative to empower future generations with the coding tools and skills they need to thrive in the 21st century workforce and become key actors in Africa's economic development. In 2016 it is planned that for 1 week, 30 African countries will have 1000+ coding workshops involving 150,000 children and youths across the continent.

“In the knowledge sharing age we live in, skilled volunteering is the key for large-scale initiatives such as ACW”

Claire Gillessen-Duval; SAP, founding member and Global Lead ACW

The College of Computing and IS has been selected by Africa Code Week as a partner in this initiative to give some of its students the opportunity to participate this year. The programme itself is a half day workshop where students will participate alongside the 1500+ other students across Africa. The dates for ACW in Uganda are not yet finalized as well as the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the relevant partners.

The other Uganda partners; Makerere University, College of Engineering, Design, Art & Technology (CEDAT), ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) and Women In Technology Uganda (WITU) are delighted to bring ACW to Uganda and are look at tentative dates of October 15th – 23rd 2016 to implement and tackle the countries digital skills gap.

The Systems Modeling and Design workshop was held on 22nd to 26th August 2016 at Makerere University College of Computing & Information Sciences, Software Center. The workshop aimed at training staff to equip students in the School of Computing and Informatics Technology (SCIT) to deliver quality products as professionals and be more competitive in the market.

About 95% of the students at SCIT, both undergraduates and graduates, use UML as part of design in their projects. The staff needs to be able to supervise and examine these projects in a consistent manner. The training therefore aimed to improve the quality of teaching and assessment of final year projects.

UML is the most commonly used programming language for designing software systems. Good products must be delivered in a predictable manner, and UML provides the capability to analyze requirements, understand the product to be developed, and foster communication between stakeholders. The UML training code named ’Training of Trainers’ sought to equip teaching staff with refresher skills on design using UML so that students can also receive these practical skills

Teaching Staff of CoCIS and Universities in the region, including Kenya and Rwanda participated in the workshop. The trainer Mr. Roozbeh Mehrabadi is an experienced lecturer at the University of British Columbia in Canada. Tutorial sessions were held every day, with lectures in the morning sessions, and hands-on practical’s in the afternoon sessions. The training was fully sponsored by IEEE.

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