The MIT (Masters in Information Technology) Carnegie supported Programme has been visiting Makerere University every month of June for the last five years. The programme was made to build capacity within sub-Saharan African countries to empower the next generation of Library and Information professionals. With this knowledge and skills that apply modern Information Communication and Technology (ICT), they will be able to support Academics and research in Africa.
The Principal, Assoc. Prof. Constant Okello Obura opened the workshop and welcomed all the participants to Uganda and Makerere University. The Principal advised them to be keen and not be tricked when shopping with an inflated currency and assured them of the political peace within the country. He further encouraged them to focus on what is important, cooperate with supervisors and try their best to complete their course within three years.
Some of the presentations made by the Masters students included: Digitizing Collection of Data for Buganda Kingdom presented by Patrick Sekikome, Digitizing University of Ghana Library Systems, presented by Kwesi Sewe, Designing a Repository Service for University of Bagamoyo, Tanzania, presented by Pantaleo Masawe. How Libraries can use Mobile Technology to provide Agricultural Information, presented by Fredric from University of Venda, Zimbambwe.
Applications are accepted only from Carnegie partner institutions and countries. These include; South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania and Ghana. However, anyone may apply for this course, considering that all fees should be paid by the student or the university. Twenty prospective students are selected every year for admission into the fully funded programme in addition to possible non-funded students. Selection is based on previous education, work experience and the strength of submitted portfolios.
Applicants must meet the basic requirements which include; at least an Honors degree in Library and Information Sciences, a Masters in Library and Information Science degree or equivalent degree from a reputable University; younger than 45 years of age, past academic performance; proficiency in English; work experience; current job description and responsibilities; a recommendation letter from the current employer and commitment from the current employer that they will make time available for the employee to focus on his/her studies, including visits to the University of Pretoria.
Makerere University, College of Computing and IS hosted the Data science Summer School from 27TH June to 29th June 2016. The workshop targeted graduate students, researchers and professionals working with huge amounts of data or unique datasets.
The Summer school focuses on introductory and advanced learners in Data science and Machine learning as well as moderate to advanced practical and tutorial sessions where participants engage with datasets applying Machine learning techniques to derive inference for data.
The lecturers were given by distinguished world renowned researchers and practitioners from Sheffield University, IBM Research, Facebook, Global Pulse Lab (Kampala) and the AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Research Data Science Lab at Makerere University. To benefit from this course, participants were encouraged to have some background in programming particularly with Python.
Dr. Mike Smith from Sheffield University lectured on Classification and specialized on Acute Malnutrition Screening in order to determine people that have severe malnutrition. He also used the Mid-Upper-Arm Circumference (MUAC) and the Weight for Height Z-score (WHZ) methods to determine malnutrition.
Data science seeks to exploit advances in machine learning and statistics to make sense of the growing amounts of data available from various sources. In Africa, a number of problems in areas such as healthcare, agriculture, disaster response and wildlife conservation would benefit greatly if domain experts were exposed to data science techniques. These skills would allow practitioners to extract useful information from these abundant sources of raw data
The College of Computing and information Science hosted a Cisco African Networking Academy Safari from 28th to 29th June, 2016. The workshop was aimed at updating Cisco instructors in Uganda on the new curriculum developments, Cisco guidelines and Report analysis and addressing the challenges faced by Cisco Networking Academy’s in Uganda.
The Principal of the College of Computing and Information Science; Assoc. Prof. Constant Okello – Obura welcomed the Cisco Systems delegation and participants to Makerere University. He emphasized that innovation was the key blood of the College which are exhibited annually. Prof. Obura cited that ICT is very useful in addressing challenges faced in the world and the College was committed to this purpose. The Principal noted that there was need to ensure students numbers are equivalent to what Cisco academy’s can sustain to ensure quality of the Cisco courses.
Mr. Paul Bakaki, the Head of the Centre for Innovations and Professional Skills Development reemphasized the role of the College on offering global computing skills to students. “As the centre for training and information, we not only train students but have a testing centre that offers global examinations.” Mr. Bakaki said.
Ms. Hital Muraj, the Corporate Affairs Manager Cisco Systems in East, Central and Southern Africa congratulated the partner institutions and instructors for the high enrollment rate in Uganda but noted that Kenya and Nigeria were overtaking Uganda. She also emphasized on the quality of graduates and advised instructors not to issue certificates to students who did not do the class assessments, quizzes or an online exams. Instructors were advised to upgrade through regular retooling and retraining to get certified as Cisco instructors. Cisco Systems is also planning on enrolling High School students in the programme to develop an early interest in ICT.
The College Academic Registrar, Mr. Patrick Feni,assured the instructors that the Cisco programme was accredited by the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) and it was equated to a diploma. He encouraged the instructors to develop their institution by offering quality education and encouraged them to preach the gospel of Cisco.
Mr. Serges Nanfack from the Cisco Technical team provided the updates from Cisco Systems and Cisco curriculum. He also conducted an Internet of Everything (IOE) practical for instructors on a Smart Farming Project (to measure soil moisture) and a Smart Students Park (system that can switch lights on when there is darkness and turn off when there is light).
The outstanding instructors were awarded certificates at the Cisco dinner. Barbra Nalubega (Makerere University) was awarded as a Trainer of instructors. Esther Wabule (International University of East Africa) was awarded as the best in Women and Networking. Laso Mubiru
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