The Indian government is planning to establish three educational institutions in Uganda that will act as hub institutions for the rest of the East African region.
These will include the India-Africa institute of foreign trade, a food processing incubation centre and the Makerere testing laboratory. This was revealed by the representative of the Indian High Commissioner to Uganda as 275 Ugandan students, under the Pan African E-Network project, received certificates of completion of master’s, bachelor’s and post graduate diploma courses at the Amity University of India.
“We believe that these projects will help Ugandans to acquire developmental skills. As India, we cherish teaching people how to fish rather than giving them fish,” he said.
He said Uganda being an agricultural state needs to improve its capacities and this can be done by skilling people on foreign trade as well as value addition to the agricultural products. The revelation was well received by the minister for Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Ruhakana Rugunda, who appreciated India’s continued commitment to supporting development projects in Uganda.
Rugunda also appreciated Makerere University for championing IT initiatives in Uganda.
“Uganda and India share a similar colonial and post-colonial history but because India prioritises education and IT, they have progressed faster,” he said.
To promote e-education, Rugunda said, the ministry is reviewing the National ICT policy framework which among others, provides for an e-learning strategy that will help streamline such initiatives.
In 2009, Uganda signed a five-year deal with India towards the implementation of the Pan African e-network project in Uganda. The three components of this project comprised of tele-education (housed at Makerere ICT), tele-medicine (Mulago) and Very Very Important Communications [VVIC] (at state house).
For the tele-education component, Makerere University serves as the regional centre. With funding from India, a well-equipped video conferencing laboratory was established at the college of Computing and Information sciences, which the students have utilised to conduct online lessons with teachers from India.
With the Indian government catering for the infrastructural costs and tutorials, pioneer students enjoyed a subsidised education where bachelor’s students paid only Shs 350,000 per semester and master’s students paid Shs 500,000 per semester. This year, 275 students, up from 44 last year, graduated in the disciplines of Information Technology, Business Administration, Finance Control and IT.
Though this deal expires next year, Rugunda advised Makerere to find possible ways of maintaining this prestigious project.
“I implore you to identify means of continuity in order to reap gainfully from the infrastructure that has already been established,” he said.
Ugandans come on top
At every graduation, it is Amity University’s policy to give out medals to the three top students in respective courses. Like last year, Ugandan students displayed great academic brilliance and trounced their African counterparts, winning six medals.
Morris Ojok was the best bachelor’s student overall, winning himself a gold medal while Justin Katwesigye and Augustine Kisitu won the silver and bronze respectively. For the master’s group, Paul Ssenyonjo was the gold medallist with Alice Nabisubi and Moses Ssimbwa taking silver and bronze respectively.