While speaking at the Huawei’s smart education solutions for Africa exhibition in Johannesburg, South Africa on April 9th, 2022, the State Minister for Higher Education, Hon. JC Muyingo said that Uganda shall never again close its education institutions because of a pandemic due to technological advancement.
“With the education solutions I have seen at the Huawei exhibition hall, never again shall we close our education institutions because of a pandemic,” said Muyingo in his keynote speech.
While addressing the audience that had dignitaries such as the Minister of Communication and Digital technologies of South Africa Hon. Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of education Tanzania Hon. Eliamani Sedoyeka, Huawei Southern Africa President Mr. Chen Leo, and Director UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa Prof. Lidia Arthur Brito —JC Muyingo noted that the Covid-19 Pandemic presented the education sector with profound challenges, especially within developing countries including Uganda.
“15 million learners in Uganda were out of school for two years, and our education sector, like most countries around the world, was forced to rethink the delivery of education,” says Muyingo. “We were fully prepared for the move to online education delivery, a big lesson we learned and now aggressively addressing through a digital agenda strategy.”
Muyingo also noted that the government of Uganda is committed to upscaling and mainstreaming ICT in the delivery of education as a measure to facilitate not only improved delivery and make continued learning more interesting, but also to prepare for any eventualities in the future.
He noted that the Ministry of Education and Sports is working with the National Council of Higher Education (NCHE) and Higher Institutions of Learning to accredit technology initiatives for long-distance learning and smart education solutions.
“We requested our NCHE to work with our universities and accredit them to operate through Open and Distance e-Learning,” Muyingo explains. “Not all were able to operate during the Covid-19 lockdown, but many started building their capacity to offer online learning and to date, they have adopted and operated a multi-pronged approach to teaching and learning.” He concludes by saying, “I see an opportunity here for capacity building, and I request all of us here to come together, share ideas and make the best use of this innovation and experience to improve our chances of success for use of digital solutions now, and for any future disruptions of learning in our respective countries”
Muyingo thanked Huawei Technologies for supporting digitalization efforts in Uganda generally, and more specifically for the support to the ICT initiatives focusing on the education sector. “With the broad experience that Huawei has developed over the years, I am confident that this partnership can help us to find more innovative solutions to these challenges that we are facing.”
JC Muyingo also attended the Huawei ICT Competition Sub-Saharan Africa awards ceremony where he awarded three Uganda Students from Makerere University who emerged in the first position in Huawei ICT Competition Sub Saharan Africa 2021 having beaten 19 Countries and 36 teams across Africa.
President Museveni in his tweet made on April 10th, 2022 wrote “I congratulate the Makerere University students for winning the Huawei ICT Competition for Sub Saharan Africa having beaten 19 Countries & 36 teams. I call upon you to use these skills to innovate and create jobs for yourselves & others & wish you luck in the global competitions.’
President Museveni emphasized the government’s commitment to exploring options for revitalizing & strengthening Technical, Vocational Education, and Training (TVET) to provide demand-driven skills under the Skilling Uganda program that he launched in 2012 and the TVET Policy approved by Cabinet in 2019.
President Museveni further said the National Development Plan III gives priority to skills development & digital transformation as one of the key drivers of effective human capital development.
“I thank our Chinese friends, Huawei for this skilling program and look forward to its expansion to include more of our youth,” he concluded in his remarks.
Makerere University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe also in a tweet congratulated the Ugandan team and said, “Uganda’s flag was raised high again as Makerere University won the Huawei continental ICT competition, at a grand finale event that was held in South Africa.” “I congratulate the team on this great representation.”
During the award ceremony, Huawei also launched its LEAP skills development program to help advance the ICT skills of more than 100,000 people across the Sub-Saharan Africa region within three years.
The LEAP program, which stands for Leadership, Employability, Advancement, and Possibilities, is aimed at fostering stronger digital leadership and a skilled ICT workforce, building a digital talent pool, and promoting digital literacy among citizens. It includes a wide range of activities spanning from ICT training and certification courses to government digital capacity building and ICT skills competitions.