A few months from now, delegates from all over Africa and the world will convene in Kampala, Uganda, to discuss and share the very best in African ICT, education and innovation at eLearning Africa. In the run-up to the Conference, the News Service will be taking a close look at our host country and sharing its stories with you. Welcome to the first episode of the Uganda News Review!
Each week we’ll scan the Ugandan and global press for fresh insights into Uganda’s thriving eLearning scene, bringing you a diverse selection of reports on recent developments, education, ICT and everything in between.
Ugandan news in brief: 190 MPs back Yoweri Museveni as NRM presidential candidate for 2016 (Monitor) though only after withstanding a challenge from his premier (Observer) ++++ As Museveni delays his decision on the anti-homosexuality bill, gays and lesbians in Kenya demonstrate before the Ugandan embassy (Independent) ++++ Following claims of indiscipline and misconduct, Uganda’s police are to receive human rights training (Monitor) ++++ Agriculture and industry: coffee exports reach a six month high (Bloomberg) and oil firms sign a MoU with the government to develop Uganda’s fossil fuel resources (East Africa Business Week)
The top technology and education stories:
ARTS: the arts are a hugely valuable informal learning resource. In Uganda, as the Observer reports, songs and poems have been used to teach about “HIV/AIDS, domestic violence, child abuse and alcoholism”. 2011 UNESCO research concluded that they emphasise social inclusion and cultural diversity – which is why the general perception in Uganda of the arts as a hobby for an elite few must be challenged.
EQUALITY: Godliver Businge was the only female graduate in Civil Engineering from St Joseph’s Technical Institute, Kisubi, in 2012. She was also top of the class. Here she is interviewed for Thomson Reuters about her work empowering other Ugandan women to become financially independent.
TRAINING: Uganda gains most of its electricity from the Nile dams – but only 8.5% of the population have access to it. Electricity Chief Dr Stephen Robert Isabalija, quoted in New Vision, puts this down to a lack of technicians caused by the education system’s neglect of vocational training. To counter this, the Uganda Electricity Generation Co. Ltd. is moving offices to make way for a brand new training centre.
SOLAR: despite very low electricity penetration and unreliable power supply, there’s widespread suspicion of solar power in the Ugandan marketplace, caused by the proliferation of fake or poor-quality panels that can’t withstand temperatures above 25°C. However, with the construction of a solar assembly plant in Kampala, this is set to change, as New Vision reports.
And it’s not just big business that is kickstarting renewable energy in Uganda: Ars Technica writes about manufacturer Simon Lule, who has started making solar lamps by hand in his Kampala workshop. His technology has no running costs and is priced at $12 – a one-off payment equivalent to just two months’ fuel for a kerosene lamp. And aside from the financial benefit, they should help reduce the risk of lung diseases too.
TECH: Uganda Wildlife Authority is in the market for a couple of drones, The Africa Report writes. The unmanned flying vehicles – cause of some of modern warfare’s most heated controversy – will patrol the country’s national parks on the look-out for poachers.