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Low Internet Access Affects ICT Classes in Uganda

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low internet access affects ict classes in uganda
low internet access affects ict classes in uganda
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In today’s digital age, the internet plays a crucial role in transforming how people live, communicate, and conduct business. It breaks down geographical boundaries, connecting individuals, ideas, and cultures on a global scale.

However, in Uganda, where rapid technological advancements are reshaping society, there are challenges related to internet access that hinder the effective use of donated computers in schools. At the Uganda Internet Governance Forum 2023, held under the theme “The Internet We Want – Empowering Ugandans” on August 24 at the Sheraton Hotel, Mr. Tom Vanneste, the resident representative of Enabel Uganda, shed light on this issue.

According to Mr. Vanneste, donors have generously provided computers to schools, effectively creating “computer museums” in these institutions. However, the focus needs to shift towards raising awareness, empowering students and teachers, and providing access to internet devices and data to address this challenge.

“We need to empower the learners, teachers, and administrators on how to use these computers. A lot needs to be done, and we need to address the cost of devices and data,” said Mr. Vanneste. He highlighted that many schools face obstacles such as a shortage of instructors, lack of useful digital content, maintenance costs, and limited internet access.

Enabel also launched the “Digital Rights for Girls and Women” project at the event, aimed at empowering people in various regions of Uganda to harness internet opportunities.

Shirley Gladys Nakyejwe, a senior ICT officer at the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, emphasized the importance of equipping the younger generation with digital skills. She pointed out that ICT has become an enabler in learning, urging the integration of ICT into the education system to unlock its benefits.

Ms. Nakyejwe noted that ICT contributes significantly to Uganda’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), accounting for over nine percent of the national revenue. This growth is the result of government and private sector efforts to expand infrastructure and e-services.

Despite this progress, there remains room for growth in computer programming and the ICT trade and manufacturing industries, as per the National Planning Authority (NPA).

Gloria Katuuku, the manager of planning strategy and performance at NITA-U, emphasized the government’s commitment to providing affordable internet access to all citizens, with initiatives like the National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) and the UG-Hub for online government services.

Joshua Mpairwe, the president of the Internet Society Uganda Chapter, highlighted the importance of internet policies and regulations, including the Data Protection and Privacy Act 2019 and the Computer Misuse Act 2022. He stressed the need to educate and engage young people to address cybersecurity threats effectively.

Innocent Adriko, the coordinator of the Uganda Youth Internet Governance Forum, expressed concerns about the slow adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) education in learning institutions. He called for greater integration of AI into the education system.