Huawei, Makerere promote schools ICT innovation
By Omondi Julius Odera, Kampala, Uganda
Huawei has partnered with Makerere University’s College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology to promote local ICT talent from the secondary school level through sponsoring of the Science and Technology Innovations Challenge. This was announced during the grand challenge, which had seven schools each with a team of six students.
“Our sponsoring the Innovations Challenge shows our commitment to support the young innovators from the early stage of their education which is crucial in defining their future to enhance the advancement of localized content, and home bred technologies,” said Eric Yang, CEO of Huawei’s Uganda Representative office. He added that the future of emerging economies like Uganda lay in the effective nurturing of innovative young minds toward acquiring the requisite technical competence and skill in fields relevant to economic, social and technological development.
This year’s challenge was won by team St. Mary’s College Kisubi and the technology giant will build an E-lab for the school and pay tuition fees for the winning students. The E-lab will seek to provide a richer educational experience to students through exposure to high-end hands on technologies that facilitate appreciation of theoretical concepts aimed at addressing local needs.
In his speech, the permanent secretary for Information and Communication Technology, Dr. Jimmy Patrick Samanya, said that the challenge stimulates an active interest in science and technology amongst the secondary school students who are on the way to pursuing related careers and contributing to future ground-breaking innovations. “The competition will assist in providing innovative solutions that can be used to further improve service delivery by government, as well as create a channel for entrepreneurs with innovative ideas to be supported to commercialize their ideas,” he added.
The challenge, which is overseen by the ilabs@mak project, seeks to identify gifted students in computer programming. The competition has been going on since February has attracted many secondary schools from which the 7 finalists were drawn from various regions to compete in the grand challenge. It involves the Robotics Challenge, focusing on assembly and programming of real-life robotics to undertake meaningful tasks and the Mobile Phone Challenge, involving disassembling and re-assembly of a mobile phone.