The Minister of Science, ambulance Technology and Innovation Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye has called for a review of the current education curriculum to incorporate coding and programing for students in secondary schools.
He said that Uganda is still lagging behind in the area of innovation due to lack of basic computing knowledge among learners. Dr. Elioda was Monday opening a 3 day conference for Free Open Source Data at Speke Resort Munyonyo.
“Innovation is critical in advancing Uganda’s development agenda. However in order to achieve this, more about Students need to be exposed to the knowledge of coding and programing like it’s being done elsewhere in the word,” the Minister told participants.
He noted that technocrats from the Ministry of Innovations are engaging the Education Ministry to ensure that their recommendations are considered in the ongoing review of the curriculum.
“Now that A’Level students study computer science, they should have an option for programing even if it is not examinable. Also, government needs to procure land for the creation of technology skills development centers and incubation areas in all municipalities
“This will go a long way in giving a favorable opportunity to those young people in rural areas who are disadvantaged in terms of facilities.”
He urged innovators to give priority to developing solutions for local problems.
According to Eng. James Saaka the Executive Director National Information Training Association (NITA-U), the forum will bring together policy makers, developers, academia, innovators and service providers to exchange ideas on leveraging on open source for local software development.
The conference is themed; ‘Open source solutions for open government and open data in Africa’.
“Government won’t manage to develop more online software since it is very costly. Free open source thus creates an opportunity,” he said.
He revealed plans to have free WiFi hotspots within the central business district of Kampala for whoever requires to use the internet in the evening beginning October.
While government reiterates its commitment to boost innovation, Uganda’s internet bandwidth which remains highest compared to Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda could be a significant derailment.
Despite other challenges in IT infrastructure, mentorship and intellectual rights, the private sector is still paying a leading role especially by establishing incubating hubs such as Outbox, Resilient Africa Network Hive Colab among others.