Sunday, June 01, 2014 

Ugandan school soaks up e-Learning

CONCENTRATION: Earlier this year, Gayaza students of won $15,000 in a Microsoft competition that promoted innovations in education.

KAMPALA, Uganda - Gayaza High School, a girls’ institution with a long history of excellence last week, showcased their e-Learning centre that will integrate classroom study with technology.

Ronald Ddungu, the Deputy Head Teacher said they have adopted an inclusive approach to e-Learning where teachers have actively integrated technology into teaching. 

Students can now access class notes, homework and carry out research in a timely manner to further compliment the education curriculum in Uganda.

Ddungu said the e-Learning initiative has already enabled Gayaza High School to win $15,000 for having one of the most innovative worldwide ideas during this year’s Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Barcelona, Spain during March.

 “The use of technology in schools in Uganda will help improve the delivery of the curriculum. Gayaza High School will work closely with other schools and mentor their teachers in adopting the use of technology in their work,” Ddungu said.

During a recent tour of the school, Mark East, General Manager of Global Sales and Operations at Microsoft, said: “The government of Uganda needs to set a policy and infrastructure for schools to access internet and technology because Information Technology is a tool that each student needs to have a right to.’

He said, “Teachers, like those in Gayaza, need to learn how to effectively integrate ICT into their curriculum and classrooms. It helps create immersive learning experiences that improve students’ experiences and skills through technology.”

He said Microsoft’s approach to e-Learning is a not a one-device-fits-all solution. With access to ICT in schools still unevenly distributed, schools across Uganda are at different levels of implementing e-Learning programs and therefore have different needs. “For instance, there is a high teacher absenteeism rate in Uganda, as reported by the BBC, meaning that 40% of public school classrooms don’t have teachers teaching in them,” he said.

The company recently launched the Microsoft 4Afrika Virtual Academy, which delivers free IT training from Microsoft experts, and covers topics such as app development, coding, business intelligence and virtualisation.

Microsoft plans to continue delivering relevant, effective and scalable technologies, services and programs. As eLearning progresses in Africa, the company looks forward to focusing the contributions of many on improved learning outcomes for all.

By Paul Tentena, Sunday, June 01st, 2014