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HAPPENING NOW: UCC moves to raise ICT awareness for southwestern Uganda PWDs, PSNs

Stakeholders during the ongoing regional workshops on increasing navigability and effectiveness of education of people with special needs (PSNs/PWDs) through assertive technology. (PHOTO/Javira Ssebwami)

MBARARA – The third of 4 regional workshop on increasing navigability and effectiveness of education of People with Special Needs through Assistive Technologies is underway at Audit Mall, Mbarara municipality.

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) through RCDF is engaging stakeholders including DEOs, school heads among others to raise awareness and take action on the usage of ICT in education for people with disabilities.

Col. James Mwesigye, the Mbarara RDC is presiding over the workshop. (PHOTO/Javira Ssebwami)

The workshop is part of the Commission’s strategy to work towards the removal of barriers to ICT access and to support PWDs through ICTs that might enable them to participate fully and equally in all aspects of modern Ugandan life.

The workshop arose from a UCC baseline study of 2018, which sought to establish the extent and patterns of access and usage of Information and Communication Technologies by Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Uganda, as well as the challenges faced.

From the findings, it was agreed that a sensitization workshop for People with Special Needs (PSNs), leaders and other stakeholders was necessary to help address some of the cited challenges, especially in education, by increasing awareness on assistive technologies.

And so UCC, through the Rural Communications Development Fund (RCDF), has since conducted three of 4 regional workshop on increasing navigability and effectiveness of education of People with Special Needs through Assistive Technologies in Gulu, Mbale and Mbarara.

Ministry of Education officials, including District Education Officers, inspectors of schools, headteachers of special needs schools and institutions supporting PSNs were some of the stakeholders are in attendance in a workshop underway at Audit Mall, Mbarara Municipality.

Mr. Simon Bugaba, the head of UCC regional offices, says the workshop is conceived to build awareness, expand digital literacy, finance the acquisition of devices and software, and provide technical support for the use of ICTs among People with Special Needs (PSNs).

Daniel Odoch has called on government to increase funding. (Javira Ssebwami)

Daniel Odoch, a special needs instructor, Board Member at Oysters and Pearls also a teacher at Gulu High School in Gulu District, has urged government/UCC to increase the grant given to schools to ease procurement of necessary equipment for the learners.

He says many learners with disabilities in schools will miss out on life-changing education opportunities because the grant is too small to enable them buy braille, build rams, among other equipment to support learners with disabilities.

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