LUGOGO – The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has challenged the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) to spearhead the utilization of Information and Communications Technologies-led innovation in universities and other institutions of higher learning.
The call was made by UCC Executive Director, Godfrey Mutabazi who also made a keynote address at the 1st Annual Conference on Higher Education at Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) show ground in Lugogo under the theme; “Mainstreaming Information and Communication Technology in Research, Higher Education Delivery, and Management.
He said that universities should emulate this development to produce similar ICT-inspired graduates as well as improve its research and education outputs since Uganda, like many developing economies, is making great strides in embracing ICT and technological innovations for socio-economic development.
The move according to him, will help to shape the future and “the thinking of our people; and drive greater ICT integration in our curriculum, system, and lives so that the products of our education system are competitive with the rest of the world. “
“Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) are not merely a communication tool anymore but are growing to become the foundation upon which our lives depend., he noted adding that “We do not only have everything going online, but we see that technology is being integrated into everything in our daily lives – processes, tools, – the list is endless.”
Mr. Mutabazi noted that in Uganda, ICTs, from the simple feature phone to the new technologies associated with the 4IR, do present vast transformative opportunities in almost every sector of the country’s economy – agriculture, education, health, trade, and industry.
On values, Mr. Mutabazi said that Ugandans should be optimistic and proud of the inventions and technological advancement and “we have more opportunities than ever before to do more, discover more, learn more, create more and transform a whole new world but be mindful of the choices “we make.”
“We are on the precipice of a significant shift for our world. There is going to be more computing power added to us sooner than later. The technologies of this digital age facilitate anticipatory and algorithmic working that turn big data and algorithms into sustainable development solutions,” he said adding that “through the internet, telecommunications in Uganda has made access to information and knowledge affordable and more accessible to many.”
“I ought to point out that information and technology influence human nature and human existence. They impact how we behave, how machines interact with each other, how atoms may or may not interact, and how organisms beyond and within us interact. Universities such as MIT, Harvard, Columbia, and Stanford are all leading institutions partly because of their emphasis on ICT-led innovations. They offer online courses for continuing education and allow people to work and study. They have also embraced current techniques like Big data analytics and artificial intelligence to improve retention, enhance the student experience and make the institutions themselves more productive,” he added.
UCC, as the regulator of the communications sector in Uganda, has been engaged in promoting research into ICT development and use through different avenues such as Annual Communications Innovations Award (ACIA) and the Rural Communications Development Fund (RCDF).