Walktrack Innovation Hub

I been very active in tech circles in Uganda for five years. This whole time I have been serving as at Lira Town College as a teacher(ICT), a fact that has no doubt made me appreciate the importance of education. I have seen parents sacrifice a lot for the education of their children. I have seen education remove barriers between the rich and the poor. I have seen my students rise up to challenge students from Makerere College School, Budo and Ntare, despite their different educational settings.

It is this desire to see my students succeed that gives me strength to pursue higher ambitions. I have hatched a plan to set up and innovation hub in Lira. We’ve had “hubs” in Kampala and we need one in Lira, except that we shall have a different approach. I want it to serve as a transition point between high school and campus. I want to partake in nurturing tomorrows tech leaders. I want to serve my community, and my country.

Over the years, my students have gone ahead to pursue Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Information Technology and other tech courses. It is ironical but again fulfilling to know that they draw their inspiration from me, while I also give the same inspiration. I do not want these efforts go to waste. Technology is now with us, and will very much be here with us in the future.

The road to it will to tough and to torturous, but we are determined to have Walktrack Innovation Hub. Download our proposal here: Walktrack Innovation Hub 2016

East African unions unite against scourge of education privatisation

Leaders of Education International affiliate organisations in East Africa gathered in Kampala, Uganda, to coordinate their response to the growing commercialisation and privatisation of education spreading across the continent.

The union leaders of Education International (EI) affiliates from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zanzibar shared their national experiences and developed a deeper understanding of EI’s Global Response to the growing commercialisation and privatisation of education. The meeting was held on 15-16 May in Kampala, and was sponsored by the Danish Union of Teachers (DLF).

National campaigns

The participants concluded that the commercialisation and privatisation of education is the greatest threat to the realisation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4: “inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. They pledged to return home with a renewed determination to develop and implement national campaigns aimed at exposing and reversing government policies which allow, facilitate and encourage commercialisation and privatisation of education.  A key objective of these national campaign plans will be to ensure that governments implement and enforce a legislative framework necessary to protect and advance the right of all students to free quality public education.

KNUT: Inequity of privatisation

“Privatisation is a cancer that must be removed from Africa,” said Wilson Sossion, General Secretary of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and President of EI’s Africa Regional Committee. “It represents an affront to the rights of children. It will drive and deepen inequity.”

UNATU: Commercialisation a ‘virus’

These views were echoed by Juliet Wajega, Deputy General Secretary of the Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU). She said commercialisation of education is a “virus” that is consuming education in Uganda and it is hindering the achievement of SDG 4, a prerequisite to achievement of all the SDG goals.  “As teacher unions, we must mobilise to encircle and paralyse this virus until we exterminate it.”

TTU: Build alliances

Yahaya Msulwa, General Secretary of Tanzania Teachers’ Union (TTU), recognised the size of the challenge and the influence of large global actors driving the commercialisation of education. He reminded leaders that they must build alliances with like-minded education stakeholders and national labour centres to strengthen their ability to lobby successfully in support of quality free public education for all.

ZATU: Underfunding of public education

Discussions also focused on the need for governments to fulfil their obligation to properly and adequately fund public education. In far too many instances, public schools are being starved of the resources they need to pave the way for privatisation. Daud Mussa Tafurwa Omar, General Secretary of the Zanzibar Teachers’ Union (ZATU), said: “The problem is public education is underfunded.  Consequently, there is poor infrastructure and a lack of teaching and learning materials in school. There is an insufficient number of teachers.”

Lack of political will

The union leaders rejected as hollow claims about a financing gap when it comes to funding quality education for all. Instead, they identified a lack of political will as the issue. They were appalled to learn that new statistics released by Oxfam International show that more money leaves Africa illegally than all the aid provided.

Angelo Gavrielatos, programme director for the Global Response underlined that tax loopholes and tax havens must be closed. “The international community must act to end this scourge which is denying Africa’s children the resources they need and deserve,” he said. Tax avoidance is depleting Africa of the revenue base required to ensure every child receives access to quality public education.

Article adapted from: https://www.ei-ie.org/en/news/news_details/3963

The people I look forward to

In Uganda today, many people seem to be disillusioned and living without hope. Many are toiling to daily bread in whichever means they can get it. The result is many dubious stories are ever present in our dailies every other day. Politics, corruption, ritual sacrifice, accidents, land slides, exams cheating and so on.

However, I have many people within Uganda who have risen above these circumstances and have many positive strides in my life. I look forward to them. They give me hope – hope that anyone can still make it big in Uganda. With good education, smart choices  and modest ethics, it is possible to be successful. Below are some of people who have provided me with lots of inspiration.

Charles Onyango Obbo: Currently working with Mail & Guardian in Nairobi, Kenya, Charles is a veteran journalist and media personality in Uganda. While working with Monitor in early 1990s, the man wrote very captivating stories, so much so that I developed much interest in Literature. In fact even now, I still look forward to Charles articles every Wednesday on Daily Monitor. His writings are just so insightful and refreshing for me.

Others include: Dr. Benedict Oyo of Gulu University,  Andrew M. Mwenda, CEO of the Independent Magazine. I will elaborate how they inspired later here.