Students of St. Daniel ComboniPolytechnic in the North Eastern district of Moroto are set to benefit from a fully furnished ICT lab courtesy of the MTN Foundation in partnership with the Belgian development agency, Enabel.
The MTN Uganda Foundation which isthe corporate social responsibility arm of MTN Uganda, in partnership with Enabel, a bilateral agency that implements and coordinates the international development policy of Belgiumhave extended support to vocational institutes through the provision of computers and fast internet connection. This is expected to partly contribute to the fulfillment of the aspirations of the 10-year BTVET strategic plan called “Skilling Uganda” and ultimately result in the equipping of youth with the skills needed for employment and job creation in order to eradicate poverty.
The laboratory whose equipment cost 64 million shillings will also support and provide educational services to students from neighboring communities. MTN Uganda renovated and repainted the laboratory, donated 10 computers connected to high speed internet connectivity and a digital learning platform.
Other beneficiaries include; St Simon Peter’s Vocational Training Center in Hoima and Amelo Technical Institute in Adjumani district which were refurbished andcommissioned last year. The entire project for the three ICT labs cost 192 million shillings.
Speaking at the commissioning of the laboratory at St. Daniel Comboni Polytechnic in Moroto, Mr. Wim Vanhelleputte, the Chief Executive Officer MTN Uganda said that: “The aim is to skill Ugandan youth for the 21st century job market by enabling them to access technical and vocational information online through open education resources for skills development.”
Vanhelleputte further noted that the decision to support vocational institutions was based on the fact that vocational training was found to be an effective way of addressing unemployment, which is a major issue for the youth in Uganda today.
The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to Uganda H.E Rudi Veestraeten noted that his country and Ireland have close to 5 years heavily invested in skills development through supporting the implementation of the skilling Uganda strategic plan. The laboratory, he said, will address some of the challenges that vocationalinstitutes currently face.
“Although ICT has been formally integrated into the Business, Technical, Vocational Education and Training curriculum, Vocational Institutes lack general computer equipment, trained ICT staff and ICT content and programmes,” he said.
The Director for Higher Education at the Ministry of Education and Sports, Mr. Oceng Odok Robertlauded MTN Uganda and Enabel for supporting government initiatives through supporting the education sector.
“As we are all aware, today, the role of ICTs in education cannot be under estimated. ICTs play a critical role of shaping the desirable 21st century work and life skills,” he said.
Fr. Jude Kiggala, the Principal of the Institute said the laboratory will enable themto embrace modern technology to keep up with the ever-evolving trend so as to provide a workforce befitting the 21st century.
“Instructors will usethe lab to source information to better the quality of their trainings, understand the latest trends in their respective fields then align their trainings accordingly.” Fr. Kiggala said.