More students from rural areas can now access reliable Internet services thanks to the intervention of Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), through the Rural Communication Development Fund (RCDF).

This follows the Northern Uganda regional launch of the second phase of the school connectivity project under which academic institutions are supported with reliable internet services to improve the quality of education in rural schools.

Addressing a gathering of mostly school heads at the event in Gulu last week, Mr. Nyombi Thembo, the Director RCDF, said the project aims to empower students in rural areas through modern teaching methods such as e-learning, as well as ICT integration in teaching and research.

“We are launching the school connectivity project of the second phase, where we are connecting one hundred schools (100) to the Internet, delivering to them a dedicated Internet link of 5mbps,” he said.

The first phase, which saw 800 schools connected, only delivered a dedicated Internet link of 256kbps.

According to heads of schools we spoke to, the first phase yielded mixed results.

“After we stopped paying for bandwidth, most of the schools couldn’t afford to pay. So the project didn’t do as well as we wanted,” Nyombi admitted. He explained that this time round the project has been redesigned after learning from the first phase.

Nyombi added that schools are now able to pay for bandwidth because Internet costs have reduced by more than 10 times since the first phase was implemented. School heads and teachers have also been sensitized more about the need for ICT in education.

To ensure lasting impact, RCDF has designed a three-year exit strategy under which it plans to progressively drawdown its support from 100% to 70% to 50% of the total cost of bandwidth, as it prepares beneficiary schools to eventually absorb the total costs.

These changes, Nyombi said, will improve the sustainability of the project. Under this project, the government has so far connected 90 percent of secondary schools with computer laboratories and the Internet, and is moving to consider primary schools.

UCC currently works with Research and Education Network for Uganda (RENU) to deliver faster and more reliable internet connections, empower teachers through technology while improving the quality of teaching for learners.

“What if you are a rural school in Uganda and get 5mbps Internet connection and 40 computers? How will teaching and learning change,” asked Kalema Golooba, an ICT expert who spoke at the event. “This is the question head teachers from Northern Uganda whose schools have been selected to get high speed internet by UCC are grappling with.”

Describing it as a great opportunity for schools in Uganda, Golooba added: “There is work to do in capacitating teachers, sensitizing leaders and generating high quality digital content to realize the dream – technology fused into all the operations of schools, so deeply integrated that it becomes invisible.”

The main goal of the one-day event was to sensitise head teachers and heads of ICT departments in the beneficiary schools to understand their role in the success of the project.

Sister Grace Achiro, the head teacher Ediofe Girls SS in Arua District, a school that boasts of 61 working computers all obtained through UCC assistance, was declared the best in ensuring project sustainability.

“That time (2012) we had power problems but now we are able to use the computers almost every day,” said Sr. Achiro whose school has 800 students.

Mandated to promote the development of communications infrastructure in the country, among other roles, UCC has over the years worked through the RCDF to support schools in the rural areas to leverage ICTs in the learning process.

Following last week’s Northern Uganda regional launch, the second phase of the school connectivity project was launched in Mbale on Wednesday, July 24, 2019. The Western Uganda launch will take place in Mbarara on August 31, 2019, and lastly Kampala on September 8, 2019.

List of schools for Phase 1 for the internet connectivity project

School District Region
1 Bukoli College Bugiri East
2 Kyotera Central Sec. School Kyotera Central
3 Ediofe Girls Secondary School Arua North
4 Sseke S.S Lwengo West
5 St Mary Nkozi  S.S Masaka Central
6 Kansanga Seed Secondary School Kampala Central
7 Mbale Secondary School Mbale East
8 Tororo Girls Sec. School Tororo East
9 Iganga Secondary School Iganga East
10 Manjasi High School Tororo East
11 Lango College Lira North
12 Gulu Army Secondary School Gulu North
13 St. Henry’s college, Kitovu Masaka Central
14 Masaka Secondary School Masaka Central
15 St. Leo’s Kyegobe Sec. School Fortportal West
16 Ntare School Mbarara West
17 Kigezi High School Kabale West
18 MaryHill High School Mbarara West
19 Mbarara High School Mbarara West
20 Jinja S.S.S Jinja East
21 PMM Girls School Jinja East
22 Ndejje Senior Secondary School Kampala Central
23 Kibuli Secondary School Kampala Central  
24 Makerere College School Kampala Central  
25 Kitante Hill Shool Kampala Central  
26 Nabisunsa Girls School Kampala Central  
27 Gayaza High School Kampala Central  
28 Mt. St. Mary’s, Namagunga Kampala Central  
29 St.Mary’s College Kisubi Kampala Central  
30 Trinity College Nabbingo Kampala Central  
31 Arua S.S Arua North  
32 Kongunga H.S Bukedea East  
33 St Josephs College Layibi Gulu North  
34 Kabale S.S Kabale West  
35 Mengo Senior School Kampala Central  
36 Kasese S.S Kasese West  
37 Wampewo Ntakke S.S Wakiso Central  
38 St Marys College Rushoroza Kabale West  
39 Mbale High School Mbale East  
40 Busia S.S Busia East  
41 Bishop’s Senior School Mukono Mukono Central  
42 Gulu High School Gulu North  
43 Arua Public Secondary School Arua North  
44 Lira Town College Lira North  
45 Bukedea Comprehensive Academy Bukede East  
46 Iganga High School Iganga East  
47 Jinja College Jinja East  
48 Ngabo Academy Mbarara West  
49 Duhaga S.S Hoima North  
50 Ruyonza School Bushenyi West  
51 Ishaka Adventist College Bushenyi West  
52 Masindi S.S Masindi North  
53 Muni Girls Arua North  
54 Kako S.S Masaka Central  
55 Luzira S.S Kampala Central  
56 Bbezza AlHijji Muslim Secondary School Adjumani North  
57 Albertine Vocational Institute Masindi North  
58 Busia Teacher’s College Busia East  
59 St. Thereza girls Vocational Sec. Sch. Kabale West  
60 Kizinga Technical Institute Kabale West  
61 St. Aloysius AC Kitanga Kabale West  
62 Buganda Royal Institute Kampala Central  
63 Kitagwenda Technical Institute Ibanda West  
64 Kambuga Secondary school Kanungu West  
65 Saad Mem Secondary School Kasese West  
66 Nyakiyumbu Secondary School Kasese West  
67 Metropolitan International University Kisoro West  
68 Wekomiire Secondary School Kyegegwa West  
69 St. Elizabeth Girls School, Mityana Mityana Central  
70 Kabamba Military academy Mubende Central  
71 Ngora High School Soroti East  
72 Vision Secondary School Kisoro West  
73 Kabira Techinical Institute Bushenyi West  
74 Nyabiteete Secondary School Rukungiri West  
75 Butsibo Secondary School Kabwohe West  
76 Akwang SS Pader North  
77 Rwamwanja S.S Kibale West  
78 Galilaya Secondary School Kayunga East  
79 Millennium SS Kamapala Central  
80 Kwosir Girls Boarding Secondary School Arua North  
81 St. Michael Girls Secondary School Kaproron Kapchorwa East  
82 Nkooko Memorial Technical Mayuge East  
83 Bufulubi SS Mayuge East  
84 Bukabooli Seed Secondary School Mayuge East  
85 Mulasti Secondary School Mayuge East  
86 Cardinal Nsubuga Mem. Kitakyusa Mpigi Central  
87 Mubende Light Secondary School Mubende Central  
88 Highway Secondary School, Kiganda Mityana Central  
89 Kyanamugera C.O.U Community Primary Sch. Mubende Central  
90 Kabbo Secondary School Mubende Central  
91 Semuto Secondary School Nakaseke Central  
92 Bukuuku Community School Fortportal West  
93 Kateta Hill View S.S Serere East  
94 Kanyaryeeru Secondary School Kiruhura West  
95 St Charles lwanga Kashenshero Masaka Central  
96 Bihaga Secondary School Masindi North  
97 Bwiza Secondary School Kamwenge North  
98 St Herman Secondary School Rakai Central  
99 Buwaabe Community Centre Iganga East  
100 Ogur Seconadry School Lira North  
101 St. Mugagga Secondary School Mityana Central  


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