MAKERERE University has opened a computing and information technology centre to Makerere IT centre to link 100 universitiesdevelop local computer software.
MAKERERE University has opened a computing and information technology centre to develop local computer software.
The 12,000sq metre complex valued at over $20m is expected to connect over 100 universities in 13 African countries with India in e-education.
It is part of the Faculty of Computing and Information Communication Technology (ICT).
The ICT minister, Dr. Ham Mulira, represented President Yoweri Museveni at the opening of the centre on Wednesday. The ICT state minister, Alintuma Nsambu, for education Gabriel Opio and the Netherlands ambassador, Jeroen Verheul, attended the function.
The centre is designed to carry out ICT research and development in addition to training ICT experts.
According to Michael Niyitegeka, a university official, the centre is testting a mobile e-health service delivery for the Ministry of Health.
Uganda recently got its first tele-medicine procedure when two Ear, Nose and Throat surgeons operated upon a patient at Mulago Hospital with the help of experts in the US.
Niyitegeka said the Uganda Bureau of Statistics had asked the centre to process its data. He said the centre was also in consultation with the Electoral Commission on whether it could handle election data.
The centre will also digitalise the map of Uganda to show the minutest details. The information will be used in planning. The exercise will start with major urban areas like Kampala, Entebbe, Mbarara, Jinja and the national parks, Niyitegeka said.
The centre will also go into multi-media production of cartoon animation of plays from the university department of music dance and drama.
It will also do computing systems on mobile phones. This is expected to revolutionise teaching at the university.
Niyitegeka said a student at Makerere has developed a system for next generation mobile application for the Nokia phone company.
Another also developing an emergency response system for activities like rescue operations. The students are also developing software for automatic translation of language on mobile phones and digitalising African music instruments on phones.
The complex has six computer labs, each with a seating capacity of 1,000 people and six lecture theatres, each with a seating capacity of 600 students.
The installed equipment includes a multi-media lab, advanced GIS lab, mobile computing lab, fully equipped studentsâ€™ labs, VSat equipment, software incubation lab, e-learning lab and multi-media studio.
Museveni said the facility would trigger a chain reaction development for the region. He said ICT giants like Google, Microsoft, IBM, HP and CISCO were working with the faculty, with the first two having established offices here.
He said the national ICT backbone was complete and the Government had started the second phase.
The Netherlands ambassador urged the Government to look into the education standards. He said the donor community was concerned about the quality of education.
He also urged the higher institutions of learning to intensify research for development.
â€œMakerere which was formerly a bat valley can become the Silicon Valley of Africa,â€ he said.
Makerere IT centre to link 100 varsities