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Uganda misses out on continental technology competitions

By Conan Businge

Added 20th February 2017 11:14 AM

This year, students were asked to create a new age satellite to solve Africa’s future problems.

Uganda misses out on continental technology competitions

This year, students were asked to create a new age satellite to solve Africa’s future problems.

Unlike in the past, where Uganda has been topping the rest of the students continental DStv Eutelsat Star Awards, this year, no student made it to the top.
 
Competing with the rest of the students from other African countries was Dennis Mitala and Gordon Brian Alemo, all from St Mary's College Kisubi.
 
The duo returned recently from Arusha, Tanzania where they competed in the East African Essay Competitions emerging first and second respectively.
 
The other was Ronald Musinguzi and Edwin Ira from Seeta High School.
 
The two schools, Seeta High School (Green Campus) and St Mary's College Kisubi dominated the 2016 Eutelsat Star Awards competitions, and this was their first time are winning this competition for the first time.
 
The competitions have for the last couple of years been dominated by Gayaza High School and King's College Budo.

The competition which has been running in Uganda for the last six years attracted 23 schools from different regions around the country; with a submission of over 165 entries.
 
Other Uganda schools have for years been topping the continental competition. But this year, students from Ethiopia and Nigeria scored big at 6th edition of DStv Eutelsat Star Awards organised by Eutelsat and MultiChoice Africa.
 
The best students were Leoul Mesfin from Ethiopia who won the essay prize and Emmanuel Ochenjele from Nigeria who won the poster prize.
 
The DStv Eutelsat Star Awards aim to stimulate interest in science and technology and inspire innovative thinking among secondary and high school students in Africa, create awareness on how science/technology can be applied to everyday life.
 
It also showcased many ways satellites impact the African continents development.
 
The DStv Eutelsat Star Awards encourages 14 to 19 year-old students to write an essay or design a poster on a satellite-related topic.
 
This year, students were asked to create a new age satellite to solve Africa's future problems and students were to answer through essays and posters.
 
The winners of this year's DStv Eutelsat Star Awards, the unique pan-African competition that encourages young minds to explore innovative thinking in science and space technology were announced tonight in Nigeria.
 
The sixth edition shows sustained interest from African learners' aged 14 to 19, attracting over 1000 entries from 20 countries. Levels of accuracy, creativity and originality were judged to be higher than ever before, both in the essay and poster categories.
 
Nearly 1,000 entrants were inspired by the topic of the essay category, encouraging them to envision the role played by satellite technology in the Africa of the future.
 
"Mesfin's entry," according to a statement from the organisers, "Particularly struck the judges as it considered continental and country specific needs and closely aligns to the topic." He has won a trip to Paris and onwards to a launch site to witness a rocket blast into space to place a satellite into orbit.
 
The runner-up in the essay category was Davids Bwana from Tanzania who wins a trip for two to visit MultiChoice facilities and the South African National Space Agency near Johannesburg.
 
In the poster category, first place went to Emmanuel Ochenjele from Nigeria for his depiction of a constellation of diverse satellites all contributing towards the advancement of solutions to challenges such as global warming, conservation of biodiversity, as well as stable energy supply.
 
He will visit Eutelsat in Paris to understand how satellites are operated, as well as a satellite factory. Aobakwe Letamo from Botswana was the runner up in the same category. The four winning schools attended by the overall award winners and runners-up were also rewarded with a DStv installation, including dish, TV set, PVR decoder and free access to the DStv Education Bouquet.
 
Claudie Haigneré, Europe's leading female astronaut and now special advisor to the Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA), chaired the jury of the Awards for the first time. She commented: "Taking part in the DStv Eutelsat Star Awards for the first time has been quite simply a mind-changing experience, especially as this year's topic was particularly challenging."

According to a statement, she added that, "The visionary ideas on Africa's future satellite landscape developed in essays and posters underscore how Africa's youth expect technology to drive positive change for their continent."

"The Jury engaged in intense discussions to award the most realistic and creative proposals that deserve to stand out on the African stage. Our congratulations go to all the finalists for their work and to the winners for their brilliant ideas."

She was assisted in her duty by a panel of international skilled industry experts: Ronke Bello, CEO at Innovative Technology Literacy Services Ltd (Nigeria), Elizabeth Ohene, journalist and former Minister of State to the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports (Ghana).

The others are Prof. Stephen Simukanga; Former University of Zambia Chancellor and now Director General of the Higher Education Authority and Jenerali Ulimwengu, well known writer, columnist and lawyer (Tanzania).

 

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