By Conan Businge
Gayaza High School is among the six finalists in the inaugural World Microsoft School Pitch competition.
The other five schools are Saint John’s School (Chile), Broadclyst Primary School (UK), Appleby College, (Canada), Crescent Girls’ School (Singapore) and Schloss Neubeuern (Germany).
Out of the 80 competing school, five were from Africa. Gayaza represented Uganda while Agha Khan School was selected from Kenya. Others came from Egypt, Mauritius and South Africa.
“It was a very hard decision choosing the final six schools that will be pitching live at the Microsoft Global Forum in Barcelona, Spain in March 2014,” Nasha Fitter, the global head of Microsoft Innovative Schools, said in a statement.
“All of the ideas put forth were truly thought-provoking and it came down to the wire. We stayed up all night deliberating down to the final minutes! We hope all of us will unite as a community and support the six finalists,” adds the statement.
In November 2013, Gayaza was nominated by Microsoft Corporation as a Microsoft mentor school.
“The 80 schools were challenged to come up with a project that would help them to infuse the use of technology in their curriculum. Gayaza High School set out to market local enterprises within our community by creating instructional videos showcasing the production process within each business,” according to the statement.
“We seek to create an E-market library that will not only promote the local enterprises but also support the youth in their search for possible businesses that they can replicate and also a research tool for teachers as we embark on the new practical O’level curriculum in 2017,” adds the statement.
“We were identified because of our e-learning education application, a teaching platform where we upload classroom content on a website and it can be accessed by anybody who would like to know what we teach at the school,” said Ronald Ddungu, the deputy head teacher of Gayaza.
According to Ddungu, the mentor status means Microsoft will partner with Gayaza to engage other educators in the country in technology-related teaching. The packages for the winners also include an invitation to attend the Microsoft school tour during the BETT show, a learning technology event in London, recognition as global leaders in education via social media and other Microsoft channels, coaching plus mentor services for one year.
Being among the best six, Gayaza will also win an insider access to Microsoft strategy and technologies, leadership professional development opportunities and an invitation-only status for special Microsoft events.
“We are very happy and look forward to this opportunity of utilising technology in the education of our children in Uganda,” Ddungu said.