DOT-COM Activity: Uganda - Connect-ED Phase II
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Short Description: Connect-ED Phase II aims to build on the infrastructure established in Phase I with a central focus on sustainability and a long-term information and communication technologies (ICT) strategy for KyU and the colleges.
Phase/Type of Activity: Signed Award Status: Completed
Start date: October 01, 2003 End Date: September 30, 2005
Partners: Academy for Educational Development , Education Development Center
Person(s) to contact
Margie Joyce , Instructional Designer
dot-EDU/AED Technology Center , Academy for Educational Development
Fredrick Wamala , Project Coordinator/ Technical Director
Connect-ED Phase II Uganda , Academy for Educational Development
Full Description: Connectivity for Educator Development (Connect-ED) was originally established in 2001 by USAID under the LearnLink Initiative (http://learnlink.aed.org/). Connect-ED set up computer centers and internet points of presence at Kyambogo University (KyU) and eight Primary Teacher's Colleges (PTC) throughout the country. The project provided computer literacy and materials development training for teacher educators and began to repurpose the print-based national PTC curriculum into an interactive, accessible online version (http://www.kyambogo.ac.ug/curricul um/)
Connect-ED Phase II, which started in 2003, builds on the infrastructure established in Phase I with a central focus on sustainability and long-term ICT strategies for KyU and the primary teacher colleges (PTCs). Working in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) and Kyambogo University, activities include developing business plans and policy reform to financially sustain the PTC labs, using ICTs to increase teachers' capacity to incorporate student-centered teaching practices in the classroom, developing a web presence for KyU and each PTC, continuing to provide computer training, and completing the digitization and enhancement of the national PTC curriculum. Connect-ED is also using its experience and expertise to assist the MoES improve their overall national ICT-in-Education policy.
Update 1 (as of June 2004):
A sustainability and Phase II kick-off workshop was held in April 2004 in Jinja. It brought together key stakeholders from the primary teacher colleges (PTCs), the MOES, Kyambogo University (KyU), and other entities that are crucial to the sustainability of the project. An outcome of the meeting was the development of Operational Guidelines for the Connect-ED labs, guidelines that feed into a larger ICT policy. To date five of eight PTCs hav developed draft business plans to help sustain their college computer labs. Medium-term sustainability has also been enhanced by the award of a grant to cover Internet connectivity for one year made by the Uganda Communication Commissions Rural Development Fund.
Other policy support assisted the projects lead counterpart organization, KyU, in developing its ICT policy and master plan, which was recently finalized and approved by the faculty senate.
In terms of teacher training, currently 36 teacher educators and project staff are participating in an online course with the Harvard Graduate School of Education. This course, "Teaching to Standards with New Technologies," is intended to assist participants in better understanding progressive pedagogy as well as how to better integrate technology to enhance teaching and learning. Finally, the project is continuing to build capacity in the PTCs to create useful educational resources and it has successfully enhanced over 30 percent of the units in the online curriculum.
Update 2 (July-Sept. 2004):
In Uganda, the projects business planning consultant has helped each of the eight collaborating primary teachers colleges produce at least one draft business plan. Similarly, the projects policy consultant has completed an ICT policy and master plan for Kyambogo University. In terms of training activities, 35 tutors and project staff began work on the online Harvard Course Teaching to Standards with New Technology. As 15 educators are taking the same course in Namibia, Harvard opened up an online technology café where they have encouraged the educators from Uganda and Namibia to discuss issues surrounding the introduction of technology into their respective countries education systems. Recently the project has been asked by USAID and the Ministry of Education to provide assistance in developing a nationwide ICT for Education policy. Perhaps the best news the project has received recently is that the Ministry is close to approving a policy that will allow the colleges to charge user fees to help sustain the labs and connectivity after the project ends at the end of fiscal year 2005.
Update 3 (May 2005):
Sustainability of the Primary Teacher College labs has been a major focus of effort for Connect-ED Phase II. As of May, 2005, all PTCs have established business plans and are conducting outreach activities to help defray some of the operational costs; however, these activities are not sufficient in themselves. Early on in the project, Connect-ED realized that running the PTCs as community telecenters was not a viable solution if the main objective was to enhance the quality of teaching and learning at the PTCs. Therefore, continuous efforts to sensitize and build consensus at the Ministry level have been pursued. As of November, 2004 these efforts bore fruit. The MoES agreed to reinstate cost sharing at the eight Connect-ED sponsored PTCs (i.e students were expected to pay 13 dollars per term to help sustain the labs.) However, as of March 2005, President Museveni stated that the government would relieve the students burden and pay 650 Ugandan shillings per student, per day under the Poverty Action Fund to help fund the ICT labs. This presidential directive publicized in the New Visions newspaper, along with a grant from the Ugandan Communications Commission (UCC) to provide funding for one year of connectivity costs at the PTCs, gives the colleges significant leverage in their quest for sustainability. However, this is only part of the issue. Connect-ED is also working to compile data to assess the impact of ICTs in learning and teaching. Moreover, in order to ensure that ICTs are effectively integrated into entire education sector, Connect-ED is assisting the MoES to improve their overall national ICT-in-Education policy.
Snapshot of Results
- Connect-ED worked with the MOES to improve the current National ICT in Education Policy document, specifically addressing sustainability of ICTs labs at the PTCs;
- In June 2005, The New Visions newspaper quoted President Museveni stating that "the 8 PTCs with ICT laboratories shall have their unit costs raised to UG1800 ($1) per student per day so that they can fund the maintenance of their equipment and Internet connection." (see full article)
- 70 champion teachers participated in Harvard University's "Teaching to Standards with New Technologies" online course;
- 1,726 learning materials were created using computer labs at the PTCs and used to support teaching;
- 2,603 students have been using the computer labs at the PTCs for learning purposes.
Development Sector(s): Basic Education, Education Partnerships, Participant Training
ICT Intervention(s): CD-ROM, DVD, VCD-ROM, Computers in schools, ICT/education policy formulation, Pre-service teacher training, Telecenters, Web site/portal
Links and Files:
- Connectivity for Educator Development (Connect-ED): http://www.connected.ac.ug/
- Kyambogo University: http://www.kyambogo.ac.ug/
- PTCs get more funding
Ripped from the headlines. Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, has directed that the bugdet component for the Primary Teacher Colleges be placed under the Poverty Action Fund, effectively cushioning it from budget cuts. The eight PTCs with ICT labs shall have their unit costs raised to sh1800 so they can fund the maintenance of their equipment and internet connection.
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