ICT Ministry to Connect Islamic University on National Internet Backbone

The Minister who had visited IUIU main campus in Mbale on Friday to assess their preparedness and capacity to embrace the E-Learning program due to the Covid19 Pandemic said that the institution is incurring high costs in only providing internet to the Students and Lectures.
ICT Minister Peter Ogwang with IUIU Officials inspecting the University

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The state Minister of ICT and National Guidance, Peter Ogwang has said that the Islamic University in Uganda will be connected on the National Internet Backbone.  

Ogwang said this on Friday while visiting the IUIU main campus in Mbale. He was assessing the preparedness and capacity of the University to embrace the E-Learning program being put in place because of the emergence of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

He said connecting IUIU on the national Internet Backbone which passes through Mbale -Kumi Road will help in subsidizing on the cost of internet the university uses in order to facilitate E-Learning.  He said currently the institution is incurring high costs in only providing internet to the students and lectures.    

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Ogwang said the high costs of internet affects drastically how the university operates its online programs and that their findings will inform whether the university has the capacity to handle online learning.   

“IUIU is very exceptional in IT, they managed to develop a system where they manage all their programs online which is not the case with other universities,” he added.  

The Minister’s concern rose from Hamza Ssekalema, the IUIU E-system Manager who said the University’s biggest challenge is the cost of internet which is over USD4000 (about UGX15 million) monthly.    

Ssekalema said that the University’s ICT department is ready to conduct online learning, but they are worried that majority of the students lack gadgets and face hardships in accessing the internet. 

He revealed that the university has plans to provide smart phones to each learner in the coming admissions and a laptop to the lecturers to ease the process of e-learning.  

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Rehemah Kantono, the University Public Relations Officer said the university has always been ready for E-learning even before the emergence of COVID-19.   

She said that during the lockdown, students have been using the E-learning system to connect with lecturers to access the notes and it was just a matter of modifying the system to suit the demands of government.

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The University Academic Registrar, Dr. Halima Akabar said that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a reminder of what institutions of higher learning are supposed to do in their learning system.  

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The ministry of ICT is on a country wide tour to assess universities’ readiness to take on e-learning as institutions of learning continue to be closed due to the pandemic.   

The ministry is assessing whether Universities have enough computers, internet and capacity of lecturers to handle E-Learning.      

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