Kichui Shadrack: Eliminating Computer Illiteracy through ICT Books

If you went into a book shop looking for an ICT book for your secondary school kid, you can’t miss The Bulldozer. The Bulldozer is the brain child of Kichui Shadrack, a time tested teacher of ICT with vast knowledge of the subject spanning two decades. The award winning author has seen the subject of Computer Studies evolve in Uganda right from it’s infancy up to what it is now. But what inspired Kichui Shadrack to venture into writing? The next paragraphs give you the picture.

My authorship started in 2006, inspired by Mr. Katongole Godfrey Nkwenge of Vienna College by then.“, says Kichui. “I created a simple spiral bound booklet whose content was 70 pages pamphlet of Direct to Points in MS-Excel.” he goes on to say. Mr. Kichui says he used the book to teach Excel practical for S2 class only. Mr. Kichui says, though he sold over 3000 copies, mostly to his students, he was convinced the book did not have much useful instructions.

Kichui’s teaching journey

Mr. Kichui started teaching in 2002 at former Progressive SS. Bweyogerere, before joining Seeta High Schools. By that time, Computer Studies as a subject had just been freshly introduced. In fact, it was a preserve for the elite schools. There were neither formal trained teachers nor comprehensive books written to address the content required to cover the syllabus. The majority of the teachers who volunteered to teach the subject, therefore, picked any crude material from any textbook and cast the notes for their students on the blackboard. This was uncharted terirroty for many teachers.

Kichui says he noticed, and interestingly that the students that joined his class from other schools came with notes that were exactly the same as those that he used to give his students. This meant to me that his notes were spreading in various parts of the country. And true, many teachers of computer also kept visiting him for notes, which he generously gave in both soft and hard copy.

But also, some students also came with some very good notes. I did not take a single minute, minus having those notes integrated with mine to continue shaping ours in the department.” says Kichui

In 2011, Kichui decided to re-write the Direct to Points book in MS-Excel in a more instructional manner. After selling a number of copies to his own students, he started getting numerous calls from different parts of the country asking where they could get a copy of the book, but more so, they were urgently demanding the missing packages such as MS-Access, MS-Word, MS-PPT, and even MS-Publisher.

Kichui Partners with Kaggwa Maurice and Kumakech Michael

They say, “If your want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This is what Mr. Kichui exactly followed. When he decided to put his works together professionally, he teamed up with Mr. Kaggwa Maurice, HOD Seeta High – Mukono Campus to published the Direct to Points in Computer Studies & Sub-ICT in 2013. They went on to include the other missing packages i.e. MS-Access, MS-Word, MS-PPT, and Publisher before he ventured to write a book about Elementary Programming using C and Web design using HTML. Mr. Kumakech Michael of Uganda Martyrs – Namugongo SS had the task of revising the books.

Criticism

Even with their popularity, criticism still came it, all be it positive. Kichui’s explanation that separating the two levels in one book wasn’t necessary fell on deaf ears. Mr. Kichui was advised by readers and teachers alike to combine the split books of MS-Excel, MS-Access, MS-Word, MS-PPT, and MS-Publisher into one.

Birth of The Bulldozer

After heading to learners’ and teachers call, Kichui in 2016, chose to merge the split books of different packages into one unit. That was a birth to “The Bulldozer”. “If there is any useful advice I have ever received was to merge the split books. This, drastically increased the sales in various bookshops around the country.” says Kichui

Awards

In 2018, “The Bulldozer” was nominated as one of the best self-instructing academic books of the year. In 2019, the same book, The Bulldozer, was awarded by Uganda Book Award as the best self-instructing academic book of the year. The Bulldozer has been noted to be useful, not only in Secondary schools, but students in colleges, universities, and individuals seeking to improve their computer literacy. If it were not for Covid-19, The Bulldozer was projected to surpass 2000 copies of sales per year!

The Examiner’s Word Series launched

In 2019, after the introduction of the new curriculum O’ level, Kichui thought of coming up with the book that covers Paper 1 Advanced Level. Indeed, by the beginning of 2020, The Examiners’ Words was borne. This book which covers the Advanced Level sub ICT syllabus is reinforced with UNEB and Mocks questions and answers at the end. And in a new approach, the book is to sold with audio visual tutorials to help students and teachers to follow some abstract areas in the topics.

Kichui and programming

If there is a topic that many are not comfortable with at Ordinary Level, its programming. Matters were not helped when in 2015 UNEB sent out a circular to schools alerting them to start emphasizing computer programming. Mr. Kichui swiftly started writing a book to address that area and combined it with HTML. Kichui went a step further by visiting a local school in India to borrow a leaf from them on how they teach computer studies. At that very school, Kichui was gifted with several books on prgramming and HTML.

Kichui’s disappointment

Sales for the programming and HTML book has proved to be miserable. Kichui attributes this to the low interest by teachers in programming. He cites cases where school were willing to purchase 10 copies of each of our titles, but turned down by the ICT instructors. This has kept the sales very low. Ever since production, hardly 100 copies have been sold, and even those that are sold were majorly bought by the University students. This negative attitude towards programming he says will cost the nation by not having competent programmers like it is in Nigeria, India, etc. Kichui’s worry was even worsened when programming was scrapped off in the new competent based curriculum.

Plans for the new curriculum

With the introduction of the new Competent Based Curriculum at O’ level, Kichui and team are working hard to ensure that they come out with a piece for both theory and practical.

Kichui’s gratitude to the ICT Teachers’ Association

True to the saying that hey say iron shapes iron, Kichui is grateful to be a member of the ICT Teachers Association of Uganda. He says, through this association, members have helped market his books. He says that even the feedback he gets from members does nothing but help him improve on the quality of his books.

Stephen Dumba - ICT Teachers Association of Uganda

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Stephen Dumba is the co-ordinator Central Region ICT Teachers Association of Uganda and Director E-zone School of Computing. Besides teaching, he is a veteran Computer Repair Technician, a Web Designer and a regular speaker at tech events and teachers’ workshops.
+256 772 111 223 / +256 752 111 223 / stephen.dumba@gmail.com
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