The ICT Teachers Association of Uganda has chosen Lira District to host the first regional ICT Teachers Capacity Development Workshop in Northern Uganda, scheduled for 13th July, 2019 at Dr. Obote College Boroboro, Lira. This has been confirmed by the school administration (download invitation letter PDF here).
Over the years, schools in the rural district of Lira have been surprising the rest of the country by coming up with innovations which have won national competitions several times, which is why we are regarding Lira the land of innovation and programming.
Lira is approximately 110 kilometres, by road, southeast of Gulu, the largest city in the Northern Region, along the highway between Gulu and Mbale. This is approximately 320 kilometres, by road, north of Kampala, the capital of Uganda and its largest city. Lira is approximately 124 kilometres northwest of Soroti, the nearest large town to the south.
Secondary Schools in Lira include the following public schools: Lango College, Comboni College, Dr. Obote College, St. Katherine Girls School, Lira Secondary School and Lira Town College. Lira also has Lira University, a public university in Uganda.
Some Success Stories of ICT and Innovations in Lira
In 2017, Lira Mobile-Edu app beat off competition from Mbarara to take the University category award at national technovation challenge, organized by Resilient Africa Network (Ran). The winning app is designed to improve information sharing between parents and school administrators, relating to students. The app’s developers in this category were Scovia Ajok and Jastine Gutu.
In 2012, Dr. Obote College Boroboro emerged as the winner of the northern region Science and Technology Innovations challenge (STI). Once Dr. Obote College was announced the winner, the joy that overcame the students was hard to miss.
“We have worked hard for this. I am happy we have won,” Daniel Ruma , one of the students, said. The innovations that were presented involved use of robots. Lira Town College came up with an automatic truck. The robot load lifter, which uses an ultrasonic sensor, senses that it has been loaded and automatically moves to the destination it has been programmed to. When the truck has been off loaded, it automatically moves back to its original position. Dr. Obote College Boroboro, on the other hand, assembled a robot that automatically draws house curtains. The robot uses a sensor for light intensity to open and close. At dusk, when the light intensity is low, the robot closes and in the morning when the sun is up, it draws the curtains. Lango College assembled a robot that pumps water as an alternative to the manual bore holes. The students, who designed the robot, said they were motivated by the need for clean water in the region. Dr. Obote College Boroboro emerged winner followed by Lira Town College and Lango College came third (See details in Robotics Report by Lira Town College) .
In 2014, an innovative automatic poultry feeding technology enabled Dr. Obote College School to win the 2014 Science and Technology innovations Challenge (STIC) in Uganda. The competition, which pools together secondary schools from across Uganda, aims at fostering technology in the learning institutions. According to Huawei Uganda, the main sponsors of the competition, the STIC is an annual event that began in 2010 with an aim of promoting science and technology incubation through project-based learning in secondary schools.
Outreach programs to select secondary schools in the different regions in the country were conducted to train design and prototype meaningful robotic applications. The challenge involved presenting projects depicting applications of robotics in real life, assembling and disassembling mobile phones and a quiz which covers both robotics and mobile phone technologies.
Various schools from Central, Northern, Western and Eastern region took part in the grand finale that was held at Makerere University on Saturday 18th October 2014. The schools included St Mary’s College Kisubi, Dr. Obote College School, Ntare School and Maryhill School Mbarara among others.
Stiil, Dr. Obote College School emerged overall winners with their presentation and farm tech innovation which amazed the judges. As a result of this outstanding achievement, Huawei Uganda, offered an e-lab to Dr. Obote College School Lira District. “Huawei Uganda has been sponsoring this initiative since 2012 after an MOU with Makerere, we shall once again offer an e-lab for the winning school and over 30 Huawei Smart phones to the winning individuals,” said Mr. Dai Xia, the Public relations manager for Huawei Uganda.
In October 2016, In Dr. Obote College, Boroboro won the 2016 Science and Technology Innovations Challenge organized by Makerere University. They beat 12 other schools from all over Uganda. Teso College from the east came in second while Maryhill High School from Mbarara took third spot.
Three students – Patrick Okello, Harrieet Okello and Daniel Okwir all from Dr. Obote College Boroboro later represented Uganda at the FIRST Global‘s inaugural international robotics challenge in Washington DC from 16th – 18th July 2017 to compete together with high school students from about 160 countries.
At an innovation expo held at Washington University, students from Dr. Obote College in Uganda built a robot which beat Russia USA & China
When Dr Obote College Boroboro were declared champions of the robotics challenge, some of its students attributed their prowess to plenty of practice with computers. For Emmanuel Wacha, a student at Dr Obote College Boroboro, studying with computers comes with unique advantages. “We are able to appreciate better how they work and how they can be used to improve life in future,” he said. “We are not champions by chance.”
Wacha’s comment came as Boroboro beat more established schools like Maryhill High School, Gayaza High School and former champions St Mary’s College Kisubi to win the national robotics challenge.
Other Boroboro students were overheard discussing computers and some had smartphones on which they shared WhatsApp messages and images. The move indicates that these students, from a school based in Lira, are very conversant with computers. But not too many schools are that keen to allow students to use computers as frequently.
Indeed, Hon Nyombi Thembo from UCC, who was guest of honor at our National ICT Teachers Capacity Development Workshop on 7th May 2019, complained about schools that had received computers from the government for the teaching of ICT, but had opted to keep them stored, rather than permit their students to learn from the equipment.
Dr. Obote College also participated in the 2017 challenge, in which Ms. Betty Auma, a teacher at Dr. Obote College commended Oysters & Pearls-Uganda for facilitating the students’ training and the entire process of the challenge. She observed that the competition is helping the students learn new things each time they go for a challenge. The 2017 winners were from Gulu High School, Bishop Angelo Negri College and Dr. Obote College, all in northern Uganda.
Lira Town College an icon of Innovation
Over the years, Lira Town college, which is a neighboring school to Dr. Obote College in Lira ( within a few kilometers), has supported its students to take part in a number of ICT projects and competitions. They have participated in the Annual Communications Innovations Awards (ACIA), Science & Technology Innovations Challenge, Technovation Challenge, Biotechnology Essay Writing Competition. They have also engaged students in projects such as the Africa Code Week, STEM Girls Camp and Gulu Technology Camp, where students learn programming skills and robotics. These activities have made Lira Town College receive numerous awards and recognition & also inspired the students to pursue Science & Technology careers at University.
As reported by the daily monitor in April 2017, Five students from Lira Town College developed a mobile app that enables HIV-positive people to access anti-retroviral drugs easier. Theirs is a touching experience, as told in the story—Students develop new mobile app to fight HIV—that run on Monday April 24 in the Daily Monitor.
Two years ago, a friend of theirs, Ronald Opio, then a Senior Two student died due to HIV, partly because he was afraid of accepting his status and taking his medication.
This spurred them to create an app which people can use to access ARVs online. The app comes with reminders on when to take the medication and provides privacy, because even though a lot has been done to demystify the virus, the stigma remains. The young innovators have named themselves Cool Stars, an appropriate name too.
In 2017, Mr. Angoda Emmanuel, an ICT Teacher at Lira Town College, received the ‘Teachers Making a difference Award’ recognizing his outstanding contribution to the learning of students in Uganda. The Teachers Making a Difference project is sponsored by the Irish Embassy, Simba Travelcare, New Vision and Trocaire. The teachers were offered a week-long trip to Ireland, where they visited various places (see photos published in the new vision website here.)
Among other things, Mr. Angoda was recognized for supporting and encouraging his students to program. Read his story here.
Rationale and Program for the regional ICT Teachers Capacity Development workshop at Dr. Obote College Lira on 13th July 2019
This year ICT Teachers recently concluded their national capacity development workshop which was held on 6th and 7th May 2019 at Kololo Senior Secondary School, Kampala, with a focus on skilling and tooling the ICT teachers to effectively manage and maintain the school computer laboratories and hands-on in new approaches for curriculum delivery of commonly challenging topics like programming and website design. The workshop was a success due to the great turn up and some support from several sponsors and partners.
The ICT Teachers Association is now organizing several regional workshops as an outreach and follow up on what was shared in Kampala. This is going to make it easier for ICT Teachers within the region to attend since the workshop will be nearer to them.
Coincidence: Western Region and Northern Region rCDW hosts have a shared history
We just realized that Kyebambe Girls School, which is going to host the Western region ICT Teachers capacity development workshop, has a lot in common, including their common support for ICT innovation and also a shared history that goes back to the 1960s!
When the late Dr. Milton Obote visited Canon Lawrence Primary Teachers College in late 1964, the Administrators of Boroboro Secondary School recommended that the school be named after him. Boroboro Senior secondary school was renamed Dr.Obote College Boroboro with Mr .Ejura Edward as the head master.
In 1966, Western Uganda experienced a strong earth quake that devastated many areas. Kyebambe Girls School in Fort Portal was among the schools greatly affected. The students(girls) from this school were shifted to Dr.Obote College Boroboro and were hosted to 1972 .This forced the already boys’ school to be mixed again.
Tentative Workshop Program for the Northern Regional rCDW:
The Northern Region workshop is going to involve practical sessions in the computer lab as indicated on the tentative program below.
ICT Teachers rCDW on 13th July at Dr Obote College, Lira
|08:00 – 09:00am||Arrival and registration||Regional ITAU Executives Present, ICT Dept Dr. Obote College|
|9: 00 – 10:00am||Welcome Remarks, Introductions and Report on ITAU progress and ongoing Programs||Regional Chairperson / Vice/ Coordinator/ Publicity Secretary|
|10: 00 – 1:00 pm||Algorithm Design tools and basics of Programming in Visual Basic DOWNLOAD some VB programming examples here.||FACILITATOR 1|
|01: 00 – 02:00pm||Lunch, Networking and Resource Sharing|
|02:00 – 03:00pm||Inspirational Stories of Teachers and ICT clubs driving innovation in schools||Teachers making a difference in Northern Uganda|
|03:00 – 04:00pm||Digital Pedagogy: Empowering teachers with digital tools and resources for improved curriculum delivery.||PARTNERS|
|04: 00 – 05:00pm||Closing Ceremony: Speech by head teacher, Speech by guest of honor, Issue of certificates and announcements by Sponsors / ITAU||MC, Sponsors, ITAU Executives present, Headteacher Dr. Obote College, Guests|
The workshop fee is UGX 25,000 to cater for meals, facilities, facilitation, workshop materials and resources. All teachers in the country are welcome but are required to confirm their participation by registering online at cdw.ictteachersug.net.
Other workshops are being planned in Fort Portal, Jinja and Wakiso districts, and details will be published through this website. For inquiries, please contact us or call / WhatsApp 0776960740 / 0706060740. To support the workshops as a sponsor or partner, please register at sponsors.ictteachersug.net.