The kind of challenges and opportunities that learners have to be prepared to deal with in their lifetime have now become more complex and taken on global dimensions. At the heart of it is information and communication technology (ICT) that leverages global and 21st century skills, knowledge and values. A learner’s mastery of ICT is a critical factor for all the above qualities to prevail in him or her.
This global condition is calling for a radically different breed of learners, especially young people with acute global awareness and sense of responsibility, more accommodative of different races and cultures, adept to the quick changing trends, master of effective communication and collaboration, a critical thinker and problem solver, one who is creative and innovates.
Uganda has a very young population nurtured by an education system that belongs more to the industrial revolution times than the 21st century. The schools’ teaching and learning process is very much driven by the need for kids to pass their tests and examinations than a lifelong zeal to learn. Classroom experiences are controlled as a privilege of the teacher around whom everything in the class evolves. The examination addresses cognitive low order thinking that leaves the learners unprepared for the rigors of the job market and the other fast-changing global demands. These are recipes for stagnation of a nation. What Uganda therefore needs is a robust education system that challenges itself to meet these 21st century demands using 21st century tools, methodologies and mentalities. The country requires an education driven by creativity and innovation to match the national and global challenges and opportunities.
The target group of the program is secondary school students who are passionate, willing to learn new things and venture an extra-mile with learning activities. At least thirty of such students from each of the twenty schools will be selected to spearhead their respective ICT clubs.
KAWA has been engaged by Uganda Communications Commission to facilitate the establishment of student ICT clubs in 20 selected secondary schools and oversee their functionality for one year from date of launch. Learning process will be learner driven with at least one teacher being a guide, facilitator and mentor. They will have a well programed access to ICT facilities of their school for purposes of learning. Each club will identify an issue/problem and create a project to mitigate in an interdisciplinary approach. The learners will exhibit their output and learning experiences in their project to a targeted audience. Each club member will undergo formative evaluation.
UCC has also facilitated the partnership between Secondary Schools ICT clubs and University Computer Science and Technology faculties. Some of the Universities are Makerere University Business School ICT Centre, Ndejje University, UCU Mbale Branch, Busitema University, Muni University, Kumi University, Gulu University, Ibanda University and Kabale University among others.
Club activities may vary from one to another but at least certain key elements will feature in all:
The club members will draw a program for their periodic meetings, preferable once a week. Identify opportunities of service with intervention of ICT in their school. With the aid of ICT facilities, the learners commit themselves to undertake a learner driven and ICT supported project. A workplan will be set up by them. They will hold an exhibition of their completed project within a year from launch of the club. The students will be expected to use available ICT resources in their school for research, presentations, creating of data and so forth. There will be a major evaluation undertaken at least once per term. Findings of the evaluation will be made available to stake holders.
PROJECT AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
The proposed main aim of the program is to build capacity in the participating learners to utilize ICT to leverage 21st century learning practices and make ICT more relevant in their lives and education by.
- Developing a sense of global citizenship.
- Being skilled in technology and able to use it responsibly.
- Being good communicators and confident.
- Enabling creativity and innovation
- Developing critical thinking and becoming problem solvers.
- Being able to use ICT as an integrated habit of studies in mainstream disciplines at school.
- Being able to purposefully network and collaborate
The proposed key steps in setting up the clubs are the following:
- The program will start with engaging school administrators and at least one potential teacher to guide the club members.
- Sensitization of school staff on aims and objectives of the program and agree on what is expected out of the school.
- The school will identify and interest passionate learners who are also able to go the extra-mile.
- KAWA will sensitize the club members on aims and objective of the program as well as what is expected of them. Guidelines will also be shared with the clubs to help them execute their programs within prescribed objectives.
- A designed one-year program will be shared with the clubs.
- Each club will then be individually launched in an official ceremony.
Once the club is launched,
- Club members prepare their workplans and submit to school administration and KAWA.
- A needs assessment is conducted by the student and a suitable for problem solving is selected.
- Start of their learning projects
- Exhibition of learning outcomes (clubs not far from each other may choose to make a joint exhibition)
- Recognition of clubs on accomplishing a project.
- There will be at least two support and evaluation visits in a term.