PANAF Research Agenda plays a role in government’s new initiative on Computer Science at A-level

Senior Information Scientist in the Ministry of Education and Sports (MOES), Mr Mukoyo Humphrey has announced that starting February 2012 Computer Science will be offered as a subsidiary subject at Alevel. This was during the Policy Dialogue on Pedagogical Integration of ICT in the Ugandan Education System organised by the Department of Adult and Community Education (DACE) on December 22 2011.

“Students will have the option to take either Computer Science or Subsidiary Mathematics. This will help narrow the gap between A-level and O-level since Computer Science was only offered at O-level,” he said. Some of the measures government has undertaken to ensure this occurs include equipping over 300 schools, with computers, increasing access to internet and the training of teachers in ICT.

The Acting Commissioner ICT at the Ministry of ICT, Mr Ambrose Ruyooka said the Ministry had implemented numerous ICT policy objectives to ensure an enabling environment. Ms Grace Baguma from National Curriculum Development Centre said the A-level Computer Science syllabus would be rolled out in phases and that the term 1 syllabus would be handed to Head Teachers by January 2012.

The Policy Dialogue builds on research and activities of the PanAfrican Research Agenda for the Pedagogical Integration of ICT Project. Members convened to discuss and make recommendations for reforms at different levels of ICT in Education implementation. The initiative by government is as a result of the findings and policy dialogue from the PANAF Research Project Phase 1.

Whilst members were happy with government’s new initiative, they felt the initiative mainly addressed the teaching of ICT and less on the integration of ICT in education.

The schools that took part in the study observed an increased uptake by students of subjects were ICT had been integrated and more teachers were using ICT for administrative and academic purposes . ICTs more. However, the number of girls using ICT was still low.

Some of the issues raised by members included; power cuts, technician problems, internet, gender inequality in the use of ICT, computer viruses, lack of technical advise and attitudes of teachers, parents and students towards ICT use.

The policy dialogue was attended by over 40 people from primary schools, secondary schools, higher education institutions and government agencies. The Pan African Research Agenda is funded by the International Development Research Centre. (IDRC).

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By Sheila Mwebaze Tindi