The Monitor (Kampala)

22 July 2005

Uganda: MTN, Govt to Connect Nine Schools On Internet

Kampala — MTN Uganda and the ministry of Education have agreed to jointly provide Internet services to nine schools through the schools connectivity programme.

The programme being managed by Uconnect, a project at the education ministry, will intended to create equal opportunities for students in Uganda to compete with the rest of the world.

"This is a timely action because of the changes in the education system with more students turning to the Internet for learning resources," Mr Philip Besimire, the MTN Uganda spokesperson, said.

Besimire said through the programme the schools will acquire Information and Communication Technology training and computers from Uconnect project while MTN will facilitate the connection.

Costs

The schools will contribute towards the cost of connectivity and the beneficiaries will be chosen on the basis of the available infrastructure on the ground like laboratories.

He said nine schools will benefit in the first year and then another group of nine will be taken on board the following year an initiative to be applied to all African countries where MTN operates.

Ms Geraldine Namirembe Bitamazire, the Minister of Education, said after signing the partnership with MTN at her offices in Kampala July 19, that connectivity will eliminate the imbalance in urban and rural schools.

She urged the schools, which are going to benefit from this project to make the services available to the surrounding communities.

Beneficiaries

Besimire said schools, which will benefit are those within the reach of their up-country fiber optic connection and those which are very far like Moroto, if selected, will connect by satellite. "Our fiber optic connectivity in the west has reached Mbarara, and in Jinja. Soon we will be in Malaba," Besimire said.

Uconnect has been operating in Uganda for the last three years and more than 20 schools have benefited from the project.

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