15 January 2013

Uganda: Students Urged to Embrace Social Media

US Embassy Uganda information officer, Crane Elis has urged student writers to embrace social media in order to develop and market their written art pieces.

Speaking during the creative writing workshop of Writing Our World at Makerere University at the close of last week, Elis encouraged secondary students to join social networks Twitter and Facebook as a gateway to marketing their products.

She believes that student's skills and knowledge can be boosted through social media.

"The use of traditional media to promote products and services is going down while new media like Facebook, Twitter, web blogs and other online services have become the modern-day marketing tools to grow businesses, she said.

Close to 30 secondary students across Uganda benefited from the workshop which took place at Makerere University's school of information technology.

Elis further urged various stakeholders to look beyond negative aspects of networking and focus on the positives of social media, like how it will improve learning and help students acquire new skills and spend productive time.

"Facebook and Twitter are emerging global communication standards especially among the youth. In most advanced countries, teachers supplement their lessons with assignments given to their students on Facebook.

"It has been confirmed that students relate in an exciting manner to their Facebook lessons and studies which has led to improved performance in school and public examinations," she added.

She however said that social media for promoting art pieces can be boosted through practice models such as developing a plan, know your voice, be social, make a name for yourself, make your profile work, and having a primary social media application.

The US provides $14m to Ugandan students every year in the form of grants to cater for their education.

The chairman of Writing Our World, Ronald Ssekandi said that the purpose of the workshop was to help students discover their writing design and to equip them with knowledge and skills.

"We are here to let students realize their talent. That is why we involve them in public speaking, poetry, writing short stories among other activities," Ssekandi added.

Writing Our World was officially launched on December 8, 2011 under the theme: "Writing will be an issue just as human rights are in Uganda.

The project took place in ten secondary schools, including St. Augustine's College Wakiso, St. George High School Wakiso St. Joseph's SSS Nagalama, Makerere College School, St. Catherine SSS Nabbingo, Trinity College Nabbingo.

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