The African Development Bank (AfDB) has pledged to fund science and technology in the Ugandan higher education system to the tune of US$103 million, boosting the country’s development plan.
According to the board of the bank the project will be “a key human development operation that will contribute to the economic and social transformation of Uganda and the East African sub-region”.
The loan will benefit six public universities and two degree-awarding institutions and ensure the institutions have ICT equipment and network.
“This will enable Uganda to link up with other regional and international centres of excellence, and ensure that graduates are suited for the job market, locally and beyond,” a statement from AfDB said.
Uganda’s National Development Plan for 2011 to 2015 specifies that the country will be a competitive industrial economy by 2025 by developing skills in science and technology. This project will augment the development plan.
The plan is not without its challenges. Only 30 percent of students in higher learning in Uganda have enrolled in courses touching on science and technology, creating the need to increase student numbers.
This funding will enable 35,000 more Ugandan students to participate in science, technology and innovation programs on campus. Over 12,000 more will be reached through virtual learning.
Analysts suggest that if the country is to meet its National Development Plan, then more needs to be done on the higher education sector.
“This has not been matched with skilled university professors, or the necessary infrastructure. Funding of facilities with ICT equipment has been low and has hampered student access to ICT,” the statement said.