Minister for Presidency, Babirye Milly Babalanda (PHOTO/Courtesy).
KAMPALA – The Minister for Presidency, Babirye Milly Babalanda has commended Huawei for skilling Ugandans through different ICT programs like Seeds for the Future.
Babalanda made the remarks during the launch of the 2022 Huawei Uganda Seeds for the Future Program on Friday. The program kicks off today online.
“In a special way, I would like to commend Huawei for living what they preach as one of the top ICT companies. That even with COVID-19, their business and program has continued online, such are fruits of ICT. I continue to thank the job well done by Ministry of ICT, Ministry of Education and universities for coordinating and seeing to it that our students benefit from such wonderful opportunities,” said the Minister who was the Guest of Honor at the event.
She also revealed that the Seeds for the future program was a gift to Uganda and was officially handed over to Yoweri Museveni by China and Huawei in 2015 during his official state visit to China.
“It’s important to note that this program was given to the government to benefit the people of Uganda, and one of the mandates in my ministry and the Office of the Presidency in general is to see to that; programs such as these are adequately monitored and evaluated to achieve their intended objectives. So I thank Huawei once again for their effort to make sure that they fulfill their promise of skilling Ugandans,” Minister Babalanda asserted.
“This ICT Education program is important because it is vital for young people to have the skills, passion, determination to develop and use your skills acquired to drive this country forward whether you start your own company, work for a government entity, or work for another private company. So it is important to treat this seed of knowledge from companies like Huawei with utmost importance.”
Babalanda further explained that the NRM government has significantly increased its spending in the area of Education in the last two years and they hope the investment shall improve enrollment and quality of learning in Ugandan schools, raise the human capital necessary to sustain productivity and economic growth.
“The job market in Uganda is becoming more technologically driven and disruptive requiring high levels of digital, social and life skills. The seeds for the future program by Huawei is one of the initiatives government can look up to among others, to beef its investment in technology,” she said.
“Education and ICT Skilling play a fundamental and pioneering role with wide-ranging and long-lasting effects. We all know that with the fast development of information technology, ways of learning, productivity and living are undergoing profound changes. ICT is exerting ever-growing revolutionary influence on education, and also enriching the channels, ways and contents of people-to-people exchanges. Therefore, Huawei’s initiatives of the seeds for the future is not only a skilling initiative, but also a very meaningful and important people-to-people exchange activity.”
She also noted that the relationship between China and Uganda will continue to soar to great heights at the benefit of both countries.
At the same event, Joy Tiko, a Makerere University graduand who took part in the previous Seeds for the Future competition, lauded Huawei for giving her experience and necessary skills that have helped her move places in the world of ICT.
“My team created a working prototype of a system that uses artificial intelligence to combat disease and pests, and out of the 19 teams that competed, We were chosen as the winner of the 2021 Huawei Seeds for the Future competition,” said Ms. Tiko who is waiting to graduate with a Bachelors degree in Business Computing.
“With Huawei Seeds for the Future Competition, I improved my skills in the area of artificial intelligence, and I’m now working on new projects that use this technology. My team and I have competed in various IT contests using the experience and skills we got from Huawei Seeds. We thank Huawei for the enormous opportunity it gave us to put our skills on a wider platform and I believe you too will learn from the experience,” she added.
About Seeds for the Future:
Uganda’s Seeds for the Future program is a high-level visit gift presented by Huawei to Ugandan President Museveni during his visit to China in 2015.
To ensure the smooth implementation and good results of the project, the Seeds for the Future project has been included in the Strategic Cooperation Advisor MOU signed by Huawei and the Ministry of ICT of Uganda. In 2016, 10 government engineers were selected to participate in the project and successfully completed the training. The training essays were printed locally and sent to local stakeholders.
From 2017 to 2019, Huawei, together with the Ministry of Education, selected 40 outstanding communication-related college students (10 students per year) from top universities in Uganda to participate in the Seeds for the Future in China for four consecutive years through the “How to Use ICT to Accelerate Uganda’s Development”. During the series of activities, Uganda’s First Lady and Minister of Education, Minister of ICT, Minister of State for Higher Education, Chinese Ambassador to Uganda, and Government Counselor participated in the launching ceremony, the announcement and send-off ceremony of the winning students, and the graduation ceremony and gave public praise. The event was heavily covered by local mainstream media.
In 2020, due to the global pandemic, the Seeds for the Future program was conducted online without strictly limiting the number of participants. In collaboration with top universities in Uganda, 35 outstanding university students were selected to participate.
From October 25 to November 1, 2021, Uganda held its sixth Seeds for the Future program. About 300 students participated in the selection process. Through cooperation with universities, 42 outstanding students from six universities, including Gulu University, Kabale University, Kampala International University, Kyambogo University, Makerere Univeristy, Muni University, were selected to participate in the program. The female participation rate is 35 per cent and the graduation rate is 95 per cent.
The program aims at enhancing students’ capability to adopt to the ICT Industry as they learn about new emerging technologies and skills. This program has helped shape curriculums of various universities since 2016.
Its also expected to enhance student ability to adopt to innovation needs of the local market. This has played a very important part to enable them get employment as soon as they leave their universities. Out of the 40 students who took part in the program since 2016 over 32 are employed directly in Huawei or other companies.
The skills attained in the program have enabled students to gain confidence which has helped them to excel in their careers.
This program has been an eye-opener and expanded the thinking horizons of the participants. They get to experience technology practically.