Council Members led by the Chair Mrs. Lorna Magara have commended the College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) for the practical training and churning out graduates that have made immense contribution to the digitalization of government, private institutions and businesses processes.

Mrs. Lorna Magara speaking during the meeting.

The University Council now wants CoCIS to tender in a proposal through management on how the college can help the digitalization of the university processes including students’ records, attendance, information system and, a feedback system

The college leadership welcomed the task and pledged to revitalize some of the applications it had evolved, for example, the prototype for attendance system and others and to follow up with Council Chairperson.

Council members visited CoCIS on Thursday 3rd March 2023 to familiarize themselves with what the college does, how it does, the key milestones and its contribution to the vision of Makerere University among others.

In a meeting held at the conference, room in Block A the Principal CoCIS Prof. Tonny Oyana highlighted how the college was contributing to the university’s Strategic Plan, Uganda’s National Development Plan, the Human Resource Development plan and Vision 2040.

Prof. Tonny Oyana makes a presentation during the meeting.

Professor Oyana highlighted the success story in research, innovations and in teaching by building cases where the college has been successful in research like Google that is helping the college in transforming Uganda and the whole of East Africa through the AirQo project.

AirQo is project led by Prof. Engineer Bainomugisha that has developed devices that measure the air quality. Prof. Bainomugisha has worked with several government agencies like NEMA, KCCA and across borders in many other African cities where the devices have been installed.

Other innovations highlighted include the smart bee hive for monitoring bees in East Africa, the students Ntaasa emergency system, and the devise to aid the blind to move without aid that have won international recognitions and awards.

“The contribution we make is in automation and building applications that are relevant in different sectors of agriculture and environment health, transport and businesses and general services and areas important in the country.

We are going to do intentional targeting for desired outcomes that meet our strategic goals and those of the university, and the country”, Professor Oyana asserted.

Prof Oyana appreciated Council members for Identifying and amplifying the message of the work done and expressed gratitude for the positive feedback from council.

“We are grateful for the visit. Whenever a visitor comes and gives feedback,  it is good because it is a mirror that reflects what we need to do better and in which areas we need to improve and we  are committed to the vision of Makerere of a research-led university”, Prof. Oyana said.

Council members noted that generally there is low appetite for Information Technology in Uganda partly due to high illiteracy and implored the college to come up with interventions that can help the university and country to fight vices such as corruption on grounds that many of the government initiatives have not succeeded.

Mrs. Lorna Magara (L) with some Council Members during the meeting.

Council members also implored CoCIS to utilize its space and address the onlinisation to promote distance and online education in Uganda.

The Chairperson Council Mrs. Lorna Magara underscored the role of technology and the competencies in the college that must be tapped into.

“We want to see a way to track the process of teaching and learning, set a system that can help monitor the quality of teaching that take place in the university in terms of student’s records, results, examinations, a system that tracks submitted marks and where they are.  We need a system that can help us to get students feedback in real time” Mrs. Magara submitted.

Mrs. Magara asked the college to submit a proposal to council through management to Council.

“Present a proposal on how you are going to engage with the university community. We will do our best to support you because digitalization is one of the core areas of Council and the college is critical. We want to see increased level of visibility and engagement with the university and management”, Mrs. Magara emphasized.

The Head, Department on Computer Science Assoc.  Prof. Engineer Bainomugisha reported that the School has worked with government institutions in Africa and developed tools that measure air quality.

Prof. Bainomugisha   explained that the role of the school is not only to help the university improve the university processes but also help government and other stakeholders address their digital needs.

“Practically where the future is pointing, a lot of services are going digital. We request for support for training the human resources to enhance practical teaching at the university”. Prof. Bainomugisha requested.

The Dean School of Computing and Informatics Technology Dr. Joseph Balikuddembe said, although the college has the expertise and ready to support the digitalization process, there is need for management to streamline the mandate of university units.

Council members share a light moment with staff after the meeting.

He clarified that for a harmonious working relation, the boundaries for the College of Computing and Information Sciences and that of the Directorate for ICT Support (DICTS) need to be clear to avoid overstepping and going to loggerheads.