The Principal of Makerere University Business School (MUBS) Prof. Waswa Balunywa has asked government to begin offering free science courses to young people willing to study them if Uganda is to benefit from Science and Technology or adopt digital transformation.
A recent study carried out by Innovation Village has shown that most of the entrepreneurs coming up to start a business are graduates who have done science courses, and the biggest percentage comes from the central region because they have accessibility and the ability to afford science courses.
Speaking during the launch of the 3rd edition of Kampala Innovation Week on Monday, Prof Balunywa revealed that any country whose future is in Science and Technology must create ways of how the citizens can access knowledge that will usher that country into that dream.
He added that although Uganda has people yearning to study sciences there is still a gap in the quality of services they are willing to offer because only a few have attained enough skills given that in Uganda science courses are too expensive and only the rich can study them.
“I think the digital divide is real, we must know that adoption of technologies depends on the number of things. For example, people must be having that desire, gadgets and most important education. Without education at a large scale, we shall still lag behind.”
Prof Balunywa added that government should fund science education at all levels and in every region to ensure that everybody in this country is in school.
“Government should fund free science education at all levels, from whatever level it is. It must make sure that a child from senior four somewhere in Karamoja who is doing a laboratory experiment has what it takes. That is the role of the government and it should not get involved in other things like funding youth or women. To me, we are putting money in bad space.”
He further noted that if Uganda has an educated population, has knowledge about science, there will be a market available.
“The educated population will have exposure, they will be thinking differently. So the digital technology that we are seeing will not bring in people who are not educated. Therefore, for Uganda to realize the fruits of technology, it must educate the young people and give them exposure to understand the emerging technology so that they can adopt it. The economy will start changing only if the wider population is educated.”
The educationist added; “Nobody should pay in the University to study science, the government must fund them. We shall see the beauty of digital innovation. Even the tertiary institutes of science, people don’t attend them because they don’t have the money and yet that is where the skills we need come from.”
Bart Cornille, the Digital for Development Expert from Enabel also noted that for innovations to thrive in the country government needs to invest in education because the heart of science and technology begins with education.
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