Soroti University Wins Top ICT Award at World Mobile Congress

SHANGHAI – Soroti University has scooped a top ICT award at the World Mobile Congress (WMC) summit that ended in Shanghai, China.The university was announced the winner of the Best Operator Institution category award for the LEAP (Leadership, Employability, Advancement and Possibility) digital skills development programme that has been running across several institutions of higher learning in sub-Saharan Africa.

Other institutions that won in other categories were the University of Nairobi (Best Performance), the University of Dar es Salaam (Special Contribution) and Ahamad Bello University (Academic Support Centre).

The programme is sponsored by Chinese technology firm Huawei to grow the digital skills among more than 100,000 young people across Africa drawn from both communities and institutions of learning.

Receiving the award in Shanghai, China on Friday, Edymond Richard Hirya, an ICT instructor from Soroti University said the award is a big gesture of encouragement to the budding science and technology-based university.

“We are very happy to have won this award from the Huawei Academy and we hope to do better. Soroti University, being a science university, we hope to do better than this to scoop even better awards from this same institution. My message for Soroti University students back in Uganda is that they should work hard. They should always aspire to be at the top. Being a new university, people may think others are better than us. The students should even be inspired to work harder. They should have the hope that they can make it, just like other students from other institutions,” he said.

Apart from Soroti University, Anyango Joanita and Mubashir Bagampadde, who were among the nine individual Ugandan LEAP students in Shanghai, emerged third in the LEAP ICT study tour.

Speaking to New Vision after the awards, Anyango, a software engineering student at Makerere University, encouraged Ugandan students to always participate in digital opportunities.

“Participate in competitions that come up. You never know the opportunities that come with them,” she said.

The undersecretary of Uganda’s Ministry of Information and Communications Technology, Sophie Nantongo, was called to hand the award to Hirya.

Nantongo hailed Soroti University upon reaching the milestone and encouraged the students to strive for the best, especially in ICT, saying it is where the future opportunities are.

She thanked Huawei for investing in young people and digital skilling across Africa. “We say a big thank you to Huawei Technologies who have facilitated this entire programme. The partnerships we have had have led to our students benefitting immensely in continuous skilling and the experience of being in a first-world country where they have seen 5GA technology in action. They hear these technologies being taught in schools but have this first-hand experience. They have learnt a lot and will not remain the same,” she said.

John Omo, the secretary general of the Africa Telecommunications Union, encouraged digital companies to invest in youth and urged African governments to make digital gadgets affordable in order to reduce the digital divide on the continent.

“Africa still has the lowest broadband penetration and our ICT index is the lowest in the world. We can do a lot for our young people if we co-operate rather than compete. The number of young people that are craving for digital opportunities for self-actualisation in Africa is amazing yet we have not allowed them ;to realize their full potential. The median age of the youth in Africa is 19. Therefore, the potential in that population is enormous,” he said.

Launched by Huawei in 2022, the LEAP programme aims at equipping more than 100,000 youth with digital skills across Africa.

Huawei’s senior vice president Jeff Wang said: “Around one billion people around the world need to be reskilled and upskilled by 2030 in order to adapt to technological development and force industrial revolution. Huawei has always regarded ICT talent development as an important part of its vision. We think ICT talent development should be future-oriented.”

Other dignitaries who graced the awards ceremony were He Hongyan, China’s minister counselor in the department of African affairs, Huawei’s top officials, African Telecommunication Union secretary general John Mo, Kenya’s, Zimbabwe’s ICT minister Tatenda Mavetera, Kenya’s principal education secretary Dr Beatrice Muganda and several African diplomats.

Source: New Vision

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