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IT People Profile: Software development and the education sector PDF Print E-mail

By Esther Nakkazi

ImageIn the heavily male dominated software development sector in Uganda, Laiton Namutebi stands out. She is a Software Developer at the Faculty of Computing and Informatics Technology, Makerere University who has worked on a number of projects that have made homegrown software solutions available.

The e-lady says that what would revolutionalise the education sector in Uganda is ‘Software that disseminates study material like past papers, videos of classroom sessions. This would reduce the facilitation gap between students from first class schools and other schools.’

But this would also improve the quality of education in Uganda under the Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme, where the ratio of teacher to pupil ratio although improved from 1:100 in 1996 to 1:50 in 2010 is still poor.

According to Namutebi, Mobile Solutions that are generic enough to support all needs such as those in the health, education, agriculture, business and politics (elections) sectors are the most useful to a developing country like Uganda.

The faculty of IT has engaged in developing some of these like the SMS results querying and the E-voting systems for Makerere University as well as the Africa Portal for scholarly material in Africa.

Namutebi and a team of other young developers at the faculty have also worked on projects like OpenXData, Online Evaluation System among others. Currently she is working on the Human Resource System Component of the ICT4mPOWER project (Electronic Health Record System) but continues to work on other in coming projects.

Particularly in the education sector, Namutebi has worked on OpenXData, an OPEN SOURCE end-to-end data collection tool that can use both high- and low-end mobile devices as well as in a regular web-browser to show and capture forms based data.

IT is being implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports through SNV Uganda in two districts to carry out surveys in the education sector.

“It has been implemented in Mbale and Kiboga in 100 schools under the Universal Primary Education (UPE) program to record teachers and student’s attendance,” she says.

But the software has also been used by the Ministry of Agriculture by National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) project to record farmers’ details and activities. In Rwanda, by Tulane University for the Malaria Control Program. In Pakistan for pneumonia and rabies surveillance.

The software has been developed as a partnership between the Faculty of Computing and IT with University of Bergen- Norway, HandsRel-India, University of Southern Maine-USA, IRD-Pakistan under the Open Mobile Electronic Vaccine Trials (OMEVAC) project. For more partners, visit Openxdata .

Laiton Namutebi is a Bsc. Computer Science graduate from Makerere University and was trained in software Engineering under the National Software Incubation Center at the same University.

For more information you can visit the openxdata website

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