Published on 26 July 2012
26 July 2012
Eleven education experts from Uganda are enjoying the best the University of the Sunshine Coast and the region have to offer, immersing themselves in leadership fundamentals, new policy frameworks and something far more simple – clean water for recreation.
“You can only learn by seeing, like we have here,” said Dr Jude Lubega, Head of the Information Technology Department at Kampala’s Makerere University, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Africa.
“I already want to make changes when I go home. We do too many things manually but the information technology is available,” Dr Lubega said.
“And one thing that will stay with me for my life – I learnt to swim here.” He explains that swimming is not common in the culture of landlocked Uganda, where freshwater lakes may harbour snail-hosted parasites.
Nearing the end of their five-week stay at Maroochydore ocean view units, Dr Lubega and his colleagues – academics, government officials and teaching staff of varying ages – have networked, studied and gathered a wealth of information.
The AusAID-funded leadership and mentoring program, organised and run by the University’s International Projects Group, ends on Friday 3 August.
USC Associate Professor and Program Leader Kathy Lynch said the aim was for participants to put forward policy recommendations for the professional development of primary school teachers in Uganda, particularly through e-learning.
“Uganda has a lot of mobile phone technology but scarce landlines and poor IT infrastructure,” she said. “This is all about new ideas and strategies.”
Associated Professor Lynch will return to Uganda in October for two months to consolidate the links.
“Members of the group have been delighted by the beauty of the Sunshine Coast and the willingness of people to share,” she said.
“They went on a leadership retreat at Lake Cootharaba and have had sessions with top-level personnel at USC. They attended the USC Research Conference and were blown away by the quality of the presentations and the passion of our postgraduate students.
“They were excited by the communications possibilities of ‘webinars’ (seminars via the web) after virtual visits to Sydney and Education Queensland’s One Channel in Brisbane. They can’t wait to visit a local school.”
The group will deliver its own presentation to USC staff and students at noon on Wednesday 1 August.
Associate Professor Lynch said mutual benefits for the University included research, learning and teaching partnerships with institutions across Uganda.
— Julie Schomberg