If your want CIT to be the best computing faculty in the world, change your thinking, if you want to be the best academic in the world change your thinking, if you want to be wealthy change your thinking. Stop thinking negative, defeated and having limiting thoughts. God can open doors for you if you persevere…From a letter written by Dean Prof. Baryamureeba Venansius
I had the chance to make two visits to the Makerere University Faculty of Computing and Information Technology. I was given a tour of their new building and I am absolutely blown away by what they have achieved and the plans they have for the very near future. There is nothing like walking into a room and seeing several hundred students hacking away on their laptops, exploring the internet, creating content and sharing thoughts and ideas. This open space is on the ground floor and realizes its exact purpose of sharing and creating. On the upper floors they have lectures halls, computer centers and dedicated laboratories ( including dedicated space for content creation, mapping and mobile programming). The building also plays host to the largest computer lab on the continent (800+ machines with many many more to come) and a budding call center that will produce thousands of call center professionals per year.
What happens when you combine hundreds of students with computers, Internet and dedicated IT professionals and educators? You get innovation! I had a chance to learn about some of the projects that have emerged from this school and can tell you that this is only the beginning. It’s hard not to get excited when you hear about students who have developed a mobile to mobile chat application, a mobile platform that facilitates elections electronically or a crisis response service. In the coming weeks I will be spending a lot of time in the halls of the Makerere digging deeper and getting to know more about the students, their projects and ambitions. These projects are part of the University’s tech incubator and I will write more about this in a later post.
The faculty has already attracting attention from IT companies around the world. Partnerships have been established with the likes of HP, Microsoft and IBM. Needless to say, these organizations see a long term potential in the development of local talent and are an important role in developing Kampala as a leading tech center. The government of Mauritius has also agreed to take 300 students a year in the effort to bolster their own ICT efforts!
Quick Facts about CIT
-Established by the University Council on December 15, 2004 by upgrading the Institute of Computer Science (founded in 1985) into a Faculty of Computing & IT.
-Has 4 academic departments: Computer Science; Information Technology; Information Systems; and Networks.
-Has several service departments that focus on the following: ICT services; Software Development and Innovations; Finance; Registration & day today concerns of students; Research; Human Resource; Examinations and Academic Programmes; International/Corporate/Public Relations; and Quality Assurance.
-Has a student population of 5000 – excluding those on different short courses.
-Has 250 academic staff and receives on average 30 International visiting staff every year.
-Has over 50 Local and International collaborations with Universities, Corporations, Private and Public Sector actors.
-Has participated in and won several international awards.
-Provides first class consultancy services, through its consultancy arm ‘ICT Consults Ltd’
-Has 5 undergraduate programmes (with one more programme under discussion at the University Senate level.)
-Offers 13 graduate programmes.
-Offers 10 regular short courses in ICT and other related areas.
-Runs a mid-night programme to cater for people who are time and financially-constrained.
-Hosts an annual International Conference on Computing and ICT Research (ICCIR).
-Hosts the International Journal of Computing and ICT Research (IJCIR), ISSN 1818-1139[Print] ISSN 1996-1065 [Online]
-Has $20 million worth of Investments in Infrastructure and other facilities