Saturday, December 5, 2009

Makerere University To Help Develop Mobile Innovations In Third World

UK mobile phone experts are visiting Uganda to work with staff and students from Makerere University, in order to improve mobile phone innovation in the developing world.

Academics from Makerere University in Kampala have been working with counterparts at Sheffield Hallam University to improve teaching techniques over the design of mobile phones, ensuring that the next generation are equipped to benefit from the technology.

After the Ugandan academics visited Sheffield in November, Professor Andy Dearden, E-Reader in Social Action at Sheffield Hallam, and Professor Ann Light have made the return trip to Kampala this week.

The project will see students at Makerere working with academics at Sheffield Hallam to develop projects that will boost Ugandan knowledge of the mobile phone industry, where subscriber numbers have rocketed to 10 million, almost a third of the population.

Plans for a sustainable mobile phone innovation centre in Kampala where graduates can work with local and international businesses are also in the pipeline.

The 18-month partnership, supported by a British Council grant, Education Partnerships in Africa, will improve teaching methods in mobile phone innovation and entrepreneurial skills.

Dr Dearden, who has completed a similar project in rural India, said: "This is the first project undertaken between Makerere and Sheffield Hallam, and will see both of our reputations for excellence and innovation enhanced.

"Courses that focus on user-centred products and designs are sparse in most of Africa despite the rapid rise in mobile phone technology and usership.

"This project aims to address this project in Uganda and to develop a university to industry partnership model that can be used throughout sub-Saharan Africa."

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