Dr Mwebaze: ICTs Run the World

buy more about geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>She gathered that at only 38 years of age, ed Johnson Mwebaze holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics, ambulance a Post Graduate Diploma in Computer science, a Master of Science degree in Computer Science, all from Makerere University and a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Groningen in Netherlands.

Our Corp clicked the Doctor deeper into the cyber world and here are the excerpts.

Chimp Corp: Who is Mwebaze?

Mwebaze: I am a technology big-thinker excited about using ICTs for Education.

I hail from western Uganda and I’m married with two children.


Chimp Corp: Tell us what the Directorate of ICT, Quality Assurance and Library Services is all about.

Mwebaze: The Directorate provides ICT, Quality Assurance and Library Services from our high-level technology strategy.

Our goal is to use the new information and communication technologies (ICTs) as well as newer digital technologies to offer students the knowledge and skills they need in the 21st Century.

We are a team with a big vision. Our vision is to reinvent higher education from scratch.

As a team, we are advancing the use of IT in higher education and also supporting essential processes to enable students and staff of UTAMU to explore their full potential.

This being a largely ICT enabled University, rather than having hard copy books in the library, the university has set up a fully functional electronic library currently with over 10,000 electronic books.

Links to open access libraries have been put together and can be accessed through one interface.

We are determined and prepared to contribute towards addressing the growing demand for quality higher education in Uganda. We strive to maintain and ensure quality in all aspects of teaching and learning and all services offered by the university.

Quality is key to all our business processes. Quality assurance, quality controls and feedback mechanisms have been integrated in all our business processes.

Chimp Corp: You have quite a big task as a Director ICT, Quality Assurance and Library Services of a fast growing University like UTAMU; how do you intend to live up to the challenge?

Mwebaze: It looks a daunting task indeed, but my focus will be how to use technology to provide the 3-core services, eLearning, library and Quality Assurance.

Currently there is a paradigm shift to deliver Internet-based software service (cloud computing) and making computing power made available as a utility (utility computing), much like electrical utilities.

This shift has a profound impact on ICT investment and diffusion: reducing the cost of ICT ownership, emphasizing the importance of shared infrastructures and broadband communications to realize economies of scale, and accelerating the diffusion of ICT as a general-purpose technology.

If you notice all our services currently are hosted in the cloud.

Even when we have no power in our data center, all our services are available to our students & stakeholders.

So with the deployment and hardware costs out of my way, my focus is now on the applications. The big internet players like Google, provide free-cloud services, like mail, sites, etc. We intend to leverage on these services plus use open source software to provide the three core services.

UTAMU students use ICT to enrich their learning experience.

Chimp Corp: Where do you see your Directorate in the next five years?

Mwebaze: As a directorate, we believe in dreaming and achieving big.

My take is that in the next five years, my directorate will be a one-stop hub or show-case of technology-enabled learning.

Chimp Corp: A lot of youths are crying of unemployment. What is UTAMU doing differently to address the youth unemployment crisis that has hit Uganda and other third world countries?

Mwebaze: If we appreciate the phase we are in, we can assess the revolutionary potential of information and communication technologies.

The infancy and pace of the ICT revolution in developing countries suggests that ICT is still undergoing revolutionary change and that we are yet to experience the potential of ICTs.

Technical advances in many ICT areas continue swiftly and could level the playing field for developing countries.

These include mobile devices, wireless communications, open source software, low cost access devices, and the coming paradigm shift to utility computing. Also, the recent explosive growth of mobile phones in developing countries opens up massive possibilities for delivering services everyone.

To realize the full potential of ICTs, we need ICT-enabled services, localized content, localized apps, and ICT Services.

So as UTAMU, we provide both technical and entrepreneurship skills to the youth.

At UTAMU, our courses are tailored to create a base of highly mobile knowledge workers and also to develop skilled human resources, to attract global capital flows, address quality of life issues, and develop the software as well as the infrastructure of livable cities using ICTs.

The ripple effect is job creation.

Dr. Johnson Mwebaze (center) and fellow staff members Ernest Mwebaze and Peace Tumuheki

Chimp Corp: What’s your philosophy in life?

Mwebaze: Like I said, I enjoy everything I decide to do.

So my philosophy is simple: If you must do it, then love it.

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