ICT4Dev

Postgraduate Diploma / Masters ICT4Dev

It is a well-known fact that KNOWLEDGE = power, health, and oftentimes wealth. In this age of super-fast global communication and the vast resources available on the world-wide-web, ICTs are changing the way we do business, learn, and communicate, and there are few excuses for those in “developed” countries not to equip themselves with empowering knowledge (EK). And while information itself is important, we must know where to get it, how to get it, and what to do with it.

While it is true that the majority of the world’s peoples are cut off from EK – and there are many reasons for this North-South divide – recent years have seen a huge increase in the number of people in the “developing” world becoming connected. As of June 2011, Uganda’s population was recorded in excess of 33 million of which around 3.2 million had internet access. While this represents only 9.6% of the country’s population and is small in relation to the 2 billion internet users worldwide, nevertheless it is a laudable statistic that is slowly being reflected in changing ideas and raising expectations.

Until relatively recently, ICTs were generally seen as specialized and often mysterious. For example, in the not-so-distant past, the computers in an organization were controlled by an ICT Manager or Systems Administrator who had absolute power in terms of how and access. With more and more people owning and setting up a laptop without the need for a Systems Administrator, the introduction of more friendly user interfaces, social networking, and cloud computing, much of the mystery has been taken out of ICTs for the average computer user.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are used either directly by the target groups (the population) or indirectly to assist organizations such as NGOs to improve socio-economic conditions in developing countries. For organizations such as NGOs, ICTs provide a useful tool for sustainable development and an absolute need in emergency situations. However, there is a lack of capacity in developing countries to develop, maintain, and utilize the ICT resources. This is an important cause for failure of ICT projects.

As organizations such as: infoDev and ICT4Dev demonstrate, ICTs have many roles to play in almost every area of life: democracy, banking, retailing, education, marketing, gender, business, public health, human rights, environment, governance, agriculture, the media, health …. Innovative solutions to some development problems are emerging at a very fast rate, for example, the introduction of the mobile money networks made the fast transfer of cash relatively simple, while at the same time saving travel money and eliminating the need for difficult paperwork in a bank. The text services for rural farmers (while still suffering from a number of drawbacks) ideally makes it easier for farmers to stay up-to-date with current market prices, and the same service used in health service provision in rural areas has certainly seen an increase in those accessing health care (mHealth). However, many ICT4Dev projects fail because of poor management or collapse once donor funding has been withdrawn. A gap in this area is clearly seen.

In order for the Virtual University of Uganda to remain relevant to the practical development needs of the country (and indeed the region), the programmes offered should centre around areas that are priority areas given our current general and economic climate and the mission and vision of the university. Our current programmes in public health and international development both fall under the general umbrella of “development”. As a university offering online education, it would seem that the next logical programme to offer would be ICT related.

And while we have received many suggestions from prospective students to offer traditional ICT courses, we believe that other universities have sufficient coverage of that area. It is now time to offer a specific tailor-made postgraduate programme in ICT4Dev. Our programme, therefore, will not offer courses on programming, computer languages, or hardware; we will, however, concentrate on the latest interventions and innovations that impact significantly on development encouraging our students to think outside the traditional ICT box while embedding ICTs in the whole area of development theory and praxis.

Aims and Objectives
It is precisely because many innovative ICT4Dev projects fail outright, are not sustainable nor contextualized, that the region needs experts who have both the knowledge and the skills necessary to implement and manage ICT4Dev projects successfully. The programme will, therefore, aim to train innovators with “technical competencies” and “contextual competencies” to fulfill this function.

On completion of the programme, our students will:
understand the contextual frameworks of development in all aspects
understand how ICTs impact on development
be enabled to link development theory with ICT practice
have the knowledge to engage critically with the role of ICTs in development
be familiar with the key debates in ICT4dev

have a thorough understanding of the basic concepts of ICT
have thorough insight in the technical skills of GIS, visual representation,
have a thorough insight in the application of ICT in one of the following sectors: education, health, finance
possess the competences to enable them to handle practical aspects of ICT4D projects such as sound project management, stakeholder analysis
have the skills to keep themselves up-to-date in the field of ICT
have the skills to adapt new upcoming ICT technologies to local conditions.

Core Staff

Programme Leader:
Professor Dr Victor van Reijswoud, BA, MSc, PhD, Professor and Strategic Advisor eLearning and ICT at Virtual University of Uganda

Dr Arjan de Jager, BSc, MSc, Ph.D, Information Manager at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and previously Senior advisor at The Center of Expertise, Programme & Country Manager Uganda at IICD, and Lecturer / Coordinator at Hogeschool van Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Dr Adalbertus Kamanzi, Dip. Th., BA, MA, PhD, Senior Lecturer and Research Fellow, University of Dodoma, Tanzania

Professor Dr Revi Sterling, BSc, MSc, Ph.D. Faculty Director, ICTD Graduate Studies, ATLAS Institute, University of Colorado at Boulder, USA

Dr Alfred Lakwo, BSc, MA, PhD, Director ARFAD, Uganda and previously lecturer at Uganda Martyrs University

Dr Ann Marie Begley, BNS, BA, MSc, PhD, Senior Lecturer, Queen’s University of Belfast, Northern Ireland

Professor Deirdre Carabine, BA, MA, PhD, PhD, Vice-Chancellor, Virtual University of Uganda and previously of International Health Sciences University and Uganda Martyrs University

Programme Structure

PGDID 101: Contemporary Perspectives on Development 3 CU
PGDICT 101: Introduction to ICT4D 3 CU
PGDID 103: Development Projects: Planning and Management 3 CU
PGDICT 102: Hardware and networking for Development 3 CU
PGDICT 103: Software and databases for Development 3 CU
PGDICT 104: New internet based paradigms – moving to the cloud 3 CU
PGDICT 105: Information systems design and implementation 3 CU
PGDICT 106: ICT Policy and Regulation 3 CU
PGDID 109: Research Methods 3 CU
PGDID 110: Integrity for ICTs in Development 3 CU
PGDID 111: Management and Leadership in ICT4D 3 CU

MAICT 201: Dissertation (Masters)

Total Credit Units: Postgraduate Diploma: 33 CU

These courses may also be taken as stand-alone certificate courses as part of Continuous Professional Development.

Visit our website for more information and application details: www.virtualuni.ac.ug

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