RelevanceRelevance of Our Action to Communities

Relevance to the economic development of East Africa

Education is the foundation of the East African¬ economy. What (and how) we learn in schools, colleges, vocational institutions and universities determines who we become as individuals and our success throughout our lives. It informs how we solve problems, how we work with others, and how we look at the world around us. In today’s innovation economy, education becomes even more important for developing the next generation of innovators and creative thinkers. As the number of knowledge-based innovators and entrepreneurs increase, more sustainable businesses are created leading to an accelerated growth of the private sector. As the private sector grows, the revenue generated by the government through taxes increases which fuels the economic development of the country. Furthermore, as more jobs are created and the problem of unemployment and its effects is reduced, obstacles to economic growth are minimized. Policy-making in education should aim to create the conditions for multiple stakeholders to jointly initiate development and improvement, and for balancing school and system-led change. Experiences from across Europe confirm that this will make it more likely that policies have a sustainable impact.

Relevance to university and vocational institution students

Makerere Innovation Society promotes wealth creation among the students, through supporting students establish their successful companies from idea level, the society creates more employment opportunities for over 600,000 youth who graduate from tertiary institutions annually. If innovation and active entrepreneurship is adopted by all students in tertiary institutions, unemployment and its effects will be a story to forget in East Africa. MIS offers students a chance to start building their businesses/ventures immediately they join campus in their first year. We dream to have students in different colleges and faculties connected in teams of at least 10, developing ideas into successful business/social ventures right from first year of study at the university or vocational institution. This kind of collaboration is what students need in order to exploit their capabilities and unique skills in building their life.

Relevance to secondary and primary schools

When we think of innovation nowadays, we usually think of technology. However, in the field of education, it's just as important to focus on innovations in areas such as child psychology, learning theories, teaching methods, and creating the future of the young people. This is particularly true at a time when many educators believe that the East African education systems are failing. Technology and other changes in society demand innovation in education. While many schools face challenges such as underfunding, unengaged students, and outdated curriculums, innovation offers a path forward. Innovation isn’t just important for businesses. In many ways, education stands to benefit the most from both utilizing and teaching innovation in the classroom. By exploring new and better ways to educate students and also teaching the skills students need to become innovators themselves, today’s educators can have a tremendous impact on the future of our world. If you are an educator looking to jumpstart innovation in your school, Makerere Innovation Society is here for you.

Relevance to the particular needs and constraints of the education sector of Uganda

The broad concept of innovation embraced by Makerere Innovation Society emphasizes the need for a better match among the 3 levels of education in Uganda; primary, secondary & tertiary education. Moreover, policy actions need to reflect the changing nature of innovation in the world. This implies an emphasis on the following areas:

  1. Education and training policies adapted to the needs of society today to empower young people throughout society to be creative, engage in innovation and benefit from its outcomes.
  2. Attention for the role of government and other stake holders in creating new platforms for innovation, e.g. through the development of a National Innovation centre for the young people.
  3. Greater policy attention to the creation and growth of new firms and their role in creating new jobs.
  4. Sufficient attention for the fundamental role of scientific research in enabling radical innovation and providing the foundation for future innovation.
  5. A more strategic focus on the role of policies for innovation in delivering stronger, cleaner and fairer growth.
  6. Frameworks for measuring the broader, more networked concept of innovation and its impacts to guide policy making in Uganda.

The government of Uganda has already taken a big step in supporting innovations in Uganda through the National ICT Initiatives Support Programme (NIISP), construction of the National ICT innovation Hub in Nakawa, Kampala which was launched by the Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda on November 8, 2017. This implies that the government is fully welcoming as many innovations as possible in Uganda. The World Bank estimates that more than 200 million people around the world currently do not have a job but would like one. There are also 2 billion people, most of them women, who are of working age but are neither employed nor looking for work. By 2020 the world will need to create 600 million more jobs than there were in 2005 just to hold the employment-to-working-age population ratio constant