Case Study VII. School-Net Uganda - Inspiring Science for Girls Using ICTs in Uganda

In Uganda, as in many other countries, girls’ participation in science courses – both in terms of the numbers taking classes and the contributions of girls to discussions - is much lower than that of boys. Desktop research showed that among the factors contributing to this were discouraging remarks by teachers, lack of women scientists as role models, and an overly theoretical approach that left many girls unable to relate science to their daily lives.

Inputs
In response to this research, in 2006 SchoolNet Uganda, with support from Digital Links (UK), Barclays Bank (Uganda), and the Ugandan Education Ministry, put together a project called Inspiring Science Education for Girls Using Information Communication Technology. The objective was to encourage more girls to take science subjects, improving their self-esteem and confidence and boosting their overall performance in science subjects.

Process
The main elements of the project are:

  • Affordable computers, which are made available to schools. Teachers were trained in how to use ICTs to enhance their teaching techniques, and they were sensitized on gender issues.
  • An online repository of learning resources was created, and teachers became part of an online network, called the Uganda Digital Education Resource Bank (http://www.uderb.org), where they could exchange experiences and ideas.
  • Science fairs and ICT camps were made available to girls so they could use the Internet for research, attend hands-on classes in using ICTs for science, and learn from positive role models. These experiences enhanced the girls' self-esteem and confidence, empowering them to become change agents themselves.

Outputs
As of 2009:

  • 15 schools have taken part in the project, reaching more than 15,000 girls.
  • 10 further schools have requested to join the project.
  • Five school-based sensitization teachers’ workshops, and one centralized sensitization workshop for school principals, have been conducted;
  • 100 science teachers have been trained in learner-centered teaching techniques that integrate ICTs into science teaching;
  • 1200 professionally refurbished computers have been sold to schools and individual teachers at affordable prices.

For more information visit: www.schoolnetuganda.sc.net