The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is to invest an estimated 108.750 billion Uganda shillings in construction and installation of digital drums for education institutions.
The fund plans to install one digital drum in over 50,000 villages in Uganda. The drums will be installed at education institutions, including primary, secondary and training colleges, to be selected by the Ministry of Education.
The digital drum is a computer covered in a hard-metal drum, such as an oil drum, and loaded with learning materials. The computer is loaded with digitized academic information such as curricular, text books, exam past papers, past results, and school enrollments which is usable offline.
Humphrey Mutebi, the Education IT Specialist at UNICEF explains that the information is compressed in a digital repository, with links to different subjects and topics.
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The cost for construction of each unit is more than double the price of an average computer in Uganda. But Mutebi says that the digital drum is usable for more than one person at once, which makes it more viable than buying average computers.
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The metal covering protects the computer from heat, liquid spillages and dust. Mutebi explains that this makes it possible for the drum to be placed at a veranda or under a shade, where it can be accessed by anyone any time. Also a single unit can have more than one computer terminal.
Kibuli Muslim Primary Teachers College is one of the institutions that have already received one. The drum is to be shared between the college and demonstration primary school.
Teo Sewanyana, one of the tutors was trained to use it, and to help other tutors as well as students learn how to use it. She says that the information on the machine has not been updated to the new thematic curricular, but once it is, she would like to access curricular, lesson plans and teaching aids.
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Janet Atukol, the Deputy Principal of the college says that the college will make a timetable for access to the information for every student on the three computer terminals.
The drum can use solar energy of about 50 volts.