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School IT depends on 'donor sympathy';Briefing;International;New technology

Uganda

The largest computer centre in Uganda was opened at a top fee-paying school this month by education minister Professor Apollo Nsibambi, in one of his last acts before becoming prime minister.

But only about 40 of the 1,080 secondary schools in Uganda are using computers. The government hopes to have computers in every school by 2003, but with no specific budget for the purpose, schools rely heavily on what Professor Nsibambi called "considerable donor sympathy" to pay for information technology.

The 86 PCs at Busoga College, Mwiri, in the east of the country, were given by donors from the UK including United Utilities, and were flown out free by British Airways, in a project co-ordinated by Manchester grammar school.

At the opening ceremony, Professor Nsibambi delivered a message from President Yoweri Museveni, warning that "Africa has to invest in IT" in order to develop.

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