Primary schools in the Busoga Sub-region of Uganda are urging the government to reconsider its ban on the importation of used computers. They argue that lifting the ban would significantly improve students’ access to technology.

The ban on importing used computers was implemented during the 2009/2010 financial year National Budget as a measure to address the accumulation of electronic waste in the country.

At the launch of a Robotics Hub for the Busoga Sub-region at Karibu International Primary School in Nabirye Village, Nakalama Sub-county, Iganga District, one of the school directors, Mr. Patrick Lwasampijja, voiced concerns about the negative impact of the ban. He emphasized that many computers lying idle in developed countries could be repurposed for educational use in Uganda, particularly in rural areas.

Mr. Lwasampijja highlighted the potential benefits of allowing used computers into the country, especially for schools lacking access to technology. He emphasized the importance of assessing the age and condition of the equipment before imposing a blanket ban.

Reflecting on his own experience, Mr. Lwasampijja noted the stark contrast in technological access between Uganda and other countries. He revealed that he only gained access to computers during his studies abroad, highlighting the disparity in technological advancement.

The headteacher of Buwolya Primary School in Buwaaya Sub-county, Mayuge District, echoed Mr. Lwasampijja’s sentiments, stating that the school, established in 1994, has never had computers. Despite a student population of 684, the school lacks the necessary technology for students to acquire basic computer skills.

Similarly, the headteacher of Kyomya Primary School in Budondo Sub-county, Jinja District, Ms. Vicencia Musubika, lamented the absence of computers, especially considering the needs of students with disabilities. Despite having a computer room, the school lacks functional computers, severely limiting educational opportunities.

Addressing the broader issue, the Iganga District Education Officer, Mr. Baker Kasadakawo, acknowledged the inadequate access to technology in primary schools. He emphasized the importance of integrating ICT (Information and Communication Technology) into the curriculum to prepare students for the digital age.

Mr. Kasadakawo also highlighted the significant challenge of internet access in Iganga primary schools, underscoring the urgent need for improved technological infrastructure to support education.