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KNU-South Korea Signs IT Collaboration MoU with Mak

Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (C) flanked by L-R: Dr. Gilbert Maiga, Dr. Evelyn Kigozi, Prof. Soon Yong Park, Prof. Tonny Oyana, Prof. Dongik Lee, Mr. Yoon Jung Tae, Mr. Goddy Muhumuza, Dr. Agnes Rwashana Semwanga and other CoCIS staff (rear) after Mak signed an IT Collaboration MoU with Kyungpook National University-KNU, Daegu, Korea on 15th January 2018, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.

Makerere University has today Monday, 15th January 2018 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Kyungpook National University (KNU), Daegu, Korea to facilitate staff and student exchanges, research collaboration as well as coming up with joint education programmes in the field of Information Technology (IT). The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe signed the MoU on behalf of Makerere University, while the Vice Dean, School of Computer Science and Engineering-Prof. Soon Yong Park signed on behalf of KNU. The Principal College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS)-Prof. Tonny Oyana and the Acting Director Legal Affairs-Mr. Goddy Muhumuza signed as witnesses.

Also present at the ceremony were the; First Secretary, Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Kampala-Mr. Yoon Jung Tae, Prof. Dongik Lee-KNU, Deputy Principal CoCIS-Dr. Agnes Rwashana Semwanga, Dr. George William Kiyingi, Dr. Gilbert Maiga, Dr. Evelyn Kigozi, Dr. Engineer Bainomugisha and Mr. Francis Ekwaro.

Making the introductory remarks, Prof. Tonny Oyana welcomed the delegation from KNU and thanked them for the preparations leading up to the signing ceremony. He shared that research at CoCIS is conducted in key areas of excellence namely: artificial intelligence and data science; software systems; networked systems and systems security; impact of digital technology on records management in libraries, museums, and archives; and learning, policy, and information-seeking behavior in health, agriculture, and finance.

Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (4th L) and Prof. Soon Yong Park (3rd R) exchange the signed MoU as L-R: Dr. George William Kiyingi, Prof. Tonny Oyana, Mr. Goddy Muhumuza, Prof. Dongik Lee and Mr. Yoon Jung Tae witness

Giving a background to the MoU, Dr. Gilbert Maiga paid tribute to Dr. Constant Okello-Obura, the former Principal CoCIS and Dr. Evelyn Kigozi for making initial contact with KNU and proposing areas of collaboration that eventually formed the terms of the agreement.

“We visited South Korea, where we partnered with the Korea Education and Research Information Service (KERIS) and together, we trained over forty secondary school teachers,” supplemented Dr. Rwashana. The training equipped the teachers with IT skills for the 21st century digital age.

Speaking on behalf of KNU, Prof. Soon Yong Park said that it was a great honour for his delegation to visit Makerere University and sign the MoU. He shared that KNU’s strength in the field of IT-related research attracts a lot of funding from both the South Korean Government and leading corporate firms.

“KNU is strong in research and development in the fields of sensors and semiconductors where we have a cooperation with Samsung. A lot of our staff focus their research in these areas as well as mobile communication technology. This MoU therefore presents a great opportunity for KNU and Makerere University to work together in the fields of both hardware and software,” said Prof. Soon Yong Park.

Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (L) hands over a souvenir to South Korean 1st Secretary-Mr. Yoon Jung Tae in appreciation of the Kampala Embassy's support to academic collaboration

In his remarks, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe thanked Prof. Park and Prof. Lee for travelling all the way from South Korea to sign the MoU. He paid special tribute to Mr. Yoon Jung Tae for sparing time to attend the MoU signing ceremony. “Your presence here today shows the importance that the Embassy of the Republic Korea in Kampala places on academic collaboration and research.”

Prof. Nawangwe noted that whereas the GDP of both Uganda and South Korea were considered low in the early 1960s, South Korea initiated a number of unique measures that saw its economy transform rapidly. He therefore hoped that through the MoU, Makerere would learn some of those unique initiatives and contribute to propelling Uganda’s economic growth back to double digits.

“Uganda is experiencing both economic and population growth, with the latter outstretching the former. As a University we want to learn from the Korean people and through this collaboration, we should be able to enable our country’s economy to grow much faster. We hope that the Embassy in Kampala will continue being our link to Universities in South Korea.”

The Vice Chancellor further stated that CoCIS is home to the leading School of Computing in Africa with a number of cutting-edge research projects being conducted by the faculty. “We are confident that our collaboration with Kyungpook National University will take our research to the next level, As the University Management, we shall do all that is possible to ensure that this collaboration succeeds,” he reassured.

Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (L) receives KNU Souvenir assortment from Prof. Soon Yung Park, KNU after the signing ceremony

Following a brief interval during which the MoU was signed and souvenirs were exchanged between the Vice Chancellor and South Korean delegation, the first secretary thanked Prof. Nawangwe for his kind remarks and expressed his pleasure at witnessing the MoU signing. He shared that in the early 1960s, the South Korean Government embarked on an ambitious project to develop her academia. “This they did by sending citizens to study in the leading universities all over the world” explained Mr. Yoon Jung Tae.

He noted that South Korea and Uganda had previously collaborated in the field of agriculture, which was greatly aided by research. He noted that academic collaboration is very important to his Government and the MoU signing had marked a historic moment for both South Korea and Uganda as their Universities embarked on collaboration in IT. He hoped that the progress made in the bilateral collaboration in agriculture would also be experienced in the field of IT.

Article by Public Relations Office

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