May 18, 2024

EXPO to help education sector recover

This story was first published in the New Vision on January 25, 2023

The first New Vision Education expo kicks off this Friday. More exhibitors have registered to participate in the expo where they will showcase a variety of educational products and services as well as learn about the latest innovations and opportunities in the sector. Pascal Kwesiga and Carol Kasujja explore the opportunities this expo has in store for you.

For 22 months, schools in Uganda were closed. It was the longest school closure and its impacts might be felt for the long haul.

Education was one of the sectors hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. From schools that were too broke to re-open in January 2022 and teachers who lost jobs, to children who could not return to school due to reduced learning opportunities and teenage pregnancies.

Without sustainable safety nets, the impact of the school closure on all actors in the education sector is still deep. However, a lot of things can be done to put the sector on the road to recovery.

One such thing is the first New Vision Education Expo that will run from January 27-29 at the Uganda Institute of Information and Communications Technology (UICT) in Nakawa, Kampala.

Curated as a one-stop shop for all things education, the fair will bring together actors in the education sector to showcase the latest products and services, as well as interventions designed to contribute to its recovery.

This is why businesses such as Stanbic Bank are part of the expo.

“The education sector paid the highest price during the pandemic and the need to stand with the sector has never been greater. That is why we are part of this great intervention,” Anne Juuko, Stanbic Bank’s chief executive officer, says.


Stanbic Bank, UICT, Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT), Medipal International Hospital and Research and Education Network for Uganda (RENU) joined the Vision Group’s CEO, Don Wanyama, to announce their participation in the expo.

State House has joined the fair through the Presidential Industrial Project, which has seen regional facilities set up to skill Ugandans who did not receive formal education. Makerere and Ndejje universities and Pepsi Cola have also joined the expo.

“Education resonates well with the bank because there is no way you can drive growth without human resources,” Juuko says.

“It is one lever you need to pull to drive economic growth. All teachers and learners need to be supported and that is what we will reiterate at the expo,” she adds.

With just one day before the expo opens, the bank says it is assembling a number of products and interventions to showcase such as the National School Championship scheme that seeks to nurture entrepreneurs.

Dr Edward Kitoogo, the UICT head, says the expo is an opportunity for the institution to help the public learn about its competency-based training to retool Ugandans to participate in the digital economy.

“We are retooling people in machine learning, digital marketing and business process outsourcing, and the expo is important for us to show Ugandans the opportunities and innovations in ICT,” he adds.

Dr Patrick Byakatonda, the head of DIT, says his institution will have on display projects that schools have so far produced under the revised lower secondary curriculum.

“Students are developing products in schools such as soap and refrigerators to help farmers. Some students are now producing food for the schools because of these curriculum reforms,” he adds.

Byakatonda says the expo presents an opportunity for parents and learners to enhance their understanding of the curriculum reforms through the products on display and training workshops as well as question and answer sessions.


The ongoing curriculum reforms form part of the content of the training workshops that will be conducted during the expo.

There will also be experts discussing early childhood development education, parenting, career guidance and counselling, vocational education and opportunities in higher institutions of learning, including universities.

A team from the Presidential Industrial Project will share opportunities in the vocational training hubs that have been set up in various regions. The scheme, which targets individuals without formal education, according to Raymond Kamugisha, one of the project managers, has seen several people skilled in various vocational fields.

“This expo will be an opportunity for us to talk to more people about the levels of training we are offering and how some can get a certificate equivalent to the Senior Four and a higher diploma to join university,” Kamugisha says.

“We want people to know, for example, that now you can even join the army with a certificate from the training hubs,” he adds.

Dr Adnan Khan, the CEO of Medipal International Hospital, says the education expo will give them a chance to showcase health innovations and how actors in the education sector can insure themselves against health-related risks.

“We all need to always be ready to handle disasters such as epidemics. No education system can be complete without taking care of the learners’ health,” he adds.

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