UNESCO launches Digital Library Initiative in Northern Uganda
The UNESCO Digital Library Initiative, Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning (RACHEL), focuses on “Building a culture of reading, self-learning and research through digital media.” RACHEL- -was launched in Ariwa Secondary School in Bidi Bidi Refugee Settlement and Lodonga Core Primary Teachers’ College (PTC) in Yumbe District, Northern Uganda on 11 March 2021. The events were held in the respective institutions and presided over by the Director of Basic and Secondary Education of the Ministry of Education and Sports, Mr. Ismael Mulindwa, representing the Permanent Secretary. Also, in attendance were the Secretary-General of Uganda National Commission for UNESCO, commissioners of Ministry of Education & Sports, teachers and students. The UNESCO team was led by the Chief of Education Sector, Mr. Saidou Sireh Jallow, representing the Director of UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa.
Prior to the handover ceremony, on February 25, 2021, the teachers from the two beneficiary schools were virtually training on the utilization of the digital libraries and how the device works. The digital library is powered by a device called Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning (RACHEL). RACHEL constitutes a digital device and a combination of freely available software and content modules that make it easy to bring open educational resources into places with limited or no internet access and power. The two devices were handed over to the school and teacher training college.
Successfully integration of digital library in the teaching and learning processes library will go a long way in enhancing research and promoting a culture of reading amongst teachers and learners leading to the realization of the SDG 4 targets. The institutional heads of the two beneficiary schools expressed their gratitude to UNESCO and to the Ministry of Education and Sports of Uganda for considering their institutions as pilot beneficiaries. This initiative aims to ensure access to quality education for persons in vulnerable situations, with particular attention to crisis-affected populations.