ICT Developments at Makerere University

Dear Staff,

DICTS through support mainly from the Sida project,has been able to
implement a number of ICT projects this year aimed at supporting the
university's core functions of research and learning among others through;

(ICT-Infrastructural Developments)

1) The deployment of the Wireless Hotspots project which will increase and
improve access to university and online based educational resources.Some
of you may have seen a Radio mast being constructed behind the
University's main library which will be used to relay the wireless signal
(Wi-Fi) to a wider area of the University as well as boost the GSM/mobile
signal strength on campus.It's worth noting that the single mast,will not
be able to relay Wi-Fi signals across the entire University due to
interference by buildings and foliage cover at Mak campus.
Therefore,boosting the signal strength as well as installation of a second
mast will be required for total coverage of Makerere's main campus and
this will depend on the levels of funding available for ICT Developments
within the University.The current project should go live by end of January
2016 should we experience no hiccups along the way (licensing issues etc).

2) The improvement of wireless-access at student halls of residence:-This
project will complement the wider wireless hotspots project above by
increasing access to University and online educational resources to
students at their halls of residence through the installation of wireless
access points.The project is already underway and should be completed
before end of year.

3) The installation of thin-client computers at internet-Kiosks: A total
of 30 thin-clients and a server were procured and distributed among-st
Internet-Kiosks as follows; Senate internet-kiosk (15 thin-clients),School
of education (10 thin-clients) and college of Health Sciences (5 thin
clients).The internet Kiosks provide access to Makerere educational and
online resources for students without personal computers or smart devices.

4) Upgrading the University-wide storage system:-The University-wide
storage system at DICTS was recently upgraded to a better and more
resilient high performance Net-App storage system (proprietary solution)
with storage capacity of 21 Terabytes.This will result into better storage
and management of University Data as well as improved mail quotas in the
long run.

5) Upgrading the fire suppression system for DICTS server-room and data
center which should automatically extinguish fires should they occur in
the server room.

6) Improvement of Campus network backbone and network services (Network
Optimization);Earlier on experience for local services besides Internet
had been poor due a number of factors including; the multiple unit based
firewalls,poor edge network termination devices and outdated logical
network infrastructure. A new campus logical infrastructure has been
implemented and the greatest number of unit based bottlenecks have been
eliminated for better local experience and in-turn better general

7) Upgrading of the main network Gateway router for better network user
experience and better services.The high performance gateway router was
donated by the Network Startup Resource Center at the University of Oregon
(NSRC) through RENU.

(ICT-Systems Developments)

8) The coordination and implementation of the government Computerized
Educational Management and Accounting System (CEMAS).The government of
Uganda through the ministry of Finance is currently implementing an
e-campus management solution through the CEMAS project and DICTS through
it's director is the coordinating unit for Makerere University. CEMAS will
cover academic records (AR),Financial records and Human resource records
of the University and will integrate with other University information
systems through the Integrated Management Information Systems (IMIS)
framework that was developed by DICTS and approved by the University
council for all University Information Systems.

9) The development of the Mak-Pay system that automates the transfer of
tuition payments from the bank to the University's financial information
system (FINIS) and eliminates human intervention between the two portals
(bank and FINIS) thereby creating transparency. Mak-pay will be integrated
with CEMAS the new government system.

10) The procurement and deployment of the Electronic Document and Records
Management System (EDRMS) at the Human resource central registry.The
project will digitize active Makerere human resource bio-data and automate
some human resource functions such as agenda management/meeting
scheduling,travel requests and leave requests among others.This project
doesn't overlap implementations of the CEMAS project since it's main
objective is digitization of currently active and subsequent employee
files which is not covered by the CEMAS project.Project implementation is
already underway at the central registry in main building.


11) Increasing the Bandwidth:-Bandwidth has been,and continues to be a
limited resource at Makerere University.However despite the challenges,the
amount of bandwidth used has nearly quadrupled what we had before
connecting to the Research and Educational Network Uganda (RENU) for the
same amount of money (increased from 68 Mbps to the current 240 Mbps as of
1st November 2015).RENU which is a National Research and Educational
Network (NREN),is a non-commercial driven network whose bandwidth prices
drop as more research and educational institutions join the network.All
network traffic from other global NREN's that connect with RENU is treated
as local traffic regardless of location (North-America,Europe,Asia-pacific
and African regions) and this enables academic institutions to collaborate
and share educational resources over the network at no extra cost. A list
of research and educational institutions that can collaborate over the
RENU network will be shared.

The above is an overview of some of the major projects both completed and
underway by the directorate for ICT Support (DICTS) whose implementation
should result into better use of ICTs within the Makerere educational and
business environment.Further updates on ICT developments within the
University will be regularly communicated.

Please feel free to contact DICTS for ICT support and also visit the ICT
knowledge-base for self-help support on several end-user related issues.