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Uganda has launched Africa's first 'e-school' as part of a continent-wide initiative to bring information and communication technologies (ICTs) to rural African schools.

The initiative is led by the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). It is designed to teach African schoolchildren modern technological skills so they can participate in today's communication-based society.

Bugulumbya Secondary School, in Uganda's remote Kamuli district, is the first e-school, it was announced on 18 July.

As part of the initiative, the school has been equipped with computers, and Internet and mobile phone connections.

In addition, the initiative will create an Africa-wide satellite network that will connect participating schools both to the Internet and to points within each country from which educational content will be broadcast to the schools.

The initiative includes provisions for training teachers and for developing the school curriculum to incorporate knowledge of ICTs.

It will be piloted in five other schools in Uganda, as well as six schools each in Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa.

The programme's goal is to transform all African secondary schools into e-schools within five years, and all primary schools within ten years. This adds up to more than 600,000 e-schools.

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