The National Research and Education Network for Uganda (RENU) has underlined the intent to intensify its engineer capacity building programme in the year 2018 after releasing an impressive schedule that will see the NREN conduct at least 7 training and Direct Engineering Assistance (DEA) activities this year.

RENU is one of the leading NRENs within the UbuntuNet Alliance region with a robust engineer capacity building programme which the NREN conducts in partnership with various regional organisations including UbuntuNet Alliance, the Network Start-Up Resource Center (NSRC) and the Internet Society (ISOC).

In 2017, RENU organised and conducted a total of 4 training workshops (one online, 3 residential) and 4 Direct Engineering Assistance (DEA) sessions and building from that, the East African NREN will this year hold 4 training workshops (1 online, 3 residential) for its engineers in Network Operations, Federation and Identity Management, Campus Network Wireless and Campus Network Monitoring and Management.

On top of these training workshops, RENU will also conduct 3 Direct Engineering Assistance activities in 2018 in collaboration with NSRC and UbuntuNet Alliance.

According to a schedule available on the RENU website the first activity of the year is an introduction to Network Operations online training workshop to be held from 5-23 February 2018 facilitated by RENU and ISOC followed by a Federation and Identity Management workshop that will run from 9-13 April 2018 to be facilitated by RENU, NSRC and UbuntuNet Alliance.

The second half of the year will see RENU conduct four more capacity building activities with a Campus Network Wireless (CNW) workshop running from 16-20 July 2018 to be followed by a DEA from 23-26 July 2018. The two activities will also be conducted with assistance from NSRC and RENU and so will the last two capacity building activities of the year, the Campus Network Monitoring and Management and a final DEA to be held from 15-19 October and 22-25 October 2018 respectively.

According to RENU Chief Technical Officer, Nicholas Mbonimpa, the workshops and DEAs are part of the long term objectives of building the capacity of Research and Education Network engineers.

For the past 3 years, RENU had a curriculum intended to develop the foundation skills of computer networking and systems engineering among the technical staff of its member institutions. Starting 2018, we believe a reasonable percentage of the technical staff are now at a good level, and they now understand the importance of having a robust and scalable network. That is why the outlook for 2018 is different.

We now want our member institutions to appreciate the advanced network services that will ride on top of their now better implemented networks, for example services like the RENU Identity Federation (RIF) and eduroam. These two services are very good enablers of collaboration but not many people appreciate their functionality and applicability. As RENU therefore, some of the courses from this year’s capacity building curriculum will help us a great deal in deploying these services in the various campuses, without forcing them on people,” said Mbonimpa.

He said the training workshops are open to all member institutions of RENU as well as prospective trainees from other NRENs that can attend the workshops on self funding basis.

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