By Kabajogya Alice
Since the closure of schools on 20th March 2020, by a presidential directive, about 15 million students from Nursery to tertiary institutions went home. By the time of closure most schools had not prepared for the lockdown plan since it was with immediate effect according to the presidents directives. Since then the ministry of Education has devised plans of how students can study at home especially during the lock down period. A number of plans were hatched up by the ministry of health which include the following, study on TV where different students from different learning institutions were given a slot on different TV at different times studying different subjects.
Schools introduced watsaap lines where they could share different subjects on line including notes and questions, also radio programs were introduced to handle different lessons at different times for specific classes, News papers also started producing educational materials and put different days for different clases for both primary and secondary students. All these as channels of reaching out to the 15 million students who are in Covid -19 lockdown.
According to National Housing and population survey 2016-2017 show that only 5.2 % and 17.4 % Ugandan house hold own radios and TVs respectively. While 90 percent of the students out of the class cannot access computers at home, 82% cannot access internet and therefore cannot access digital books that are advertised on TVs . The TV and radio Lessons therefore are more teachers centered which does not allow student participation and also this can not accommodate the slow learners because of the speed used by teachers. Also the students with disability were not catered for under this arrangement thus living more behind.
Parents literacy level is at 70 % and at that no parents can guide learners on educational materials that the government has distributed during the Covod-19 lockdown, therefore parents who can read and guide students at home are very few. This can well blend with parental involvement in children’s education which has been a big issue raised by school administrators.
As the lockdown continues, there is need for the government to Create feedback platforms for learners especially those in the rural areas through heads of schools, and also factor in children with disability and how they can be helped to continue with studies despite the lockdown. The assessment materials need to be sent to heads of schools instead of Local council ones, heads of schools have direct contacts with their students through parents profiles than local council ones.