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Poor Rural Families Are Missing Out on Televised Classes – Activists

Parents and activists in Kabale District have criticized the Preparedness and Response Plan by the Ministry of Education in the wake of the ongoing closure of schools, saying that it is only helping learners in urban areas and those in rich families.

Education Minister Janet Museveni on Monday evening extended the scheduled opening date of primary, secondary schools and Universities. The development followed the extension of the lock down in the fight against the spread of the Corona virus (COVID -19).

The ministry has since developed a Preparedness and Response Plan to enable the continuity of learning during the lockdown. According to the new plan, learners will be taught on radio and TV.

However, several parents and activists in Kabale district say the Ministry’s plan seems to be leaving out those in rural areas.

Tindyebwa Joseph, a resident of Rubanda district who is also   the FDC Deputy National Secretary General in Charge of Policy and Research says last week the Ministry promised to distribute reading materials to parents through parish chiefs but wondered when and how this will be done yet many don’t have means of transport.

Tindyebwa appealed to the ministry of education to at least purchase past papers and text books and give them toLC1 Chairpersons through the district Covid-19 task force rather than wasting money on radios and televisions which are listened by the well-off families

Fr Gaetano Batanyenda, the Kitanga parish priest who is also appropriator of St. Cleria School in Rukiga District said many families don’t have a radio or Television and thinks the plan won’t benefit majority of parents.

He added that this is just time and peoples’ tax wastage

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Byamukama Simon, the executive director Let Us Save Uganda Development initiative (LUSUDI), a non- governmental based in Kabale says the system would be better if it is preceded by sensitization of the public on how to apply it to benefit both learners in rural and urban areas.

Orikurungi Benjamin, a resident of Rushaki Cell in Kabale municipality explains that learners are currently active in gardens with parents and it’s difficult to give them free time to follow the teaching on radio stations.

When contacted on the matter, Mr Filbert Baguma, the Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU) general secretary told our reporter that the Ministry should also  consider the special needs, for example those with hearing impairment because even if you talk on radio, they will not hear and those with sight problems because they will not be able to see what you are demonstrating.

He added that If the ministry doesn’t address this, it will create a gap between those who can’t afford this new technology hence becoming wastage of resources.

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