The hope for a sooner reopening of schools seems to be lost after the Minister of Education and Sports who doubles as First Lady Janet Museveni said that there is a need to exercise patience on the matter and called on Universities to adopt e-learning.
While addressing the nation on Friday evening at State House, Janet said that what the Government is learning from COVID-19 local trends and other countries is that reopening of schools must be halted.
“What we are learning from our local trends of COVID-19 as well as experiences from countries that had closed but later reopened institutions of learning is that we need to exercise patience and self-restraint on the matter of normal resumption of institutions learning,” she said.
In the meantime, Janet said that her Ministry of Education is strengthening its interventions for continuity of learning during the closure of institutions.
“For primary and secondary education levels, we are delivering continuity of learning through radio and TV stations around the country. In addition, Government provided printed learning materials for 25% of learners for the start as we wait for more funds to scale up the intervention.”
She added that as a Ministry, they will continue with the implementation of continuity of learning for primary and secondary education levels through homeschooling and distance learning approach of radio and TV.
Universities and Tertiary Institutions
On the issue of reopening institutions of higher learning, Janet said that the Education Ministry’s departments of Business Technical Vocational Education and Training (BTVET), Teacher and Instructor Education and Training (TIET) are working with Principals of institutions to generate home study learning models and materials for continuity of learning.
She advised universities and tertiary institutions to adopt e-learning.
“It is our desire as a sector that all universities and tertiary institutions do e-learning as soon as possible. In this regard, the Ministry has already put in place guidelines for implementation of e-learning,” she said.
A number of universities such as Makerere, Uganda Christian University (UCU) and International schools have since adopted e-learning.
President Museveni ordered the closure of all educational institutions in March 2020 in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
Months later, the President directed the Cabinet subcommittee to be constituted into the issue of reopening institutions of learning.
The Committee had representation from various Ministries such as Health, Local Government, ICT and National Guidance, Science Technology and Innovation. The Committee also consulted with a technical team of scientists that is advising Government on its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Janet said that after considering all the views, the Government resolved that it was not right to reopen institutions of learning.
“After taking into consideration all the views, we resolved that the time was not yet right to have learners go back to their institutions of learning; not even yet for candidate classes as we had earlier thought. It was based on this guidance that Cabinet advised the President to maintain the closure of institutions of learning for another month as he (President) communicated to the nation,” said Janet.