The recovery of northern Uganda in the area of education continues with more young readers now able to read and write.
For years a critical case frowned upon by worrying Education ministry officials, the region’s school goers are gradually coming into their own, competing on the national stage with their contemporaries in the central, eastern and western regions.
One of the ways confidence has been restored to the classroom in the region is through the use of alternative methods of teaching, newspapers being one of them. For the last three years, schools in Gulu, Pader, Kitgum and elsewhere, have embraced the use of newspapers in the classroom to remarkable effect.
The Newspapers in Education programme, conducted by a slew of supporting organisations in cinjunction with Daily Monitor, has been running for four years now.
Children in schools across the country receive their own newspapers every Monday of the school term. The schools are sponsored by organisations and individuals.
With 80 per cent of Uganda’s population rural-based and with little access to books, NiE has proven to be the perfect solution.
“One child receives the newspaper but their parents and eventually the whole community benefits,” Dr Gitahi Githinji, managing director of Monitor Publications said at the beginning of the year.
Despite traces of the past political instability in northern Uganda, some schools have been reported to be doing better than others, the improvement being attributed to the schools’ involvement in the NiE programme.
On the July 21, monitors from ZOA Refugee Care - Uganda visited NiE schools in Pader and Agago districts to find out how the schools on the programme are fairing in terms of receiving the newspapers, reading and implementation of the programme.
ZOA is one of the partners is one of the partners on the Newspapers in Education programme. Others are World Vision Uganda, Citibank and Hima Cement.
The Mbale Area Federation of Communities and the Busia Area Federation of Communities also contribute in the sponsorship of thousands of children across Uganda.