Government to issue e-learning guidelines over Covid-19

Friday June 19 2020

Pupils attend a computer lesson before Covid-19

Pupils attend a computer lesson before Covid-19 pandemic. PHOTO BY RACHEL MABALA  

By Patience Ahimbisibwe

The government has said it is finalising digital learning guidelines to facilitate the current homeschooling programme.
While releasing the 2019 Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board (UBTEB) results, the State Minister for Higher Education, Dr Chrysostom Muyingo, asked all education institutions to embrace e-learning to support continuity in teaching and learning after all institutions were closed three months ago following coronavirus outbreak.

It was the first set of national examination results to be released virtually at UBTEB office in Ntinda. Dr Muyingo, however, noted that a number of their stakeholders including students and teachers have limited access to internet and lack gadgets like smart phones and computers.
“We are trying to encourage all our institutions to embrace online learning. As government, we are going to make sure facilities are available to as many Ugandans as possible. You are aware of the difficulties we have been having. Not every Ugandan has access to the internet, laptop and the skills to manipulate the facilities. We are trying to make sure these facilities are accessible and skills passed on,” Dr Muyingo said on Wednesday.

At least 82, 356 candidates registered for the December examinations with four times more male students than their female counterparts.
Mr Onesmus Oyesigye, the UBTEB executive secretary, reported that 79 per cent of the students that sat for the Technical National certificates successfully passed and can either start working or upgrade their academic credentials.
Another batch of students accounting for 74 per cent passed business diploma and certificate programmes.

He appealed to government for more funding to enable them fully implement the revised competence based curriculum which was rolled out about five years ago.
“Retooling of instructors should be continuous to match with competence based assessment,” Mr Oyesigye said.
As a deterrent measure, Dr Silver Mugisha, the UBTEB board chairperson, said 52 students will have to repeat a semester after their results were cancelled over examination malpractice.
Dr Mugisha noted that there are a number of people managing institutions but without skills and asked government to ensure the skilling programme to target every Ugandan for improved services.

The ministry of Education BTVET commissioner, Dr Safinah Museene, observed that some of their institutions were already using a blended approach to conduct teaching where videos demonstrating an activity are posted on the WhatsApp groups for illustration for students currently at home.
“After appreciating that Covid-19 is not going tomorrow, we need to plan another mechanism of training. We are going digitalisation. We are developing a digital agenda for education. Once this is done, it will help us to map out how to go forward. We now have meetings online and lessons have started taking place on zoom,” Dr Museene said.