As Uganda celebrates 50 years this year, the Newspapers in Education (NiE) programme will also be in a celebratory mood.
Pupils in the different schools on the programme will get a chance to celebrate the Golden Jubilee with the programme, displaying their creativity for eight weeks.
NiE returns two weeks after the school term started. As has happened previously, the programme will introduce a new classroom activity but this time, it will be closely linked to the year’s general theme – celebrating the country’s Golden Jubilee.
Children will be given a platform to write their views on what being a Ugandan means to them and will be encouraged to read the newspaper daily, to get informed on articles, which will run weekly in the NiE pullout.
The programme, initiated by Monitor Publications Limited five years ago, involves corporate bodies partnering with the publisher to take newspapers to classrooms. Children receive newspapers through which they learn about their wider world.
Teachers have also confirmed that the newspaper is an effective tool in the classroom since any subject can be taught with the day’s paper.
Apart from teaching children how to read new words and write better English sentences, the newspaper has been found to be useful in other subjects such as Maths, Science and Social Studies, which are core subjects on the Ugandan syllabus.
NiE has been very useful in far-flung areas of the country where access to good teachers or current information has always been a problem. In rural areas where the teachers are few and the scholastic materials are fewer, a newspaper provided by a corporate firm is usually a blessing.
“This programme has been tried and tested. It has been adopted by more than 3,000 teachers since we started and the testimonies are consistent. NiE is changing the way knowledge is imparted,” Mr Brian Mukisa, the MPL marketing manager, said.
Companies that support the programme include Hima Cement Limited, which brings new schools to the programme every year and whose impact goes far beyond education in Kasese District.
Mbale Area Federation of Communities, ZOA Uganda, Busia Area Federation of Communities, and World Vision Uganda have also been important partners, taking more newspapers to different districts in the country.
MPL Managing Director Alex Asiimwe said: “I believe since this is a special year, we would want to connect the young readers with Uganda’s rich history so that they can have an anchor as they face modern challenges. There are aspects of our history that we should hold proud and should not discard.”
According to MPL Brand Manager Charity Byarugaba, the uniqueness of this year’s programme is that coverage for NiE has grown with new districts like Buliisa.
“Through this year’s activity, the children will be taught to love their country more through a highly-interactive activity with the theme, Oh Uganda,” Ms Byarugaba said as she urged Daily Monitor readers to ensure that their children take part in the activity by purchasing Monday’s paper starting February 13.