Local leaders in Bukomansimbi District have rejected self-study materials provided by the government, saying they do not correspond with the number of learners in the area.
As one of the initiatives to respond to the lockdown and ensure continuity of learning, the Ministry of Education developed self-study materials for all primary and secondary school learners in all the core subjects to keep them busy and engage their ability, skills and knowledge while at home.
But village leaders that had turned up at Kawoko Parish headquarters to pick the self-study materials early this week turned rowdy and asked the parish chairperson, Mr Buruhan Ssebandeke, to return the materials to the district because they were not enough.
Mr John Bosco Wavamunno, the chairperson of Mikunyu Village, said they registered a total of 5,129 learners from more than 890 households, but only received materials for a quarter of the number.
“We have no answers to give to parents because we promised to give them self-study materials for their children during this lockdown,” he said on Wednesday.
Mr Muhammad Mbugga, the chairperson of Kawoko Village, said they received only 481 booklets to serve 19 villages.
“Imagine, Senior One students in the 19 villages got only four booklets. How can we distribute those among the many learners?” he asked
For learners in Senior Two and Senior Three, Mr Mbugga said they received only five booklets, while only two booklets were delivered for Senior Five and Senior Six learners.
“Primary level study materials were also few compared with the number of learners, ” he added.
Mr Ssebandeke said the village leaders’ concerns are genuine and that they have resolved to return the study materials to the district.
“I am going to seek the intervention of the Resident District Commissioner so that he asks the Ministry of Education to deliver more study materials for our learners,” he said.
Mr Asuman Hamis Masereka, the district chief administrative officer, advised all village leaders to confirm the number of learners who have missed out on the study materials so that government delivers them to their localities.
“I haven’t received any complaint from the district education officer that the self-study materials were rejected but we aware that the materials are not enough. The Ministry of Education assured us that another batch is yet to be delivered,” he said.
Due to the increasing demand for the self-study materials and considering that the free copies are insufficient in the countryside, several politicians, non-governmental organisations and individuals have come in to bridge the gap. However, in so doing, some reportedly extend the expense to the learners.
Last month, Mr Alex Kakooza, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, issued a circular cautioning all local leaders against selling of the self-study materials.
He said he had received information that some unscrupulous people had resorted to reprinting and photocopying the study materials to sell them to parents and learners at exorbitant rates yet they are offered free of charge.