Schools to remain closed as government embraces e-learning

What you need to know:

  • The First Lady said they are developing e-learning guidelines and universities and tertiary institutions were free to conduct distance teaching as long as no student is left behind.
  • In the meantime, she said her ministry had received standard operating procedures from ministry of Health, advising how education institutions will reopen but which they are to study before submitting to cabinet for guidance.

Education Minister Janet Museveni said it’s not the right time to reopen schools and revealed that her ministry is developing an ICT and e-learning framework which will guide education institutions on distance learning.

In the meantime, she added it was still unsafe for government to reopen schools after observing the coronavirus trends within the country and picking lessons from other countries which had tried to reopen but closed again after a resurgence of the virus.

As such, they agreed to continue facilitating home-schooling as they monitor the situation. She asked parents to assist their children in this period when they are at home to learn a skill but also follow the study materials that government will provide in print and broadcast to aid continuity of learning.

Ms Janet Museveni clarified that her ministry has not prohibited e-learning and reiterated that the first phase of distance learning was hampered with lack of radios, televisions, few printed materials and limited knowledge from parents to guide the children.

“There has been a misconception in the media that the Ministry of Education and Sports prohibited e-learning. This is absolutely not true; we cannot be the ones banning what we are promoting. A number of institutions including Uganda Christian University, Makerere University and several International Schools in Basic and Secondary levels have been utilizing e-learning, even before the outbreak of Covid-19,” Ms Museveni’s statement reads in part. This was her third address to the nation since the outbreak of the pandemic.

While the government offered to supply radios to all homesteads to supplement the e-learning, it is not clear how children whose parents are illiterate will be helped to grasp concepts.

The first materials government developed concentrated on revision but the new phase will cover all topics, according to Ms Janet Museveni.

"We resolved that time wasn't yet right to have learners back not even candidate classes. We need to exercise patience and self-restraint. In the meantime, Ministry of Education is working on strengthening e-learning during school closure. Government has focused on facilitating learners learn on their own," she said in televised address to the nation on Friday night.

The First Lady said they are developing e-learning guidelines and universities and tertiary institutions were free to conduct distance teaching as long as no student is left behind.

"What we are doing as a ministry is putting forward an agenda to guide the delivery of e-learning education because it has implications on the quality of education of our country. Once ICT and e-learning framework is complete, we shall communicate it to the public," She said.

In the meantime, she said her ministry had received standard operating procedures from ministry of Health, advising how education institutions will reopen but which they are to study before submitting to cabinet for guidance.

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