Radios are mediums, invest in teachers

Thursday June 25 2020

In the current digital era, the goal should be

In the current digital era, the goal should be to put technology tools in the hands of every teacher but not to replace the teachers with technology tools. FILE PHOTO 

By Emmanuel Kimulia

The Ministry of Education has rightly thought about ensuring that learning continues despite closure of schools.
Conducting lessons on TV and radio is a welcome addition to the teaching methods in our country despite the challenges of reaching the rural learners with limited access to these technologies.

However, there is a need to invest more in the teacher rather than the mediums of delivery to achieve sustainable outcomes in learning.

Teachers are irreplaceable and essential to learning, yet there is little effort to build their capacity to use modern technology and platforms for facilitating learning or engage them to facilitate learning during this lockdown.

Uganda has more than 12 million school going children. The 2016 Annual School Census indicates that the total number of teachers in both government-aided and private primary schools was 202,617 while those in secondary schools were 58,100 bringing the total to 260,717 teachers in the country.

If the government insists on purchasing the 10 million radio sets and the 137,466 TV sets to promote remote learning, it will spend more than Shs380b and only effectively engage less than 0.5 per cent of the national teachers population.

In the current digital era, the goal should be to put technology tools in the hands of every teacher but not to replace the teachers with technology tools.

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Technology tools will never perform the role of a teacher perfectly but great teachers will always utilise technology to promote learning.

Given the special role of teachers in the learning process, any learning process that does not employ a sufficient number of teachers and equip them adequately is destined to yield less or no fruits. It is safe to say that the Shs380billion investment in radios and TVs will have little value for money if the teachers are not up to speed with how to effectively deliver lessons through these channels and other digital platforms.

If we are to achieve quality education, we should explore the possibility of having teachers engage children at home in clusters that allow for social distancing and prevention of Covid-19. They can as well review progress with workbooks and other lessons delivered on radio and TV.

Every school should be tasked to review their registers and accord every teacher a minimum of 25 pupils to support , this implies that every teacher supports only five different pupils per day. Just like the health workers, teachers should be viewed as essential workers.

emmanuelkimuli11@yahoo.com

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