The Cabinet of Uganda yesterday (Monday, 15th June) had a meeting to resolve a way forward for re-opening of universities and schools, and basing on reliable information from an inside source, it was resolved that government would buy 10M radios for students all across the country.
However, a number of other issues regarding continuity of studies amongst students were discussed and here we bring you a deeper look at the essential points noted in the meeting.
State Minister for Higher Education Dr. JC Muyingo revealed that government has resolved to roll out a phased reopening of the education system with priority going on 100 tertiary institutions and 50 Universities in the country. That these are easier to manage without breaching COVID-19 measures relating to physical distancing requirements because they have fewer student numbers compared to Primary and Secondary schools.
The President says in total Uganda has 15m children under the schooling system, majority of whom, are under pre-University institutions.
Dr Muyingo also said that post-secondary school academic institutions also have more spacious accommodation facilities (Halls of residence and hostels) than secondary schools making it easier to observe physical distancing requirements. This means that upon reopening you can have a situation where all of them are confined in one place.
He says that even the original proposal to reopen only candidate classes was shelved because it is simply not workable reason being, it would affect the entire schools promotions system. For instance, what happens to children in S1 who remain unpromoted having had a dead year yet those of P7 went on to sit their exams and are ready to enroll as S1s? The same applies to S4s and even S6.
Dr. Muyingo adds that since that puzzle can’t be resolved, the plan to reopen candidates’ classes only is permanently off the table. Muyingo makes it clear that exploring distance learning is the only option available so that through purchase of 10m radio sets and 137,466 solar-enabled TV sets (for the 68,000 villages) can be relied upon to enable the audio and visual learning of the children and students involved in pre-University academic institutions across Uganda.
Whereas each household will be given a radio set free of charge purchased by Governement of Ugandan (that in total will require Shs380bn for the 10m radios), the TV sets will be fewer with each of the 68,000 villages.