The Government has started registering primary and secondary school teachers who will support the new initiative of teaching learners from home while the education ministry prepares content for the year.
The exercise, which is co-ordinated by the local government ministry, targets all qualified teachers in both private and government-aided schools.
In a letter dated June 10, Mr. Ben Kumumanya, the local government permanent secretary, directed all chief administrative officers and town clerks at municipal councils to co-ordinate the exercise. According to a copy of the letter, which the New Vision obtained, the local government administrators were given two weeks to submit the names of teachers in their districts.
“As you are aware, teachers are now at home following the closure of schools due to the coronavirus pandemic. They need to be reached in order to assist in the current initiatives to support the learning of children, through the various methods put in place by Government,” Kumumanya said in his letter. He noted that teachers can only support the current government programmes if they can easily be located in time of need.
The teachers are required to submit their names, current villages of residence, subjects taught and schools where they teach. They are also required to indicate whether they are working with private or government aided schools. The local government administrators are tasked with recording the details of all learners right from primary one to senior six in all villages.
Dr Chrysostom Muyingo, the state minister for higher education, confirmed the development.
While addressing journalists yesterday, Muyingo said: “We all know that Government is developing reading materials for learners. Therefore, we need our teachers to assist in learning.”
He made the remarks during the release of the November/December 2019 end of programme examinations results for technical national certificate and business programmes. This was at the UBTEB headquarters in Ntinda, Kampala.
DEAD YEAR OR NOT?
When asked, the officials declined to comment whether developing content for a whole year is an indication of a potential dead year.
Grace Baguma, the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) director, said the plan is part of the education ministry’s framework for the provision of continued learning while the country is in lockdown because of COVID-19.
Alex Kakooza, the education ministry permanent secretary, noted that developing content does not imply the schools will not open. He said the ministry wants all learners in all schools to be at the same level of learning.
“We know that some schools rush through the syllabus. By the time we closed, some schools were ahead of others, some were handling term two work which is wrong.
“We want to have uniform content so that when we reopen schools, we are at the same level,” Kakooza said.
NCDC TO DEVELOP CONTENT
On March 18, President Yoweri Museveni ordered the closure of all academic institutions as part of the measures to control the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The education ministry has since instructed the National Curriculum Development Center (NCDC) to develop reading materials for a year.
Grace Baguma, the NCDC Director said: “We have been given 35 days to complete the assignment. Our curriculum experts, who are themselves teachers, have already embarked on the exercise.”
She said the content will cover syllabuses for all classes right from Primary One to Senior Six. The content will be in four modes of delivery: hard copies, online, audio (radio) and video (TV).
Baguma said hard copies will be printed and distributed manually while others will be hosted online, on the ministry’s web portal.
“NCDC designs the syllabuses used to teach in schools. Therefore, we know what should have been covered before the closing of schools,” she said. ‹‹ Developing content does not imply schools will not open.
What President Museveni said about education in yesterday’s speech
During his 22nd June address on COVID19 related issues, president Museveni said as follows regarding Education:
As far as the Educational Institutions are concerned, nobody who cares about Uganda or our children is talking about re-opening them as of now. It is just too risky. I am very hopeful on the front of the vaccine and treatment. There is a recent talk of the drug Dexamethasone that is very abundant because our doctors have been using it as an anti inflammatory drug to treat brain inflammation, allergy, asthma and other conditions. Our doctors are studying it and the search for the candidate drugs with anti-viral activities is in high gear. We have given them all the support.
With the school population, let us be patient. In the meantime, we are going to launch a big long distance education programme, certainly through radios. We are going to give free radio-sets to all the homesteads. Radios will soon be distributed. Also, the printed educational materials will be provided. I was personally, in favour of the free TV sets per village for the learners. The scientists are studying this on account of avoiding crowding by the learners in the villages, which may be a source of spreading the disease. They said the radio-set was better because it was per household. It is individual homestead based.