Following the closure of institutions of learning in Uganda on 20th March 2020 over the Coronavirus Pandemic, several schools prepared special ‘COVID Holiday Packages’ to keep the learners busy with academics during the break, which were also uploaded to school websites for online access. Now, this week the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) has designed a framework for provision of continued learning during the COVID-19 lockdown in Uganda.
The MoES, worked with a consortium of different stakeholders, under the guidance of the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC), to develop standardized study lesson packages in the core subjects for primary and secondary levels, to be distributed to all learners. In addition, model teachers will continue preparing lessons to be delivered through on radio and television stations across the country. The Ministry of Education is also partnering with Vision Group to print out self-study materials which will be part of the daily news papers and also delivered to homes through District RDCs and village Local Councils (LCs).
Additionally, the materials are being uploaded to the Website of the Ministry of Education and Sports and that of the National Curriculum Development Center. The focus in the short term is provision of remedial lessons targeting topics that could have been covered by learners while at school.
The role of Parents in supporting their children’s Homeschooling
In her recent address on MoES’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the minister of education and First Lady, Janet Museveni appealled to parents and families, to also involve the learners in their home activities to give them skills for life such as cooking, cleaning, gardening, looking after animals, business, Art, music, physical activity, play and sports and many others.
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“Spend time with your learners to develop their values and positive
attitudes. Tell them stories, riddles and other life lessons and support their learning”, she said.
The Ministry of Education and sports has also developed a Parents Boost Guide to support children’s learning at home. I came across it and I have also shared it it on the Sharebility Website here. As a parent, your are advised to follow the following guidelines among others:
- Get up at the same time, go to bed at the appropriate time
- Do not set goals that are too ambitious
- Take some time to plan the schedule. This may seem like a strenuous activity, but it will actually make it easier for you to organize your daily life
- Help your children establish a routine as well, as it provides them with a sense of security and predictability, which are of great importance for the child’s development.
- Plan family activities together with children (talk and make arrangements with your teenagers, and make a schedule with younger children and put it in a visible place; explain the schedule and make sure they understand your expectations so that children would accept it)
- Stick to your usual work/study times
- Find some space where you can work if you are working from home – make it your “office – place for work”, and the same applies to your child if they go to school.
- Eat at certain times, as you are used to
- If you have younger children, schedule your activities into several shorter units instead of big blocks (think about activities packed into 30-minute blocks)
- Tailor the schedule to your child – you know best what your child likes and needs. You know how long they can do a certain activity. Combine joint activities with activities the child will do on their own
- Limit children’s use of digital devices (mobile phones, tablets, computers).
- Use them wisely as tools, e.g. let children use them only for a certain amount of time or save them for times when they are really needed (when you have an important meeting or business conversation or when you are simply exhausted – rely on the help of digital devices then)
- If your child does not sleep during the day, put “time to rest” in the afternoon section of the joint schedule
- It is important for you as a parent to get some rest – you worked during the day and you need to sit down (determine the length of “respite” that suits you). During this time, your children can play, read in silence, or do their homework. You know your child, so you can pick an activity they enjoy (suggest quiet activities such as jigsaw puzzles, blocks, writing a diary). This can be difficult at first, but you can work on it every day, increasing the number of minutes every day. Children, just like parents, need some time to relax. If this is important for you, set this as a priority and set clear boundaries.
- Involve children in housekeeping activities, in line with their age and abilities.
- The activities you do together are important for children to develop a sense of community and the feeling of being needed
- This is the perfect opportunity to introduce a joint book-reading routine – all household members spend time together with everyone reading their own book
- Watching a film together can be a joint activity at the end of the day
- Be flexible – don’t always stick to the schedule blindly, go with the flow sometimes. If children are having a nice time playing, don’t interrupt them just because the schedule says it’s snack time.
- This is a great time for your child to master the skill of playing on their own if they haven’t already. Start by motivating them or suggesting: “Look, you can throw a party for your dinosaurs!”
- Limit the use of mobile phones because they can be a distraction. Lead by example – you also shouldn’t spend time on your mobile phone.
Other Platforms to support Homeschooling in Uganda
Many schools are publishing digital educational resources on eLearning sections of their websites. Several individuals and companies have also established online platforms for eLearning and resource sharing.
On my blog, I recently compiled a list of some of the popular eLearning and Educational resource sharing systems which can be used by parents and their children for homeschooling and below I republish the list:
Resourceful School Websites
- Gayaza High School e-tutoring Website,
- Kings College Budo Website (Academics Section) and
- Midfield Secondary School Website (E Learning Section).
- Standard High School Zzana (STAHIZA) e-resources.
- WHITE ANGELS HIGH SCHOOL KALAGALA – E-Learning.
- MOTHERCARE SCHOOLS WEB DOWNLOADS.
- Nabisunsa Girls Secondary School elearning.
- KAWEMPE MUSLIM SECONDARY SCHOOL Download Center.
- Light Academy Nursery and Primary School Website [Holiday Work]
- Light Academy Secondary School E-Light
- St Lawrence Schools and Colleges Website [Holiday Work]
- ST. ALOYSIUS SSS NABBINGO (STALOS) ONLINE LIBRARY
Educational Resource Sharing (Crowd sourcing) platforms
Educational Resource Repositories
- NCDC Website Publications
- Online Kolibri for Uganda Schools
- The Digital Teachers Platform,
- TutorView Platform,
- WALKTRACK EDU Platform,
- Revise Now Platform,
- ExamUganda Platform,
- Mwalimu Learning Platform, and
Platforms with courses for students by Ugandan School teachers:
- Somesa Uganda,
- Yaaka Digital Learning Network,
- iLearn Africa Study Platform and
- the new Magezi Academy
- the new Schools Uganda Elearning
Individual Ugandan Blogs with Educational resources and classwork:
- Mubula Resource Center of Excellence,
- Lucky Coders Uganda Blog…
- Fresh Teacher’s e-Learning Platform
- plus more Teacher WordPress blogs highlighted in this article on the ICT Teachers Website.
Many teachers are also using platforms like WhatsApp, Telegram and Google Classroom to interact and directly share digital learning materials with their learners:
- This is the most popular Telegram Channel for Teachers in Uganda with over 1770 subscribers
- And this is another telegram group ‘TEACHERS CONNECT‘ with over 500 teachers
- This one is for ICT Students with some teachers who guide them.
MTN Uganda is further supporting the fight against the spread of the Coronavirus by offering free access to select educational websites to enable parents home school their children. Here is a list of zero-rated educational websites that you can use to learn from home or access for your kids to keep tabs on their education.
- The Top e-Learning Platforms Transforming Africa
- Top 20 Global Homeschool Resources
- Open Educational Resources (OERs)
- Digital Science For You (Cyber School Program)
Several Television Stations in town are also airing lessons to facilitate homeschooling in Uganda
The growing trend of distributed heterogeneous educational resource sharing and eLearning systems can realize the inter-connection, inter-communication and sharing, reduce the cost of educational resources and speed up the process of access to resources for teaching and learning. Consequently, the time and cost that would have been incurred by an institution is sharable amongst the partners through a give-and-take commitment. This is the reason why several countries have adopted the norm of being part of educational networks and associations.
Know of other Ugandan Educational digital resource sharing and E-learning systems not mentioned here? Let us know in the comments!