By Guest Writer
OPINION: In March 2020, Uganda closed all learning institutions due to outbreak of covid-19 pandemic as the way of containing its spread.
The learners and teachers had to remain engaged through embracement of E-learning that partially benefited the country as learners from rural areas were unable to benefit from the service.
This was because of inaccessibility to computers, smart phones, network and the printed learning materials.
During covid era, many learners got exposed to many practices such as teen pregnancies, sexual violence, domestic violence, child labor since they had stayed home for almost two years.
In January 2022, learning institutions were ordered to open and more than 40 schools in Kampala capital city had closed for good, some were sold off to clear the loans and others were made depots for beverages.
In August 2021, the Uganda National Planning Authority projected that 4.5 million of learners would not return to school because of the vast effects caused by the pandemic since most of them had joined the labor market and had started earning some money for taking care of themselves and supporting their families.
This made them violate the right to education that is a powerful tool for growth and development of a country. Others failed to go back to school in the fear of being giggled at by the fellows as they were breast feeding.
All this made the learner’s enrolment rate to drop down especially in rural based schools where accessing the classrooms was already a problem prior the outbreak of covid-19 for example, in Karamoja, the learners were studying under the trees and lessons were seen being interrupted by rain.
It is not only Covid-19 outbreak that has interrupted the learning institutions but also Ebola. Recently, Ebola Sudan broke in, in the districts of Mubende, Kyegegwa, Kassanda and parents were forced to withdraw their children from school in the fear of them contracting the disease.
The withdraw of learners from school for a week affected the struggling teachers since it is a promotional term that requires extra attention.
The S.4 candidates that are to start their final exams on 17th of this month plus the P.7 candidates that are to start theirs on 8th and 9th of November were not spared.
With all this happening, the government should invest more in digital infrastructures to enable both the learners and teachers to remain engaged since the pandemics are uncertainties that cannot be predicted, and this will help in bridging the digital gaps that were discovered during covid era.
Besides the investment in online learning, the government have a duty of building more sustainable learning infrastructures especially in the regions of Karamoja where students are still studying under the trees and the existing infrastructures should be improved in all regions since the teaching space can be too small to accommodate the enrolled numbers. This will help in social distancing incase the pandemics are to break in unexpectedly.
Conclusively, more social workers and professional counselors need to be employed in schools and communities to offer counselling and guidance to both parents and learners that are always in fear whenever there is an outbreak of pandemic. This will help them to be relieved from the worries of the pandemics.
The author is Hildah Nsimiire, Researcher at Great Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies.
Disclaimer: We as UG Reports Media LTD we welcome any opinion by any one if it’s of a constructive use to the Development of Uganda. All the expressions and opinions in this write-up are not of UG Reports Media LTD but for the author of the article.
Would you wish to share with us your opinion? Please share it on this email email@example.com