Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Universities and other institutions of higher learning have been allowed to implement e-learning programs having established standard guidelines for the teaching approach to ensure continued learning during the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown.
The Ministry of Education and Sports recently advised universities which had embraced the use of remote collaboration tools to halt the process and await guidelines that would guarantee the effectiveness of the approach.
Now, the Education Minister Janet Kataaha Museveni has given them a green light to implement the programmes. She made the pronouncement on Friday evening in a brief televised address about the Ministry’s preparedness and response to COVID-19 pandemic. But she hastens to add that the said mode of learning can only be implemented on condition that no student will be excluded.
“Allow me to observe that one of the critical requirements in these guidelines for e-learning is that no continuing learner should be left behind or excluded from learning when a learning institution starts implementing the e-learning approach,” she said. According to the Minister, guidelines will be availed to the public by the executive director of the National Council for Higher Education.
The development comes at a time when several universities are adopting e-learning options to bridge the gap brought about by the closure of educational institutions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic despite the high technology divide, internet accessibility challenges and limited access to the ICT equipment.
Meanwhile, the minister re-echoed that the ministry is working on a comprehensive sector-wide agenda to guide the delivery of formal education through e-learning mechanisms because it has implications on the quality of education for the country and its citizens.
She however notes that the ministry will ensure continuity of learning for all students in primary and secondary school through the already said homeschooling programme which will see the government giving out a radio set for every household, two television sets for every village and self-study materials.
“We are in advanced stages of developing home-schooling study materials for the entire primary and secondary education levels. We will provide printed learning materials for all subjects and all learners. In addition to that, all lessons in the printed materials form shall also be broadcasted through the radio and TV stations,” Janet stated.
In preparation for the re-opening of schools, the minister noted that they have already received sector-specific standard operating procedures from their health counterparts which are going to determine the sector’s readiness to re-open institutions of learning.