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Gov’t faulted for failure to deliver radio sets to households

A pupil listens to lesson on radio after schools were closed. There was a plan to supply homes with radios to improve reach. File Photo

Gulu, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Parents, local leaders and education authorities in Acholi have expressed disappointment at the government for failing to deliver radio sets to households to facilitate long-distance learning.

In July 2020, during the first pandemic lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus disease, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni promised that the government would procure and distribute 10 million radio sets to households countrywide.

The lockdown had led to the closure of all educational institutions of learning right from Kindergartens, Primary and Secondary Schools including Universities and Tertiary Institutions which interrupted normal classes for 1.5 million learners.

Walter Tootika, a parent who doubles as a male councilor for Omel sub county in Gulu district said the radio lessons were not beneficial to learners in the area because several homes do not own radios and they banked their hopes on government’s false promise.

Gulu District Inspector of Schools, Robinson Obwot observed that the government’s failure to deliver radio sets has made it very hard for the education department to monitor and evaluate the impact of the program on the targeted learners.

Christopher Ocan, the Amuru District Inspector of Schools explained that the lack of radios in homesteads has largely failed the good initiative coupled with the negative attitudes of some parents who keep children preoccupied with home chores.

Rev. Vincent Oceng, the Omoro District Education Officer and his counterpart George Ayiba Butele, of Nwoya district asserted that the lack of radio sets in families coupled with limited space for the radio lessons has made the radio lessons less beneficial to the target learners.

The education experts also faulted the government for not involving them during the initial planning process and implementation of the radio lessons. They said if the pandemic continues to interrupt learning, thegovernment must redesign the intervention.

On June 18 when Museveni re-imposed the second lockdown, the Ministry of Education revived the radio lessons to be conducted on 15 selected radio stations across the country, this time targeting Primary 3 and 4 classes.

According to the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, the procurement of the 10 million radio sets would require Shillings 336.8 billion.

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