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Parents cast doubt on practicability of radio lessons

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

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Parents are raising doubts about the practicability of broadcasting radio lessons for primary school learners as millions remain grounded in homes.

Schools and other educational institutions were closed by a presidential declaration made on June 7, 2021, following reports that they had become super spreaders of COVID-19 at a time when the country was going through a second wave of the pandemic.

But to ensure continuity of learning, the Ministry of Education announced that arrangements had been made to resume radio lessons aired at specific times for all classes. The intervention started with the primary four and five pupils on June 14, at 15 radio stations across the country.

According to the program, each radio station airs two lessons for 25-minutes a day for three days a week. However, many parents say that they did not know about the study programme, while those who knew, were still doubtful of its efficiency.

Sumayah Nansubuga, a resident of Makindye was found watching television with her six children at 2.40 pm, the time her primary four child was supposed to be attending her second lesson of the day. Nansubuga said she had no idea about the radio lessons, yet even after learning about it, she still thought that in the absence of a physical interface, it’s hard for learners to comprehend the lessons.

Nansubuga said that parents are too busy to focus on the lessons, yet the learners cannot learn without guidance. She says the government should have instead improvised with self-study materials, which can be utilised without following a specific schedule.

Pauline Nambogo, a resident of Mengo says that although the arrangement for the continuity of learning is good, the mode used to deliver the lessons is not suitable and that its difficult for the children to focus and study via radio.

Betty Namugumya, a resident of Lubaga on the other hand is happy with the programme and adds that she has now taken the responsibility to encourage herself to learn. Namugumya however said that it would have been better to put the program on television.

Another parent Suleiman Musoke, a resident of Makindye says that as a family, they have had a challenge of engaging the learners during the second lockdown of 42 days. Musoke says the initiative though will be tricky for the learners to concentrate on, it’s better than nothing.

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