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Gov’t compelled to supply self-study materials despite failed operations

Earlier supplied government self study booklets. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Education and Sports Ministry is in a dilemma situation over its proposal to print and distribute self-study materials to non-candidate learners. Sources in the ministry that preferred anonymity to freely talk about the matter, stressed that despite the visible failure of the long-distance learning program, the government cannot halt it given the specific conditions attached to a grant they received to aid the process.

“We already got a foreign grant and what is being done is to ensure that all the planned activities of the grant are delivered. I think you know how donor money is handled,” one of the sources intimated to Uganda Radio Network. As part of the response plan to closure of schools because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the education ministry laid out a programme to ensure continued learning with the provision of self-study home packages and the use of radio and television stations to deliver lessons.

In July, Uganda applied and received a grant of up to Shillings 56 billion from the Global Partnership for Education channeled through the World Bank. The grant which is expected to run for 18 months was meant to support five areas including ensuring continued learning through study materials, the safe reopening of schools and re-entry of students among others.

According to a brief statement on the grant, the National Curriculum Development Centre-NCDC requested for Shillings 1.9 billion to develop self-study materials, Shillings 2.6 billion to establish a Printery, and Shillings 20.8 billion to print and distribute the materials.

However, the promised materials are yet to reach the learners in the last eight months according to several reports from the Ministry of Finance’s Budget Monitoring and Accountability Unit and Uganda Bureau of Statistics. The reports also point out that even with the provision of the said material; students have already lost interest in learning given the long time they have spent at home without being engaged.

Asked why they are not producing the items given the grant, the State Minister for Higher Education Dr. John Chrysostom Muyingo without giving specific details observed that the GPE funds were not enough. “We are already talking with finance and we hope to get the money soon so that the activity is done,” he added.

With the delays and sustained talks of the full reopening of school, several educationists had advised that government should call off the earlier programs and gear all the available resources towards reopening.

Dr. Muyingo further adds that whether schools reopen or not, they will send out self-study materials to learners as they had planned earlier arguing that the materials are of high value to learners regardless of the fate of full school reopening.

Recently, the Ministry got another setback in their efforts to offer continued learning during the lockdown when parliament declined to approve 336.8 billion shillings’ supplementary expenditure request for the purchase of over nine million radio which to them was an ‘unwise decision’.

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