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Uganda secures a UGX 56Bn education recovery grant

FILE PHOTO: NCDC will use 20.8 billion Shillings to print and distribute self-study materials

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda has secured a grant of USD 15 million (55.8 billion Shillings) to facilitate the COVID-19 emergency education response project by the Ministry of Education and Sports. The funding is part of the Global Partnership in Education-GPE programme channeled through the World Bank.

The project is expected to run for 18 months and will benefit 14.6 million learners in pre-primary, primary and lower-secondary education cycles and 406,000 teachers and school administrators. It will focus on ensuring continued learning during the closure of schools and preparing the system for school reopening once the situation allows.

In the first phase of the project, the National Curriculum Development Centre-NCDC will take the lions share spending 1.9 billion Shillings to develop self-study materials, 2.6 billion Shillings to establish a printery and 20.8 billion Shillings to print and distribute self-study materials.

NCDC will also use over 2.6 billion Shillings to produce materials for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. This includes printing self-study home packages in large print and braille, recorded lessons and presentations for different categories of visually impaired students and television-lessons which will use sign languages and subtitles for students with hearing difficulties.

In a recent interview, Dr Bernadette Nambi, the deputy director of the National Curriculum Development Centre stated that the distribution of self-study materials had been affected by a shortage of funds. She said that with funding in place, the centre needed only 35 days to produce learning materials for the entire student population.

As part of the project, the Ministry of Education will develop key messages awareness and health safeguarding messages to be delivered to students, teachers, parents, and community members through SMS, TV, and radio.

“The awareness campaign will promote psychosocial support and referrals for case management for teachers and students as well as identify and report high risks children and teachers face in the community,” according to the project brief.

Over 2.2 billion Shillings is also included to support the procurement of airtime on radio and TV stations to air lessons to support learning, provide transportation for teachers from homes to radio stations and back to their homes and provide facilitation for teachers to prepare and deliver lessons on radio and TV. However, this specific project will not cover the planned distribution of radios and TVs to families.

Part of the project funding to a tune of 26.97 billion Shillings will be used to support the safe re-opening, student re-entry and sustained progression in schools. In this aspect, the ministry will among other things carry out on training standard operating procedures for reopening, establish remedial programs for girls and students with special needs and create back to school campaigns.

Under the same component, the ministry will provide public schools with small grants to support the implementation of Water Sanitation and Hygiene-WASH programs, provide psycho-social support, safety, and security of students.

“The grants will also cover purchasing soaps, buckets, and hand-washing facilities that will additionally be adaptive to persons with disabilities in schools. It will include cleaning and disinfectants and sanitizing materials. Face masks will be provided under other government programs,” the application document adds.

Uganda had applied for 74.4 billion shillings (USD 20 million) under the grant. But 1.75 percent of the funds will be given to the United Nations International Children’s Fund-UNICEF as the project coordinating agency.

In late March, the UNICEF office in Uganda received a GPE grant of over 260 million Shillings (USD70,000) to support the Ministry of Education in planning its response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Amidst fears that the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown which led to the closure of schools may worsen the already decreasing learning outcomes and increase school dropout rates in Uganda, the ministry is striving to put up a strong recovery and response plan to ensure continued learning. However, several educationists have poked holes in the ministry’s plan with some describing it as a white elephant.

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URN

7 comments

  1. Ministry Education consider helping Tertiary and Universities affected by COVID 19 pandemic

  2. With this grant running for 18 months starting this July, means that the schools are not going to open for that period of time since the grant is supposed to carter for those students while under lockdown! We should expect real schooling to start in 2022! Ugandans brace yourselves.

  3. Borin Komurubuga

    Printing more work is not bad but have they evaluated the the impact of the first phase so that they conclude by printing schooling at home for the second phase? I even Wonder whether we have technocrats in education ministry to even go for second phase where as the first one only covered 25%though to my observation it only covered 10%.My suggestion would be to first do an evaluation and the proceed depending on the success.

  4. Nantegemargaret2019

    Home learning materials are not bad but most of the children need some face to face sessions with their teachers. I would suggest that teachers be assigned responsibility to reach children in homes and give the necessary assistance. Most parents would like to assist their children but they can not afford due to their levels of education and others say things are far different from what they learnt. Radio and TV lessons are not very effective because the teachers are speedy and learners have no chance of asking where they have not got the concept properly. Teachers should be selected in each village/cell to teach children from home. But even reopening schools should be considered to do it in shifts.

  5. Atleast this time the ministry ve catered for all groups o people otherthan in the first phase.

  6. MOE should put more emphasis on sensetizing parents to give chance learners to listen and watch TV stations and more so give them appropriate timetable.Now that elections are also knocking I don’t know how learning will handled?????????

  7. In the first phase, materials were not enough 4 all the learners because up to now they are still missing. Lessons on radios are 4 upper classes not lower classes,this is like roofing the building without astrong foundation. To me lay strategies 4 reaching out services to all learners.

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