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Coronavirus -Uganda: MPs demand suspension of teaching On Television, Radio

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Kampala____ Members of Parliament have criticised the Ministry of Education and Sports current programme of teaching learners via television and radio during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Some MPs suggested that the programme should be suspended since schools and institutions of higher education were closed by government in mid March.

The debate was kicked up by the issues raised by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga in her communication at the start of Wednesday’s plenary sitting, saying many areas were not accessing radio waves to receive the lessons.

Last month, after failing to meet the planned re-opening of schools on April 27, Education minister Janet Museveni said the learners would access lessons from home using TV and radio. Others would get printed materials to be delivered through their respective districts.

Bunyole West MP James Waluswaka suggested that the House resolves to have the programme suspended because it does not favour all learners. “If the whole country doesn’t access the materials then very few will learn,” he said.

His call was supported by Kasilo County MP, Mr Elijjah Okupa, who said: “We should suspend this programme because not every point of this country is covered. We don’t know when Covid-19 will end.”

Mr Silas Aogan (Kumi Municipality) said all students cannot watch television because it goes with an issue of access to electricity while learning through radio depends on the environment. He said there is also a problem of only science lessons being taught on TV and radio.

“I don’t know what the Ministry of Education had in mind that children will learn on radio. I think since we are not aware of when the schools will re-open, there is need to improve the programme,” Ssembabule Woman MP Hanifa Kawooya said.

The MPs further said the ministry should cater for children of all levels. They complained that the lessons on TV have targeted candidate classes and are only taken in English.

State minister for Higher Education John Chrysostom Muyingo told the House that the learning materials were meant for revision purposes and to keep the learners busy. He said the materials sent to districts were enough to reach all the learners at their respective homes.

Mr Muyingo said the materials were sent through Resident District Commissioners (RDC s) who would work closely with sub-counties and local council chairpersons to deliver the items to learners.

“We want to reach each and every learner. We are also now reaching every owner of a radio station and by end of the week, we will have got in touch with them,” he said.

The Speaker directed the Minister for Information and ICT, Ms Judith Nabakooba, to present a list of radio stations to the House.

In Mityana District, students are crying foul after failing to access lessons both on television and radio.

Keyra Kobusingye, a senior four candidate at Mityana Talents School in Kitinkokola Tamu Division, said: “It will be difficult to compete with urban students who are studying via television. I am seated at home and waiting for the schools to reopen.”

The situation has been worsened by the fact that the Education ministry excluded some radio stations in the district from hosting teachers to conduct the lessons.

Sources on the ground say the ministry only chose two radio stations, CBS Radio and Star FM in central region yet both stations have poor signals in Mityana.

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