News that government has no money and is fumbling to locate Shs300 billion for TVs to facilitate long-distance learning across Uganda is distressing (Govt has no money for TVs. This means the majority of nearly 15 million eager learners have their spirit dampened.
With more than three months into the coronavirus-forced lockdown, our rural school-going children have lost more than three months of learning and have gone rusty. This contrasts sharply with their counterparts in urban settings with more financially well off parents and guardians.
Moreover, these urban counterparts have easy access to Internet-driven learning media such as Zoom and TV channels. Yet such media are inaccessible or are unaffordable to the rural poor.
This poorly matched scenarios mean that while schools remained shut for our rural learners, their counterparts in towns continue with virtual-supported learning. Yet the sets of pupils will be subjected to the same national exams.
This disparity urgently demands that government becomes serious and meets the presidential promise to buy at least two television sets for each of the country’s 68,733 villages.
Regrettably, it is now two months since the President made the announcement to buy 137,466 solar-powered TV sets and another 10 million radios to cater for our 15 million learners across the country.
Surely, this would help achieve some illusion of balance between the two classes of virtual learners. But even then, this would likely not bridge the three months lost without learning for our rural children.
Sadly, previous pledges by government to wananchi have gone unmet. The government has seemingly cultivated and is practicing the unenviable notoriety of taking citizens for a ride on promise – one empty promise after another.
From campaign promises of free sanitary pads for every school-going girl, to free hand hoes to rural farmers; both of which were pledged in the heat of the 2016 presidential election campaign. But to date, not much or completely nothing has come of the twin promises.
Then more recently followed the handouts of foodstuffs, especially posho and beans to the vulnerable poor in Kampala and neighbouring Wakiso and parts of Mukono districts.
But to date, some families are still yawning in wait for the promised food with empty bowls and saucepans. Only a few areas were lucky to receive the beans and posho, with most areas still waiting.
From its unmet commitments, government should for once honour its promises to our young citizens and spread some smile on their faces in the depressing coronavirus disease lockdown.