Education Ministry still puzzled on how to distribute self-study materials

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First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Janet Museveni

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Ministry of Education and Sports authorities are still puzzled on how to distribute the self-help materials for primary and secondary learners due to lack of clear data indicating where the learners can be found.

The decision to distribute the self-study material was communicated six days ago by Education and Sports Minister, Janet Museveni as one of the best ways of ensuring continued learning at home. As a result, the National Curriculum Development Center-NCDC developed standardized self-study lesson packages for all core subjects for Primary and Secondary school learners.

Ismael Mulindwa, the Director Basic Education who also doubles a member of the Education Response Committee on the National COVID-19 Task-Force, notes that they had earlier on thought of using data from Uganda Bureau of Statistics-UBOS but have since realised that it might not depict the real picture on the ground.

“You may find out that some learners are currently not in the places where the available data places them,” he told our reporter. Adding that, “We are left with no option other than distributing using the figures that we have and adjust as we move on.”

He explained that the Ministry intends to distribute the materials depending on the number of children between the ages of 6-18 in each district and sub-county as captured by UBOS.

Mulindwa however says their greatest challenge is how to tell which district has the highest number of learners at this particular time and their level of education.

Available statistics indicate that more than 15 million learners are affected by lockdown. The program targets at least 10.7 million children in Primary, 2M in Pre-Primary and 2 million students in Secondary Schools.

Experts have for long been asking Ministry of Education to create a system of ascertaining data that will go a long way in strengthening the education system on grounds that the absence of proper data makes it difficult to plan or even review the existing framework for the betterment of the sector.

Mulindwa says they have called upon administrative structures at sub-county, parish, and village levels to locate learners and establish their classes so that the relevant materials are delivered to their respective homes. According to the plan, the Ministry will hand over the materials to Resident District Commissioners-RDCs who will in turn distribute it to sub-county chiefs.

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The sub-county chiefs will then hand over the material to parish chiefs who will then pass it to LC I chairperson to pass it over to learners in their homes. Alex Kakooza, the Education Ministry Permanent Secretary told this publication they would start distributing the materials nationwide on April 26th, 2020. He said they had contracted Vision Group to print and distribute the materials.

“We just hope that every learner across the country will get the materials,” said Kakooza. He, however, couldn’t tell how much material is going to be printed, saying that ‘it will be upon Vision Group to print as much as needed’. However, some people have criticised Vision Group for commercialising the material, which is intended to benefit all Ugandans.