Education ministry rolls out distribution of second phase of self-study materials

Self-study materials distributed in phase 1.

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Ministry of Education and Sports has embarked on the nationwide distribution of the second batch of self-study materials.

The materials were introduced as one of the interventions to ensure that learners continue learning during the lockdown. Although the materials were much needed during the period when learners were out of school, they are coming a few days to the expected phased resumption of teaching and learning activities.

A circular issued by Ismael Mulindwa, the chairperson of the Covid-19 education response committee, indicates that the government has printed 5.43 million copies to benefit learners in upper primary and lower secondary.

“The purpose of this letter therefore is to inform you that the distribution of these materials has commenced and to request you to play your role in ensuring that these materials reach the learners.

The respective suppliers will be calling headteachers and inform them on the specific day of delivery,” the circular addressed to local government authorities and school heads read in part.

Unlike the previous batch which was printed and distributed by Vision Group, the ministry this time around contracted three different publishers including; Baroque Publishers, MK Publishers, and Fountain Publishers to take on the duty.

According to the printing and distribution plan, Baroque Publishers will be supplying the eastern region with 1.6 million copies of self-study material to 8,961 schools.

Fountain Publishers will supply the central region and there are expected to distribute 1.78 million copies to 11,489 schools while MK Publishers will be distributing 2.12 million copies to the northern and western regions covering 13,781 schools.

In a recent interview, Alex Kakooza, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education noted that the ministry is going to adopt a new distribution plan to ensure that learners receive their copies on time.

Kakooza said that in the new distribution plan, learners will receive the materials from their respective schools both government and private.

“They will have delivered directly to the schools and from there each learner will get a copy,” he noted adding that the said materials are covering the entire syllabus of each respective class.

Interestingly, candidates in Senior Four and Primary Seven who are a few days from sitting their examination have also been included among beneficiaries. Their copies and those of semi candidates will remain at school as guidance of the ministry.

“Schools are required to receive materials for P.6, P.7 S.3, and S.4 at school for use as supplementary instructional materials for both teachers and learners,” the letter reads in part.

However learners in P5, S1, and S2 will receive the copies and use them while at home and when they eventually return to school.

Mulindwa says that the printing and distribution of the materials has been funded using a special grant obtained from the global partnership for education. Although he doesn’t disclose the amount spent, the grant had set aside 20.8 billion Shillings to print and distribute self-study materials.

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Following the closure of schools in March last year, as one of the measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the education ministry through the National Curriculum Development Centre [NCDC] distributed the first batch of self-study materials to learners most especially in rural areas to ensure continuity of learning.

However, very few learners benefited from the first batch of self-study materials. Even the few who benefited, there have been studies indicating that they didn’t understand their content.

For instance, a study conducted by Makerere University’s College of Education indicated that the majority of learners [56 per cent of the sample size] did not understand the self-study learning materials.