Teachers under the Uganda Liberal Teachers Union have asked the government to put in place a recovery plan that will help both the teachers and the learners to recover from the prolonged effects of the coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown.
Among the recovery plan suggestions are the orienting the learners and teachers and also ensuring that the time lost is compensated well without having a dead year. In October last year, the government developed guidelines and standard operating procedures for the phased reopening of schools across the country.
Key among them was hand washing, wearing of face masks, temperature checks and maintaining social distance in class and dormitories for students in boarding schools.
According to the president general of Liberal Teachers Union, Evans Kaganizo Mutesasira, government should desist from the abrupt reopening of schools and instead consider first preparing teachers and also come up with orientation mechanisms for the learners.
"We don’t want to go for a dead year as far as we’re concerned as teachers, but teachers must be engaged in terms of recruitment more staff, in terms of needing more time, in terms of motivation and in terms of enhanced pay such that they can be motivated to do more work. We’re calling upon government to also support teachers in private schools such that they can also come on board because so many have been laid off because of Covid-19 and we have very many children who are studying in private schools especially in the rural parts of the country where parents cannot afford," says Kaganizo.
Kaganizo says despite the temptation to cover up for the lost time, learners should not be pumped with too much knowledge at first once schools reopen.
"We can have sessions some of which are given out in form of handouts, some of which are given as pre-prepared materials. Then we need to have more time for schools and institutions to also organize to ensure that the environment now becomes conducive to the new challenges of covering the already accumulated curriculum," added Kaganizo.
"Our concern is about delivering quality education but of course the challenge we have with our government is that the policymakers don’t take it as a priority to put funds into education. If you look at the funding gaps in the sector, I think they are not up to the level whereby the right percentage of funds should be going to education. It is about resource allocation, we have to convince the policymakers and even members of parliament they appropriate enough funds to run the education system because education is the most hard-hit sector by Covid-19. If funds are not allocated to that sector then we are going to lose out."