Activists have warned that Uganda will soon produce the worst and under-prepared generation of graduates into the job market due to the online mode of teaching which they said is characterized by a number of challenges.
The remarks were made during a virtual town hall meeting that took place on November 8, under the theme: “Education and Covid-19: What is the way forward?’”
Whereas the government continues to defend the continued closure of schools in the country due to Covid-19, activists stressed that online learning has caused a lot of negative effects on learning.
They said since parents and schools have grappled with how they can keep children engaged with academic work during this period, they have been forced to engage in online studies.
Abubaker Matanda, a law lecturer at Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU), said the situation has forced private schools and teachers to come up with all sorts of online programs to keep learners busy which are not yielding good results.
“Online learning in Uganda is not very effective as some students struggle with terrible internet connections. We risk having half-baked graduates and learners with this trend! How do we attract back teachers who have abandoned teaching due to the prolonged closure of schools? he queried.
He said online studying has not been a smooth ride because it has come with a set of challenges that make it an unfair substitute to the conventional learning that we hitherto knew.
Musa Mugoya, the Programs Officer, Right to Education at Initiative for Social and Economic Rights, said the online system of learning was bound to fail from the onset given the poor ICT infrastructure in Uganda.
“We are raising a Godless generation with the continued closure of schools. Schools instill Godly values in the young generation,” he said.
Pastor Jacque Barlow, one of the discussants, said religious founded schools are so focal to the grooming of the future generation and the deviance from set guidelines is minimal.
“But now, we are raising a valueless and degenerate society with the continued closure of schools. Learners get an opportunity to go to church/mosque and also get a chance to get religious education. It is a shame that this is not happening now, ”she said.
Part of the activist panel, Jothan Burobuto, the executive director of Uganda Youth Network, said if the government plans to reopen the economy in January, it might as well open in December since business really does well during the festive season and this can help many catch up.
“Places of worship play a big role to keep the citizenry hopeful. To keep Kikuubo open and limit access to places of worship is not logical,” he said.
Following the closure of schools due to Covid-19, the government encouraged online teaching to ensure continuity of learning.