Govt committed to promoting e-learning, says First Lady
May 09, 2021
During the discussions, Mrs Museveni said the various challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, including, the lockdown and consequent closure of all education institutions, made Uganda realise how important it is to conduct online education
Mrs Janet Museveni (second-left), flanked by officials from the education and sports ministry, hands over a book, ‘Uganda The Pearl’, to the director of Imano Portal Limited, Philip Pleiwon
The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Mrs Janet Museveni, has said the Government is exploring how to empower education institutions to effectively engage in e-learning so that students can continue with studies even when they are not at school campuses.
“We need to begin with universities to enable the students continue to do their courses from wherever they are, since we do not know for how long COVID-19 is going to be in the world and for how long the restrictions will go on in the global community,” she said on Tuesday.
The First Lady was meeting Philip Pleiwon; the founder and director of Imano Portal Limited, a South African-based company that supports education institutions and students in Africa to transition to e-learning. Pleiwon paid a courtesy call on the First Lady at State House, Nakasero to discuss possible ways of partnering with Uganda’s education sector in promoting cost-effective e-learning solutions in higher education institutions, according to a release from the minister’s office.
During the discussions, Mrs Museveni said the various challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, including, the lockdown and consequent closure of all education institutions, made Uganda realise how important it is to conduct online education.
She added that when the country was under lockdown, many of Uganda’s students could not continue with their education, while those in other countries that were already conducting online education continued with their courses.
Observing that online education is the way to go, the First Lady, however, cautioned that African countries need to be strict about the programmes on the internet that the children can access.
“We do not want to just open up our children to dangers. We want to work with people who understand the problems of Africa and care about Africa and African children,” she emphasized. She welcomed the idea of a Computer Fund that will help subsidize the cost of accessing computers by students and encouraged the students to invest in empowering themselves by accessing computers on hire purchase
Pleiwon observed that e-learning is the future of learning, but Africa is far behind and that the demand for cost-effective e-learning solution by higher education institutions is extremely high. He said his company is, therefore, trying to change this by providing comprehensive Africa-specific solutions.
He explained that Imano Portal Limited is a social enterprise that focuses essentially on higher education to promote digital learning in Africa, which he said could be a real source of growth for the continent. He cited access to quality learning content, hard devices like computers and tablets, in partnership with Governments and educators and the whole education sector. He said they operate in partnership with governments, educators and institutions of higher learning.
Among the things Imano Portal Limited does is making it possible for students to access books online and offline and a laptop programme, where a computer fund, managed by the education ministry, is set up to subsidize the cost of the computers and where students can get loans which they can pay back, over a period. They also set up computer laboratories either on campuses or around the city, which anyone with a student identification can access.
The company partners with the local internet service providers and in collaboration with the Government, they package specific and affordable information for students and educators. They also do a lot of teacher and civil servant training to keep them fresh. The meeting was also attended by the education ministry’s director of Higher, Technical and Vocational Education and Training Dr Jane Egau, Assistant Commissioner Communications and Information Management Patrick Muinda and Irene Lubega.