EDUCATION VIRUS HEALTH
Final year degree and masters students have called upon their institutions of learning to immediately set up short-term virtual teaching and learning solutions so that they can conclude their final projects and graduate.
This was revealed during an e-learning webinar via a Zoom meeting on Friday organized by Enabel, a Belgian development agency.
"I am a final year student who is supposed to do research within a limited time, but ever since COVID, I have not had an interaction with my institution but if course content were uploaded online, we can put up with the speed and be able to submit our research projects in time because e-learning saves time," said Racheal Monica Achen, a final year student of Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Makerere University.
Achen called upon her fellow students that if they receive content online, they should be disciplined to read everything as it comes so that they are not left out.
"E-learning is the new normal in almost all spheres of life. Our education should unlock the opportunities that come with e-learning, we are now preparing for the future of online school, so we should be given access to university libraries and all the content we need to graduate in time," noted Jim Kafeero, a third-year student of business administration.
As several schools and universities work on their existing online platforms, Christelle Jocquet, the Resident Representative of Enabel Uganda, advised that there is need to complement e-learning with face to face.
"A mix of face to face and online study. This I believe offers the perfect mix that can enable our learners acquire the education they need to thrive. Though e-learning presents opportunities for the education sector during this time, any solution should be deliberate, planned, user-centred and inclusive," Jocquet noted.
She called for collective efforts from the government, private sector and development partners to be able to achieve from e-learning.
"The challenges are several and cannot be left to the government alone. In the spirit of sustainable development goals, a partnership to overcome these bottlenecks is essential. We can only achieve this by means of joint effort with government, private sector and development partners," Jocquet said.
Augustine Ssekyondwa, a business process analyst at the National Information and Technology Association (NITA) noted that to boast e-learning, the Ministry of Education needs to put its effort to make sure all learners access digital content.
Challenges like connectivity, access, electricity, skills and attitude towards e-learning were highlighted.
Patrick Muinda, the spokesperson of Ministry of Education, said they were formulating an ICT education policy to address some of the e-learning challenges. He said once the policy is completed, it will be taken to Parliament for approval.