Slum Children Miss Studies During Lockdown :TV owners want to watch some other programs

According to Nanyanzi, she patiently waited for the self-help reading materials from government but no single copy was delivered to their area. The 13-year-old says the other option for her would be to study on TV or radio but she can’t access any of them since they don’t have electricity.

When schools closed in March this year because of the Covid19 pandemic, the Education and Sports Ministry encouraged learners to study in their homes during the lock down.

Government through the Education Ministry contracted Vision Group to print and distribute self-study materials nationwide that would keep the learners busy. However, this appears to be a myth to hundreds of children in slums areas of Kampala.

Majority of children in slum areas such as Kamwokya, Kasokoso, Katanga and Kisenyi spend their entire day playing while others are involved in menial jobs to earn a living. A section of other children engage in criminal activities.

Precious Nanyanzi, who had just enrolled in senior one at Kololo high school, says she left school without any reading packages. According to Nanyanzi, she patiently waited for the self-help reading materials from government but no single copy was delivered to their area.

The 13-year-old says the other option for her would be to study on TV or radio but she can’t access any of them since they don’t have electricity.

Her story isn’t any different from that of Cyrus Kato from Church Zone in Kamwokya. Kato says the current learning systems are unsuitable for ghetto children. Kato, a senior two student at Kitante high school, says that they hear that some children are continuing with studies through television and self-study materials usually inserted in newspapers.

Due to the absence of a TV set in their home, Kato and his siblings had a single option of attending televised lessons in their neighbor’s home.

He however, says sometimes the TV owners want to watch some other programs, which denies him chance to follow the lessons. In Kamwokya, some parents have resorted to sending their children to Treasure Life Youth Centre-TLC to play with their peers so as to keep them busy.

Pearl Fm reporter visited the center on Wednesday afternoon and found a several children playing different games including cards and chess among other games.

Jerome Bwaniika, a primary six pupil from Katwe-Kinyolo, said despite receiving some reading material from government; it had very little content that they completed in a short time.

Angela Namata, a senior four candidate at Makerere College from Kivulu says although her parents have been trying to buy for her reading material inserted in newspapers, the content is very complex yet she has nobody to explain it to her.

smael Mulindwa, the Director Basic Education, who also doubles a member of the Education Response Committee on the National COVID-19 Task-Force notes that having noticed the gaps, government is soon launching afresh homeschooling programme that will cover all learner including those in slum areas.

“The pandemic caught us off guard. While distributing self-study material in the first phase, we prioritized areas where children couldn’t get access to TV and radio. We thought that those in urban areas could have access to the broadcast lessons,” Mulindwa said in a recent interview.
David Kato, a parent of two children in Kasokoso notes that due to lack of an organized form of the teaching-learning process during the lockdown, most children have turned to collecting scrap metals. He asks government to expedite the proposed homeschooling programme.

Before the said homeschooling program kicks off, government will first distribute a radio set per household and two TV sets per village nationwide. Experts have stressed that the COVID-19 lockdown will worsen the already waning learning outcomes in Uganda.

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