The government has announced that it has started a pilot programme where it is video-conferencing lessons in schools in rural areas.
According to Mr. Thembo Nyombi, the director of the Rural Communication Development Fund in the Uganda Communications Commission, the aim of the programme is to ensure that students in rural areas can learn modern teaching aspects from teachers in urban areas.
“We want to connect those big secondary schools like Kisubi, Kings College Buddo, Nabisunsa with rural schools to start teleconferencing this year so that they can share knowledge. We want a situation where a good Mathematics teacher at St. Mary’s College, Kisubi is giving a lesson, and some 100 rural schools in Karamoja should be able to follow this lesson in Kisubi. That is the pilot we are doing,” Mr. Nyombi said during a meeting with primary school head teachers in Kampala on Saturday.
He added that to enable the programme work, the government has already connected 90 percent of secondary schools with computer laboratories and Internet, and is now moving to consider primary institutions to ensure that all teachers are technology savvy and can easily use it to improve the quality of teaching.
“We did a study and found out that at least 30 percent of these labs are down. We are now collaborating with the Ministry of Education to see what we can do to make sure that when we give you a lab, it serves the purpose for which it was given. Sustainability is a big challenge. I hope it will work. The only problem is paying for bandwidth. We do not know whether schools will be able to pay because UCC shall support you for one year. But when we walk away, we do not know what will happen,” Mr. Nyombi added.
He said the government has so spent about Shs75m on constructing the laboratories in each of the schools. He appealed to the teachers to embrace technology to improve their skills.
“What can we do? Structural unemployment is a fact of life. People have to train and retrain. We cannot miss ICT because we fear that people who do not have skills could lose their jobs. This is a reality. ICT has come to disrupt the way we do work. The teachers must make sure they fit into the eco-system,” Mr. Nyombi explained.
The Education Minister, Ms. Janet Museveni, who was in attendance, advised the teachers to continue being good ambassadors knowing that their work will be rewarded by God.
“Teachers are satisfied that they make a difference and are a masterpiece for a better tomorrow. This is a great motivation, which is also a calling from God. We are on this journey to transform our homeland. But it will take a lot of sacrifice on our part,” she said.
“I know the challenges you have. Your country right now is not where it needs to be. But we thank God we are where we are because we are moving where we want to be. In order to get there, we must make some sacrifices along the way. That will take many of us to accept.”