Talk 14: Demands Of The Remote Learning Context – Parents, Schools & Teachers

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I welcome you my dear listener and appreciate you for whatever you have been doing. This is 90.6 Busoga one FM, my name is Nkaiirya Brenda Doreen and I work with Community Concerns Uganda Initiative and our offices are found in Wairaka, Jinja district whereby we work in district like Mayuge, Kamuli, Luuka, and Buyenda. We arevery happy to be here and I have not come alone in the studios but with friends. I will invite them to introduce themselves but before they come allow me to thank Elevate partners for Education who sponsors this program who make sure the education standards in Busoaga is improved and right now I want to invite my friends in the studios to introduce themselves by mentioning their name and where they are coming from. Friends your welcome;

Madam I am so much privileged for this opportunity given to me to speak to our listeners here at Busoga one.  My name is Kagoya Mary, I stay in Bukanga and I am a head teacher of Butimbwa Primary School in Waibuga sub-couty in Luuka district. I want to welcome everyone more especially people from Luuka and when time comes please ask me. I want to appreciate Elevate Partners for education for this sponsoring us to this station.

Moderator: Thank you Madam Head teacher from Butimbwa P/S, let me invite in another visitor to introduce himself to you.

Thank you so much madam my name is Mutabuuza Robert from Nakalanga village, Bukatube sub-county, Bukaleba parish and Mayuge district, I have come to be part of this program of improving their education in their homes.

Moderator: Thank you Mr. Mutabuza, but where do you train your children from?

Mutabuuza Robert: Bukaleba

Moderator: listeners, I continue to tell you that Elevate partners uses the wisdom that resides with in us to improve education. Today we are going to talk about stronger school-parent connections; and increased role of parents and increasing their responsibilities in educating their children during this lockdown. Last week Saturday we were here with Balondemu Simon moderating the program and they were talking about the education situation with in our school communities. He hosted Mr. Kikaire Peter head teacher from Kalalu P/S and Mr. Mugombolo Moses head teacher from Buyinda P/S in Kaliro district.

Those people mentioned a number of issues though I will not remind you all but I will hint on a few like;

  • How teachers are making home visits as children are still locked down which can make them busy thought it is not easy for parents to allow them.
  • Some schools are open to allow parents to come and pick reading materials for their children.

We want to thank those head teachers who are allowing parents to go and borrow those books to allow their children study from homes. Well, as I told you before that our topic today is looking at stronger school-parent connections; and increased role of parents and increasing their responsibilities. Therefore today we have Miss Kagoya as she introduced herself before and I would like her to tell us how are children learning when they are not in schools?

Kagoya Mary: Thank you Madam Brenda for that question and a few of the children are learning leaving out many. This is because parents are not giving them opportunity to learn from what they got from schools they are only emphasizing domestic work, agriculture and farming only.

Moderator: Madam you said learning from home but how?

Kagoya Mary: Madam just as I said that few children are learning though with a number of challenges. However, the government gave brought in home study materials for classes like p.4-p.6 in each school but its benefiting a few number.

The other reason is children are learning from their radios according to how the radios have programmed.

The other point is using study materials from the news papers like Bukede but few parents can take care of this. Then as teacher, we have been moving around to mobilize parents to tell their children to come and pick study materials at schools and if parents defeated to support their children with work in the books, they can use any nearby teacher to keep supporting them. Therefore, those are the areas where children are accessing learning in this period.

Moderator: Do mean as a head teacher you have opened up the school?

Kagoya Mary: The school is not yet open but I am ever there to make ensure the school is clean and in that process I attend to children/parents who can turn up for materials in a small number and if I am not a round, my deputy Mr. Kiwande Paul can attend to them on issues of supporting their children’s learning.

Moderator: Madam, on which days are you always at school to ensure that your people in the community can come and use those materials?

Kagoya Mary: Madam Brenda I would like you to get me right, those children just come to pick but do not use the learning materials from school, we only encourage parents to pick for their children but in case a child is not understanding the point, that is when a child can come over for help. We also surface at school like on Thursday, Friday in the afternoon and sometimes in the morning hours after we have at least done work from home. Therefore, quick parents always find us at school.

Moderator: Thank you so much madam, just as we said before how are you connecting up with parents, children and the teachers to ensure that children can be supported in this period until schools shall be re-open up in January?

Kagoya Mary: Thank you Madam, a school cannot exist without children and parents – they both work together. The existing need is parents should know that teachers are only not teachers when at school a lone but the need is parents should connect well with teachers to support children to have continuous learning. Secondly, parents should buy learning materials in the news papers to enable children learn and have a good relationship between the parent and the teacher because in between there is a child whom we are focusing on to learn. But I want to appreciate the Ministry of Education because they said they will be sending in study materials for lower classes P.1-P.3 that missed out in the last disbursement. This was communicated by the minister Hon. Muyingo because they will no longer buy radios for households and as I was coming, I received a call that books have been brought in at my school though I have not yet checked in which type of books have they brought in. I am happy that the ministry is bringing in these materials to schools to enable parents pick for their children and they learn something from home and this is a good channel. Please allow me to pass out this information to all children listening to me now, stop playing a round and parents stop making your children engaged in pity businesses please because these staffs are exposing young boys and girls to have unwanted pregnancies and going into sugarcane cutting. I am appealing to parents to make a timetable for their children’s learning.

Moderator: Thank you and since children are scattered it’s not always easy for teachers to get them.

Kagoya Mary: This is an addition and I don’t know whether it only applies to my school a lone but Teachers walk around the communities, I don’t want listeners to think that we are curriers of COVID-19 for us as teachers we are already vaccinated for all jabs.

Moderator: Thank you so much Madam, let’s hear from a parent Mr. Mutabuuza. We have heard her talk we would like us to compare the previous time before COVID-19 and now, how are you linking up with children to continue supporting them in this period when they are still home?

Mutabuuza: Thank you so much madam Brenda am attentively listening to you and still encouraging you to continue with these programs in improving our nation. My children before were studying from Bukaleba and each time they came back from school, I and sometimes my wife were checking their excises books. My children are still young.

Moderator: In which class are they?

Mutabuuza: My children are in p.1 and p.2 because the others who were in p.5 and p.6 disappeared from home because of the present situation.

Moderator: Since you said your children are young and you work together with your wife, what is different that you’re doing in this period but you did not used to do before when they were at school?

Mutabuuza: Madam Brenda my wife teaches them using the small knowledge she has and if she is defeated she also consults the nearby teachers. But we have a challenge of a big population in the area like in Nakalanga they are around 1500, Buakaleba around 30, Walumbe around 400 children. It becomes very hard for parents to engage children with learning in their homes.

Moderator: Well, you told us how you’re doing it together with your wife but in your community how are other parents managing it in this lockdown?

Mutabuuza: In this period many parents are stuck and I am very sure that many children have become spoilt in the communities leaving many in gambling games, girls becoming pregnant etc.

Moderator: Yes just as you said that children are becoming more spoilt but there are parents who are real doing well to support their children like what your fellow panelist has said of reaching out to teachers and buying study materials I am even very sure that even in Nakalanga villages there are parents who are doing some things differently to access learning. Now what are those important lessons that you have learnt in this period which were previously not done which you would love other parents to learn from you?

Mutabuuza: Madam Brenda one thing I can say is trained teachers should come up to support children in learning and we are asking for support and help to support children’s learning.

I can clearly say that my eyes are open and I want to encourage all parents to support their children while at home. We also want new leader to come from our communities.

Moderator: Apart from what you mentioned, which other local materials can you use to support children’s learning in your community because you have been paying some contributions at school since your children are in a UPE school?

Mutabuuza: Ensuring a good relationship with the teacher and having children coached and let the government continue supporting children by providing staff quotas etc.

Moderator: Thank you Mzee Mutabuza, we will take your point of encouraging parents to have a good relationship with teachers to ensure our children are learning. Our dear listeners, allow me to take you for a short break and when we come we shall be able to hear from you through these numbers 0757906906/0776999906.

Moderator: Welcome back from the short break and I continue emphasizing on the same numbers to call but before I pick your calls, I would like to ask Madam Kagoya just as you have heard apparent saying and we very well know that formally before COVID teachers were not always in school and the parents has said that teachers are not readily available for children which has left many children to develop bad habits what is your comment about that?

Kagoya Mary: Thank you Madam Nakiirya for that question formally teachers were not at school but what I know schools have changed their methods of operation and I cannot deny how schools in Bukatube operate but we are working under strict restrictions in Luuka which makes us available in schools.

Moderator: Okay let me hear from the callers.

 

Caller1:  My name is Bakulamya Juma from Budondo Buwaji I am suggesting that if the government does not increase teachers’ salaries, it will take us something like 5 years to improve education because teachers are scarce.

Moderator: Mr. Bakulimya which methods do you use to keep your children learning in this period as schools are still closed?

Caller1:  Well, with me I buy study books, engaging them busy from home such that they avoid the bad groups and training them to have discipline.

Moderator: Thank you very much caller.

Caller 2: Hello mama Nakiirya Brenda thank you for serving

Moderator: Please tell us your name and where you’re calling from?

Caller 2: My name is Suman Lwagaya from Kisozi Town council Budada East word Kamuli district. By the time schools were closed they had two categories of pupils i.e. the disciplined and the undisciplined but for us with well disciplined children I have endeavored to always call teachers to my home depending on the subjects they teach to support them in learning because we cannot force teachers to stay at school without working.

Moderator: Thank you very much caller. For sure you have heard the two callers but for the case of Mr. Suman he said that he seat with his children and they go through the books and he tries to engage them. I want to turn to Mr. Mutabuuza, do you have any comment over that?

 

Mutabuuza: I have no comment to my fellow parent but he said the truth.

Moderator: Madam Kagoya the parent said he calls the teachers can you say something over his point.

Kagoya Mary: Madam Brenda I am too appreciative for that parent because that is what is required and parents should copy the example of Mr. lwagaya and if we all create a good relationship, we will not experience challenges in our communities.

Moderator: Thank you madam Kagoya lets have another caller on line.

Caller 3: My name is Maganda Joseph councilor to be Bulopa Kamuli.

Moderator: Thank you for calling and what is your comment on today’s topic?

Caller 3: I called in to thank you for today’s topic and I continue to encourage parents.

Caller 4: My name is Muwumba David from Kakoge Buyende district.

Moderator: what is your take on today’s topic?

Caller 4: I am saying that parents have lost their roles and neglected their responsibilities saying those children belong to the government but I am appealing to all parents take good care of their children and be mindful of their where about.

Caller 5:  My name is Muwanguzi Peter from Buvuma Island.

Moderator: Thank you for calling and please go on with the topic of the day

Caller 6:  I am Double face from Nakiswiga Luuka she should not lie to us that teachers are always at school yet not.

Moderator:  Now how are engaging your children in this period to ensure that they are learning?

Caller 6: All my kids are young and in lower classes like p.1 and p.2

Moderator:  So how are you supporting them?

Caller 6: I buy books and they read from home.

Moderator:  Yes madam you have heard that parents’ comment.

Kagoya Mary: I am also surprised with what double face is talking about but for sure things have changed in Luuka unless is just fade up of teachers and I want to assure you Brenda that our inspector of schools Madam Nabwire Jane very early in the morning she is always at schools inspecting so am appealing him to appreciate the education department and we move forward.

Caller 7: My name is Wampa Godfrey from the landing site of Nakalanga, I only want to appreciate all of you in the studios.

Moderator: Yes, what is your view on engaging your children?

Caller 7: As the community around Nakalanga landing site, we have no school and the nearby school is in Bukaleba as the panelist in the studios stated but there is a challenge because many parents are illiterate and it’s heard for parents to support their children but for my case I buy them books.

 

Caller 8:  I want to appreciate the head teacher and the parent in the studios.

Moderator: Thank you for appreciating but what is stronger to make sure parents connect with teachers and ensuring they access learning in this period?

Caller 8:  You know it’s not good to lie but the teacher said they give out books and the parent said they support children from, now if at all the two parents did not attain any education how are they going to support their children? It’s better for government teachers because the fact remains they are still earning, but how about teachers from private schools can they also make home visits without any pay? Finally, the president made it clear that schools should be closed and here you are saying that head teachers open schools for children to access learning aren’t they violating the presidential directives?

Moderator: Madam please respond to the concerns of that caller being with the last one.

Kagoya Mary: I that that parent for his questions but we also had the same questions in the beginning and just as I said, one by one children/parents comes at school and with us at school we were trained on maintaining the standard operating procedures at school, before anyone coming in he/she first sanitize then we offer a service. I expect there is no problem in that. Secondly the MoE told us to always keep the school clean and the president is aware because the directive came through his minister.

Then the issue of private teachers is also people like any other person, please as you go to seek help from a private teacher, have something for him/her because I have learnt that parents in towns are paying for their children’s learning in this period unlike us in the villages.

Moderator: Mr. Mutabuuza, to you and for the case of parents who are illiterate who can they be helped?

Mutabuuza: Illiterate parents can engage their children with other domestic work because when it comes to books parents are very unable to support them

Kagoya Mary: In addition to his I want to tell parents of that nature that can do something like training their children to make handcrafts because it’s also s lesson we have at school but I can appeal to parents to link up with teachers for support.

Moderator: Thank you very much people and since our time is far spent, I would like ask Mr. Mutabuuza what is your take away points as we prepare to leave the studios.

Mutabuuza: Madam Brenda I want to emphasize the point of parents coming from illiterate families that let them be taken for vocational skills tailoring, mechanics etc. And I have learnt that we need to have responsibilities for our children and I send my greetings to my friend whom I came with Muhamed Mugoya, chairman bodaboda  Kamomolo in Nakalanga and all friends that be well.

Moderator: Thank you and I want to conclude with you Madam Ruth please give us your last wards here and send greetings to 2 people.

Kagoya Mary:  Thank you madam Brenda I have learnt that many of our children in the villages are not doing well and I am appealing to parents to involve teachers. Be mindful of all children including your neighbors and places of worship have been re-opened please encourage them to go this shall improve their behaviors and finally I want to send my regards to my lovely daughter at home Martine that I am coming back, my good parents from Butimbwa P/S,my neighbours in Bukanga and every one.

 

Moderator: Thank you very much madam Kagoya and I am also telling parents our responsibilities have increased and continue working together with teachers because the wisdom to learn resides with in us. Go to schools and pick learning materials.

I want to appreciate the staff of Community concerns Uganda Initiative, my parents in Magamaga, the management of Busoga one 90.6 FM and Elevate partners for education.

Have a good day.