Talk 21: Experiences Of District Education Offices In Supporting Remote Learning

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That is it, the wisdom to learn resides within us and my dear one I am so happy and delighted to be here today in the studios of 90.6 Busoga one Fm the only radio that can be listened too and at this time we come with our program for Elevate partners for education my name is Balondemu Simon, I will be taking you through for a full one hour from now up to 1:00pm. I work with Global Integrated Skills Training Centre (GIST) we are found in Iganga and we work with children in and out of school while training them in vocational skills integrating it with other skills. In the studios I am not alone but together with me- there are guests that I am hosting today whom I have to come and we share. However, I want to thank the Elevate just as you have heard and in the studios I have got three people who are going to introduce themselves, with them there are two ladies and one gentle man from different places. Let me begin with the lady from the extreme end as she tells us her name, what she does and others, madam you are welcome.

Panelist1: Thank you very much sir, dear listeners my name is Miss, Mukanza Prosscovia from Bugiri district, I am the deputy head teacher Ndifakulya P/S. I take the opportunity to thank the management of Busoga one FM for this opportunity to come and talk to the society, thank you for listening.

Moderator: Thank you madam Mukanza Prossy from Bugiri Ndifakulya P/S thank you for coming and let me welcome my dear friend this side, please introduce yourself by telling us your name, the district you are coming from and what you do.

Panelist2: Thank you very much sir, our dear listener glory and honor to the Lord. My name is Allen Jaliya Nabirye from Mayuge and I am the district inspector of schools (DIS) from Mayuge district.

Moderator: Thank you for coming madam Nabirye Allen Jaliya from Mayuge its great having you here. I welcome the only gentleman as the panelist as well I am also a gentleman, please introduce yourself and tell them where you’re coming from sir.

Panelist3: Thank you the moderator of this program, my name is Kamage Edward- I am the district education officer- DEO for Kaliro district.

Moderator: I am glade seeing you sir,

Kamaga Edward, DEO: I am glad too with all the listeners.

Moderator: Thank you very much Mr. Kamaga Edward and at a later stage we shall hear from the listeners. I still take the opportunity to welcome you madam Nabirye Jaliya- DIS from Mayuge and Madam Mukanza Prossy from Bugiri the deputy head teacher. Alright, my dear I want to thank the organization of Elevate partners for education because they have enabled us to have this program and I usual I tell you that Elevate come to Busoga to improve learning through use of the available local resources. For that reason therefore allow me to introduce to you the theme for today which we are going to discuss with the visitors with me in the studios. We are going to talk about “supporting remote learning for all children when schools are still closed and sharing with the education officers what they have gone through in this period of the lock down”. That is what we are going to talk about as we share and discuss with them what they been through in this period of the lock down. I want to continue appreciating the teachers, head teachers, parents, and children who have tuned in right now and I beseech you to encourage our friends that the program has started like as usual and I want to appreciate friends in the studio today for when we called them, they accepted to come.

Well, last Saturday we had Miss Naliirya Brenda Doreen who works with Community Concerns who sat in this seat that I am in now because we co-work and if this week you have not heard Balondemu Simon, then you will hear Brenda vise versa.  She was here with a team of three panelists, among who was Mr. Wandira Robert Oundo the Head teacher from St. Thomas Makuutu Luuka, Mr. Simon Mukyaye the chairman SMC Busulumba P/S Gadumire – Kaliro where Mr. Kamaga comes from and Mr. Isabirye John Patrick the chairman Namagonjo village, in Buwuni Town Council Bugiri district. They were talking about the topic of “How the stake holders in the schools and in our communities are supporting remote learning as schools remain closed. And allow me to briefly remind you 2/3 messages they talked about before going to our main issue of discussion for today.

  • They said that stake holders and the leaders from the LCs and SMC have come using the opportunities given to them like at burial ceremonies, functions, gatherings, making home visits to inform the parents on what is needed to do as schools remain closed and they emphasized that parents should give the necessary requirements to their children.
  • They also gave a message that as leaders they have been sharing with their communities as they set a good strong connection with schools, parents and the children. They said that by the time schools re-open, they should be able to play their roles and see that every child reports back to schools and go on with their education.
  • Parents are very worried about the time lost for their children to learn when finally schools re-open. However, they said that fine let us remain supporting children and give them enough time by the time schools re-open next year, education shall be curried on well but this is after parents have full filed their roles of providing pens, books, uniforms and be supported in remote learning as it is still going on.
  • Lastly, I want to remind you that about the strong collaboration between the schools, parents to be exhibited during this time of school closures to be maintained until when schools re-open. This will help us when Covid 19 lock down has been lifted up.

Now my dear I want to remind you about our today’s topic which is supporting remote learning for all children when schools are still closed and sharing with the education officers what they have gone through in this period of the lock down”. Let me start with Mr. Kamaga Edward, we are much honored to be with you today sir.

Kamaga Edward: Thank you sir.

Moderator:  We have come learning that it is now two years since schools were closed but for this particular talk show, we have come strengthening this collaboration through inviting different personalities from Busoga particularly focusing on education and what has been going on and we believe that among all children and how they learn and getting to school they all mean a lot. That is the reason why we have come inviting in teachers, parents, head teachers; leaders from different levels as you have come listening at different levels while sharing with us, we also allow our listeners to share us. In the first instance briefly tell us what are the roles of the district education office?

Kamaga Edward: The moderator of this program Mr. Balondemu I want to thank you for giving us the opportunity to talk the nation and the listeners. First and for most, I want to thank the government of Uganda that when the pandemic attacked, they did not give up on children in schools because they came up with a mechanism for something to be done.

You asked me a question about the roles of my office; I want to assure you that biggest role of the DEO in the district is to ensure that all education matters are well and they solely stand on you as the DEO and among all we full fill the programs from the government. If the government sets a program it’s our work to implement it like in lower primary – the thematic curriculum is affected, games and sports and now the remote learning program and our children keep benefiting etc it’s our work to accomplish it.

Moderator: Well you talked about remote learning, but as a district how have you handled it?

Kamaga Edward: Thank you sir, from the time when we had this pandemic, the MoE gave us self study materials and the RDCs received those materials with us, whereby we were able to distribute them to our people and be able to learn something.

Moderator: On that same point Mr. DEO are the self study materials which were provided by the government been of any use in your district of Kaliro?

Kamaga Edward: Very true they have helped much because the government told us the role of teaching is now on a household, meaning any parent who has taken care of his/her child to learn and been given to listen to the radio lessons, time to go through the study materials, and others, then that child has benefited. But any parent who has been careless on their children, then the children have not benefited because the roles shifted to parents at home to lead learning from home.

Moderator: Fine, when you were talking about the mechanisms/approaches by the government, you talked about the thematic curriculum which is being used in schools, how is your relationship with the teachers of lower classes because I am sure this one approach is applicable to lower classes only. How is your relationship strengthened as the district education office with those thematic teachers in this period of the lockdown?

Kamaga Edward: Now we will not go far into thematic curriculum but the government programs of the self study materials is one that we have been basing on and they have been taught on radios and children have listening to them because for us in Kaliro, we use Jinja radio stations like this Busoga one, and we encourage parents to reserve time for children to study.

Moderator: Can I say that this is the only way the district has been using or is there any other means most especially in this period of the lock down, how has your office transformed learning in your district especially in this period?

Kamaga Edward: The office has transformed education in this period through mobilizing and encouraging parents to reserve time for the child to study what was given to them.

Moderator: How have you come doing it if you talk of mobilizing and encouraging them.

Kamaga Edward: We do this as a district and we work with the RDC Madam Janet Billy Mulindwa, the LCV chairperson Mr. Elijah Kagoda, the CAO and our office education, we use the platforms given to us like at the burial function, graduation parties etc though we are in a CV19 era. So we use those platforms by telling parents the arrengements of the government and how we are supposed to ensure our children learn

Moderator: Thank you very much Mr. Kamaga Edward for those arrangements and for one I appreciate them. Okay let me go to my friend Madam Jaliya from Mayuge the DIS. We are very honored to have you today because you people are very rear, but can you please briefly tell us the work of the DIS in the district to enable the listener learn something.

 Nabirye Jaliya –DIS: Thank you very much the moderator of this program and the listeners for tuning. My greatest work as Nabirye Allen Jaliya is to monitor schools with the purpose of maintaining the standard, having all structures in place, having enough teachers, having a good curriculum from the National development curriculum centre of Uganda and approved. It’s the reason to see that the environment is good for the child and the teacher and to see that children are cared for because we do not want to see that children’s rights are violated at schools. We look at quality of education and monitor what brings quality in schools.

Moderator: Alright, that’s in brief but how has your work changed/ transformed the of work education in your district in this period of Cvd 19 for these two years when schools are closed down?

Nabirye Jaliya: I t is very true and well known by every in the world but for our case in Uganda schools were closed but by the time they were closed down, it did not mean learning was closed. Learning remained at home and the responsibility was shifted teachers to parents and at this time children are learning from schools to homes- how? Just as the DEO has said any parent who gives much attention to support his children to learn though they say if I put much concentration on children then we will not have something to eat however, we do encourage them to add in the extended families like having the elder children to support the young ones for example the radios lessons which have been going on because they give exercise which they can be helped in.

Moderator: Well, you have talked about the radio lessons and I do very well remember I was here with the teachers who used to facilitate those radio lessons but they told us they no longer facilitate them, as the DIS what happened to those lessons we do hear the same recorded topics teachers are no longer facilitating why is it not working?

Nabirye Jaliya: Thank you but this program is still on but the radio s are still replaying them, why because they children have grown and graduated from one level to another however these lessons are helping the little ones who were not in those levels.

Moderator: You mean we no longer have new recorded topics they will keep replaying those ones?

Nabirye Jaliya: There are new programs that I want to give you for remote learning which have been introduced by MoE known as E-learning on all types of phones a person just presses *260# and okay, you go to option 5.

Moderator: That is good but it is not yet known by people.

Nabirye Jaliya: True but that is the reason why you invited us here and in this program we are working with head teachers after registering with them because parents were complaining that some of their children do not know how to read in English and it’s the reason why NCDC made packages according to the different levels of the curriculum and let every parent consent that I have accepted my child to learn.

Moderator: You mean the parent has to allow their children to use the phones.

Nabirye Jaliya: It is true because children do not own phones, so if a parent doesn’t have a phone still they can use the neighbors’ phone- it is a matter of using the code which was proved in that particular class. In this method, the quiz is also given and if a child fails the question cannot proceed to another topic.

Moderator: Meaning if a child is not understanding the questions they should ask another person who understand the work/

Nabirye Jaliya: Yes and in this case teachers and head teachers are the ones controlling these programs, they are the administrators of this program?

Moderator: Madam Inspector, is this program only in government schools or even private schools?

Nabirye Jaliya: We started with government schools first but beginning from last week any one can register for a learner’s code beginning from p.4-p.7 for primary and secondary from s.1- s.4.

Moderator: Meaning still the lower primary is not considered.

Nabirye Jaliya: Not that they are not catered for other programs like us in Mayuge we have aprogram known as Teach for Uganda and they are using on-line learning on phone but a parent has to be around and on this point I want to inform you that we are still using thematic curriculum where we teach all the themes, meaning all subjects are covered.

Moderator: Besides E-learning, is there any other program that you have introduced or discovered in this period?

Nabirye Jaliya: At the moment, that is the only method used and self study materials with those able parents who can buy news papers with pull outs.

Moderator: We have come seeing for these last years the strong collaboration of schools and parents in this period but still there are schools which have not even bothered to strengthen this relationship. Now for your case in Mayuge, how are you going to make sure the collaboration of schools is strengthened between the parents and the children?

Nabirye Jaliya: We will continue encouraging those who have made it well to share their experiences with those who have deteriorated through the coordination meetings with head teachers, religious leaders and other leaders by use of these platforms and not stopping them at all but continue emphasizing their workability and encourage the parents because by the time we re-open schools in January, we have to recover the lost work since we have learnt that phones can be used to study.

Moderator: That is on the side of schools but what about parents because now it seems every parent is his/her own. What are you going to do with schools because I think up to now schools do not know who is bringing back children to their schools- now how to continue strengthen this relationship?

Nabirye Jaliya: It is not true that teachers do not know which child is going back to school but in the first instance we are going to train teachers in psychosocial support more especially the private teachers who have had a lot of stress, and we do not want to so much bother them with much pressure but by encouraging them to provide the required services when we finally begin.

Moderator: Alright, thank you very much inspector of schools from Mayuge, thank you for your ideas. Ladies and gentlemen in the studios, we have Mr. Kamaga Edward the DEO from Kaliro, Madam Jaliya the DIS Mayuge and the Deputy Head teacher Ndifakulya P/S madam Mukanza Prossy. Well, Madam Mukanza you have so well listened to the discussions of the two panelists and they have been talking about the different approaches used in this period like the self study materials, E-learning etc. now for your case in Ndifakulya what have you doing to support children’s learning in this period?

Mukanza Prossy: Thank you very much Mr. Moderator and I continue thanking the government for the different approaches developed in this period because they never left what the DEO and the DIS have just told us. However, Mr. Moderator I want to inform you that it is like Cvd 19 came to check us and I will speak in two capacities- one as a parent and as teacher.

Moderator: How?

Mukanza Prossy: They sent us those children back to our homes when we were not ready.

Moderator: Now speak as the head teacher.

Mukanza Prossy: When we sent those children back to their homes, everyone looked at education as a cut off learning exercise and when those materials were distributed by the DEOs office and the RDC at the sub-county etc.

Moderator: For your case as Ndifakulya how have you been doing it?

Mukanza Prossy: At Ndifakulya p/s, we have been challenged since all children are still at home and we do not have a defined program at school that we are conducting and during our meetings with our bosses they tell us to keep them busy but apart from encouraging the few net children to keep revising their books in their villages or parent to tell their children to listen to radio lessons and the on-line studies.

Moderator:  But there are many head teachers whom we have hosted here and they have got such arrangements. However, away from that which ideas do you have to keep maintaining the relationship between the school of Ndifakulya and the parents?

Mukanza Prossy: Thank you very much but my idea is to continue encouraging our children and the parent to be part of the said program of E-learning because we are registering and cording the children in Bugiri. It is only unfortunate that we are a little behind compared to our friends in Mayuge but we are still in the process and I continue appealing parents to buy dry cells for the radios, let us charge our phones for the children to study.

Moderator:  Madam Mukanza which different approach have you set to continue strengethening the relationship between the children, parents and the school?

Mukanza Prossy: We have got an organization known as Raising Voices that is supporting us through speaking to children, checking their study materials and encouraging them that Cvd 19 will soon go and we shall resume studies.

Moderator: I have got a point right there- if this organization of Raising Voices stops today you mean you people of Ndifakulya will not support those children?

Mukanza Prossy: We will remain supporting them but as I told you that we are already challenged since all children are at home and there is no way we can help them out.

Moderator: Thank you Madam and I think Madam DIS you want to add on something right there and please let us use one minute because time is not on our side.

Nabirye Jaliya: Thank you very much, I want to add on from my fellow head teacher and informing you that is not true that every head teacher has been challenged but there are those schools who created links and sent them to the parents like Iganga SS and Iganga Boys, some schools have given out tablets where children are reading, writing and being marked so head teachers are real doing some work.

Moderator: Alright, right there, I would like Mr. kamaga let you use less than a minute.

Kamaga Edward: I want to thank you because there is a question you asked madam head mistress because she was reasoning from the context of Ndifakulya and I know where it is. This is a community school village just like our schools in Kaliro because even the type of phones that parents use have got no provision for those links, but just like the DIS said schools like Iganga Boys parents are able to buy data on phones to get those links not like our Kanabugo schools were by the type of phones at homes do not allow the links to be accessed.

Moderator: Okay, thank you very much we shall begin from there and my dear listener, and remember we are talking about sharing experiences and supporting remote learning for all children when schools are still closed and sharing with the education offices what they have gone through in this period of the lock down. And for that reason let me take you for the short break and when we return you will talk to us through these numbers 0757906906 or 0776999906, we will be back soon.

Very true the wisdom to learn resides with in us and not in anybody else but in me, you and the other one, remember we are talking about sharing experiences and supporting remote learning for all children when schools are still closed and sharing with the education offices what they have gone through in this period of the lock down. I already told you the numbers to call on is 0776999906 and 07579069006 and as you call in please tell us your name, where you are calling from and discuss on the matters raised. Hello someone on line.

Well, as the lines are being set in position, Madam Mukanza Prossy you had something to comment.

Mukanza Prossy: Yes I was saying that as head teachers we have not yet got the avenues of reaching out to our children because majority do not have Tv and the type of phones used are no good and they told us to begin registering children from p.4 and above and we haven’t received the lower primary codes.

Moderator: Alright, let us get someone on line Hello..

Caller1: My name is Omulangira Koowa from Nanvunano Luuka.

Moderator: Thank you for call.

Caller1: I am indeed very grateful for what madam is saying but that approach is very new to us in and we do not have it in Luuka in villages, now how can we access it? And the other method of learning from Tv is not applicable because children have shifted their attention to watching sops like Utran etc

Moderator: What is your suggestion?

Caller1: what I am saying is the method of picking study materials was very helpful because children were picking those papers but many children do not have phones and those with them will instead call their lovers.

Moderator: I request you do say something to parents without phones and they have got radios now listening in.

Caller1: I am beseeching all parents to take seriously what madam has said and put it to work- thank you very much.

Caller2: This is Nabirye Fiida from Butabala.

Moderator: Butabala Kamuli, please go on to the issues discussed.

Caller2: I am just grateful for the issues discussed.

Caller3: I am Imam Farouk from Bugenwa Kamuli.

Moderator: Thank you Imam, please go on.

Caller3: After listening in to what the education leaders have said, I discovered one challenge in village schools and when she talked about E-learning I immediately started on pressing but they asked for my learners’ code, where can I get the code?

Moderator: Thank you madam will guide you and answer you immediately.

Nabirye Jaliya: Thank you and listeners for calling but you get the learners code after registering the class of the child and the parent registering his/her national ID with the head teacher then it shall be provided.

Moderator: Imam Farouk just do the same, you will get the learners code.

Caller 4: My name is Isabirye Ezera from Makandwa Mayuge, I am saying that those approaches cannot work.

Moderator: How can’t it work?

Caller4: We have very poor parents this side.

Moderator: Talk about your self can manage it or not?

Caller4: with me I cannot because even papers were not received in Bugweri.

Moderator: You mean you are suggesting that we leave these programs? Oh he has left. Mr. Kamaga answer the gentleman.

Kamaga Edward: Thank you sir, those are some of parents we are encouraging and Mr. Ezera from Makandwa Bugweri said he can’t manage but he managed to call us on radio, I am completely convinced that he can support a child.

Caller5: My name is Sebagala Muhamed from Iringa Buyende, I am glad by their arrangements and I continue requesting them to move on with their programs.

Moderator: Okay thank you and let us get some on line. Someone on line tell us your name and where you are calling from?

Caller6: My name is Maido Ayub chairman LC1 Namavundu.

Moderator: Please discuss on the issues introduced.

Caller6: There people saying it is very hard may be there is a point where he is unable but back to the issue is this only used on smart phones or not?

Moderator: Well, today we are not discussing the smart phones but still talking about Supporting remote learning for all children and sharing the experiences of district education offices and their responsibilities in this period of the lockdown.

Caller6: That is true but the other caller said study materials were not enough and had skiped classes. These materials were printed in a way that they cannot be kept for long and it was very hard to photocopy them.

Moderator: Point noted and one of the two will respond to you either the DEO or the DIS because of our limited time, let us pick our last caller.

Caller7: I am Isabirye Hakim from Busenda B Mayuge district, but ever since schools were closed, we have never seen any head teacher at schools.

Moderator: Alright he is a pupil, and let us use few minutes to wrap up this beginning with madam Prossy in one minute your key ward message and sent greetings to one person.

Mukanza Prossy: I want to encourage everyone that the government gave this opportunity to please let us embrace it to support our children and if you do not have the phone or data go to the neighbors. Finally to the last caller Isabirye and other children if you want to see a teacher go pay a visit because schools are closed and they support you from there. I want to send my greetings Mr Balondemu to my children at home, husband, Patricia, Miriam, and Mellinum guest house Bugiri.

Nabirye Jaliya: Thank you very much Mr. Moderator, thank you our listeners for calling but all phones are good and can be used, two lessons have no timing and I am very grateful for this program, My name is Nabirye Allen Jaliya and I send greetings to My children at home, Mr. Isabirye my husband and all my parents. Thank you.

Moderator: Alright, Mr. kamaga Edward, please summaries.

Kamaga Edward: I summaries by saying that it is our responsibilities to support all children in all aspects and there are secondary humanity reading materials that can be used.

Moderator: send greetings to one person.

Kamaga Edward: I do send my greetings to my wife Judith Kamaga and all people from Kaliro district thank you very much.

Moderator: Thank you everyone and those who called in. let us take the approach of E-learning, self study materials and other. I want to appreciate our funder Elevate partners for education and all the partner organizations in all operational districts, friends let bus catch up here next Saturday and I remain your servant Balondemu Simon good bye.