Makerere University is taking the lead to ensure that quality education remains a priority as the country grapples with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Makerere University through the College of Education and External Studies took keen interest in the topical debate that education will never be or mean the same after the Covid-19 pandemic that disrupted the education system with schools closed to safeguard the lives of learners and teachers.
“No one knows how many of the estimated 500,617 teachers in both government and private schools will return to class and in what form,” Dr. Mathias Mulumba, the Dean, School of Education said, during the press briefing.
In Uganda, the school system was disrupted for close to two years and different actors have expressed the need for the country to rise to the COVID-19 challenges and continue to provide quality education.
To address this critical issue, CEES and the Ministry of Education and Sports have organized the National Stakeholders’ symposium on Covid-19 and Education to analyze and discuss key issues and innovations that can keep the quality of education afloat during and after the pandemic.
The National Stakeholders’ Symposium slated for 24thto 26th November 2021 at the Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala will provide a platform to stakeholders and actors to dialogue and provide solutions under the theme, “Getting back a right to quality education during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.” The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni will grace the National Stakeholders’ Symposium.
Addressing journalists during a press conference held on Friday 12th November 2021 at Makerere University, Dr. Mathias Mulumba, Dean of the School of Education highlighted that the key stakeholders to participate in this discussion include school administrators at all levels, private and public players, agencies and the academia. The symposium will also involve other partners namely The World Bank, USAID, UNICEF, and Raising Voices among others.
Dr. Mulumba expressed concern that some of the challenges that the learners were exposed to were more likely to result in loss of interest in learning. He pointed out teenage pregnancies, domestic violence and the uncertainty of what classes the learners would join when schools re-open.
Similarly, teachers as he further explained have adopted to businesses outside the profession for survival which may cause some to drop out of their professional practice.
On behalf of the Ministry of Education and Sports, Mr. Timothy Ssejoba-Principal Education Officer in charge of University Education pointed out that the National Stakeholders’ Symposium will lead to the formulation of the National Participatory Consolidated Plan of Action on Covid-19 and Education.
Mr. Ssejoba also underscored the policy direction that requires all teachers to attain a degree in education over the next 10 years. “This is aimed at professionalizing the education sector. We would like the teachers to upgrade, acquire more skills and knowledge and also to be in tandem with the trends in the education sector.”
Also present at the press conference were Dr. Muhammad Kiggundu Musoke Head Department of Humanities and Language Education, Dr. Rebecca Nambi Member of Staff Department of Humanities and Language Education, Dr. John Sentongo-Head of Science, Technical and Vocational Education, Dr. Charles Kyasanku National Coordinator Working Groups and Ms. Ritah Namisango Principal PRO Makerere University.