Several primary and secondary schools are either scaling down or completely abandoning online teaching in the current lockdown. During the first lockdown, schools mostly in urban areas switched from the four-walled classrooms and adopted remote collaboration tools to facilitate learning.
Schools scheduled classes on zoom and Google classes among other applications.
Most of these appeared to be compulsory and parents had to part with tuition fees for their children to attend the lessons. Some schools used these classes to assess the performance of learners and issued reports to their parents. However, the buildup seems to be fading as some schools have decided to scale or scrap the programs altogether.
Dominic Karyarugokwe, the Principal Froberto Nursery and Primary school in Hoima district attributes the development to lack of response from parents. Karyarugokwe explains that they managed to conduct e-Learning last year without many hurdles because of the cooperation of parents.
The situation isn’t any different at Greenhill primary school, which had advised their parents to use GS Virtual learning platform, an independent service provider. Susan Namayanja, an administrator at the school notes that very few learners are connecting to the platform these days yet in the first lockdown nearly all learners participated.
Despite the low turn-up of learners, some schools like Yudesi primary school have persisted conducting online lessons. Robert Kakaire, the head teacher Yudesi primary school, says that although many parents are shunning the online lessons, there are a few who are committed.
Some parents interviewed cited a number of reasons including hiked fees as one of the major reasons for the failure to enroll their children on online classes.
Rita Nalubowa, a parent at Lohana primary school, says the school informed them about their plan not to conduct online classes like the case was in the past. She says that the news came as a huge relief due to financial constraints.
“I can tell you that I was relieved when the school came out and halted online classes during this lockdown. We don’t have money for those lessons,” says Nalubowa.
Zainab Ssesanga, another parent, says that the current situation is a trying moment for parents, learners and schools revealing that as a parent she was tired of the expenses that come with online studies yet its results are not tangible.
Lillian Mulongo, another parent says that schools were charging nearly the same tuition they pay during normal school days. She explained that in the first lockdown, parents were desperate thinking their children would miss out on key areas of study.
Mulongo also questioned the relevance of the lessons. “Our children studied on zoom, but the arrangement seemed to be irrelevant. “After spending months, our learners could not be promoted to the next class. When they went back to school we had to pay more money. So this time we will participate in the government Programme,” she said.
Information obtained from different schools indicates that some schools have been forced to reconsider their online lessons following numerous complaints sent by parents to the ministry of education. Ismail Mulindwa, the Director of Basic and Secondary Education in the Ministry of Education, says that schools are using online classes to charge hefty fees, which creates an imbalance between those who can pay and those who can’t.
Mulindwa explains that it’s only higher institutions of learning that are permitted to hold online studies.