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Ministry Of Education Secures 15Milion USD Grant To Facilitate Learning During Covid-19 Pandemic

The Ministry of Education has secured a grant of USD 15 million (shs 55.8 billion) to facilitate the COVID-19 Emergency Education Response during the Covid-19 pandemic. The funding is part of the Global Partnership in Education-GPE programme channelled through the World Bank.

According to the ministry of education, the project is expected to run for 18 months and will benefit about  14.6 million learners in pre-primary, primary, and lower-secondary education cycles, as well as 406,000 teachers and school administrators. It will focus on ensuring continued learning during the closure of schools and preparing the system for school reopening once the situation allows.

In the first phase of the project, the National Curriculum Development Centre-NCDC will take the lion’s share spending 1.9 billion Shillings to develop self-study materials, 2.6 billion Shillings to establish a printery and 20.8 billion Shillings to print and distribute self-study materials.

NCDC will also use over 2.6 billion Shillings to produce materials for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. This includes printing self-study home packages in large print and braille, recorded lessons and presentations for different categories of visually impaired students and television-lessons which will use sign languages and subtitles for students with hearing difficulties.

Speaking to Journalists recently, Dr Bernadette Nambi, the Deputy Director of the National Curriculum Development Centre revealed that the distribution of self-study materials had been affected by a shortage of funds. Nambi said that with funding in place, the centre needed only 35 days to produce learning materials for the entire student population.

As part of the project, the Ministry of Education will develop key messages awareness and health safeguarding messages to be delivered to students, teachers, parents, and community members through SMS, TV, and radio.

“The awareness campaign will promote psychosocial support and referrals for case management for teachers and students as well as identify and report high risks children and teachers face in the community,” according to the project brief.

Over 2.2 billion Shillings is also included to support the procurement of airtime on radio and TV stations to air lessons to support learning, provide transportation for teachers from homes to radio stations and back to their homes, and provide facilitation for teachers to prepare and deliver lessons on radio and TV. However, this specific project will not cover the planned distribution of radios and TVs to families.

Part of the project funding to a tune of 26.97 billion Shillings will be used to support the safe re-opening, student re-entry, and sustained progression in schools. In this aspect, the ministry will, among other things, carry out on training Standard Operating Procedures for reopening, establish remedial programs for girls and students with special needs and create Back to School campaigns.

Under the same component, the ministry will provide public schools with small grants to support the implementation of Water Sanitation and Hygiene-WASH programs, provide Psycho-social support, safety, and security of students.

“The grants will also cover purchasing soaps, buckets, and hand-washing facilities that will additionally be adaptive to persons with disabilities in schools. It will include cleaning and disinfectants and sanitizing materials. Face masks will be provided under other government programs,” the application document adds.

Last week, while addressing the nation on the status of education, the minister of education, Janet Kataaha Museveni encouraged institutions, especially higher ones to adopt e-learning during the pandemic.

“His Excellency, the President directed that a Cabinet Sub-Committee be constituted to look into the issue of re-opening of Institutions of Learning. This Committee had representation from the other Ministries such as Health, Local Government, ICT and National Guidance, Science, Innovation and technology. The Committee also consulted with the technical team of Scientists that is advising the government on its response to this pandemic,” Janet said.

“After taking into consideration all the views, we resolved that the time was not yet right to have learners go back to their Institutions of Learning – not even for a candidate classes as we had earlier thought,” She added.