As per the Presidential directive dated 18th March 2020, all primary and secondary schools, university and other institutions of learning closed shop starting Friday, March 20, 2020. The tentative closure will last a period of a month and a day. This month-long lock-down is to act as a preventative measure against the spread of the highly infectious global pandemic, Coronavirus Covid-19 in Uganda.
Given the short notice, I would imagine most schools didn’t have the foresight to come up with an impromptu holiday package for the estimated 15 million students now back at home.
Quotable: “It is wise that we temporarily remove these concentration points to prevent the spread of coronavirus. All these institutions, without exception, should close so that we deny this virus high concentration. We don’t want the virus to find dry grass ready for ignition,”Uganda President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni~ Daily Monitor
University intranets aside, these are dozens of e-learning platforms any parent can utilize to continue their children’s education from the comfort of their home. On the plus side, for most of them, the content is free and open source. All that is required from you as a parent is a PC and an internet bundle and your child is good to go.
Ugandan eLearning platforms
Gayaza High School is a trailblazer when it comes to e-learning in Uganda. The all-girls high school is a Pathfinder school affiliated to Microsoft Partners in Learning for Schools programme.
The Gayaza High School eLearning Platform was launched in 2010 spearheaded by Ronald Ddungu, the school deputy headteacher. The school uploads free to access exercises, classroom notes, video tutorials, audio podcasts and resource links.
Here is the full list of subjects covered on the platform:
Mathematics, Sub Maths, Additional Maths, Agriculture, Biology, Chemistry, Christian Religious Education, Commerce, Computer Science, Economics, English, Fine Art, Foods & Nutrition, French, General Sciences, Geography, German, History, Home Economics, Kiswahili, Literature In English, Music, Physical Education, Physics, Science
Walktrack Edu Platform provides free and open-source education resources for students and teachers alike. The platform is the brainchild of Emmanuel Angoda, a seasoned educator at Lira Town College and All Saints University Lango.
The education resources in question comprise secondary school and university study material but with a bias for secondary schools. These include classroom notes, Powerpoint presentations, Question & Answer booklets, short books, Computer studies and ICT files, and Past papers in UCE and UACE. As of University resources, you get a little of this and that in Degree, Diploma and Certificate courses.
Passuneb.com is an e-learning platform which started out as a repository of UNEB past papers for PLE, UCE and UACE (hence the name). Since 2014, Passuneb.com has assisted primary students, O’Level and A’Level students to pass their exams through revision of set questions along with their answers. Of late, the platform also provides an online self-test, and e-library, a virtual lab, career guidance, and current affairs.
Not to be confused with UMEME’s Yaka, Yaaka Digital Learning Network is one of the most comprehensive repositories of Ugandan education resources. The courses encompass pre-primary, primary, O’Levels, A’Levels, Tertiary, University, Post Graduate, and Skills Development.
Whilst most course units are free and open-source, Yaaka monetises some aspects of their platform. If you wish to download the audio podcasts and video tutorials, you are required to pay a modest sum. I consider this a fair deal. Yaaka has an ensemble of teachers creating all this content. A little compensation for their time and effort isn’t out of order. Institutions, teachers and parents are welcome to jump on board.
Cyber School Technology Solutions takes a different tact. Instead of being open-source, a school has to lease/hire the e-learning platform at an annual fee of UGX 100,000. Some of the schools on board include Nabisunsa, Gayaza, Makerere College to mention a few.
The core subjects comprise Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Below is the full list of the package according to the Cyber School website:
- School assessment.
- Science and Math Teacher training.
- Software delivery and installation.
- Follow-up Training of the teachers inside the school / in class.
- Digital Science/Virtual lab coordinator training.
- Student training (a representative from each class).
- Regular follow-up school visits.
- Monitoring and evaluation of use of software including calculation of changes in grades.
- Termly Progress in Schools Meetings with Head Teacher, DoS, Science Teachers, Super Teachers and Lab Attendants.
- Regular Super teacher Brush Up training.
- Software and hardware maintenance & repair.
- Give advice on procurement of additional hardware for the schools.
- Upgrading of the software (new and improved versions).
- One CSTS staff member allocated to follow your school to give you personal service (as per the above).
Exam Uganda is a simplistic barebones (still has ipsum lorem in the About section) e-learning platform concentrating on the revision of exam papers. The platform offers three Science exams apiece in Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
Airtel Uganda has made Exam Uganda free to access even without an active internet connection. With a slogan saying, “Stay Away from Corona Virus. Attempt Exams Online,” who can resist paying Exam Uganda a visit.
As the name hints at, Revise Now is a treasure chest of past papers in PLE, UCE and UACE going as far back as 30 years. All examinable subjects are included (apart from Fine Art) for your revision. Unfortunately, the correct answers don’t come with. Luckily, as the revision is done at home, the student is expected to have their own study notes on hand.