The Effect of COVID-19 on the Ugandan Education System: A Review
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change-related disasters, armed conflict, protracted crises and forced displacement disrupted learning for seventy-five (75) million learners. It is estimated that more than 1 billion and 575 million students in 188 countries worldwide have been impacted by schools and universities being shut-down as a preventative response to contain the pandemic. For instance, more than 17.5 million students in Uganda were sent home during the lockdown. The worldwide consensus was that education is vital and must continue amidst the closing of the learning institutions. As such, e-learning was adopted although how it would be achieved remained more problematic especially in primary-secondary schools. The responses to education by a large-number of citizens and government officials varied from country to country. In Uganda, the government offered the use of online material via the Internet, television or radio. Teachers were required to adapt to new pedagogical approaches for which continuous training is needed. By January 2022, all institutions of learning were fully opened on condition that all students, teachers and non-teaching staff receive COVID-19 vaccinations in addition to adhering to standard operating procedures, such as observing social-distance, washing hands with detergents and wearing a mask. However, vaccine procurement, vaccine hesitation and emergency of new variants like the Delta and Omicron remained a challenge. The number of COVID-19 vaccination dozes administered per 100 people in Uganda from 3rd January 2020 to 17th January 2023 stands at 57.5 percent. This prompts the question: how can education be sustained? In this paper, the authors examined the aspects that distress the feasibility and quality of e-learning in Uganda. The study found that technical-infrastructure and accessibility, remote-learning competencies and pedagogies, and the specific-field of study affect teacher performance, student knowledge, and skills.
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