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Uganda Unveils New “Long Distance Learning” Plan

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the current president of Uganda has unleashed a new plan for all students to access education at home. In his presidential address on Monday 22nd June, the president updated the country on the status of Covid–19 and the different measures that will hopefully tame the spread of the pandemic, including what he called the Long Distance Learning.

In this new plan, Museveni revealed that the government shall distribute free radio sets to every household in the country, so as to enable those living in abject poverty and the residents of the remotest areas of the country.

“Radio sets shall be given to each and every household, to ensure that even those in the farthest villages have access to education through the media.”

He added that the distribution of free self-study materials to students is still ongoing and extending to the remote districts of Uganda, where people hardly have access to television or newspapers, in which these study materials are always found.

These measures have come at a time that speculation has been growing among the people about when the president will let schools reopen. To the people’s dismay, schools are still subject to the indefinite lockdown.

Building on the idea of radio distribution, Museveni said it will be easier and safer for students to access the classes conducted on them, rather than the previous idea that television sets were to be distributed, one per village so that students would gather at one public place to study. This is because of the risks associated.

“I was personally in favor of giving one Television set to each village, but I had to consult on whether it’s safe for students.”

However, critics already rendered this an empty promise, even before the president mentioned it, because the Uganda Electoral Commission stated it as a new substitute for campaign rallies, as all political candidates shall have to campaign through social and mass media. This sparked massive criticism based on the government’s shortcomings on food and mask distribution, as said by Norbert Mao, the president and flag bearer of the Democratic Party.

“You can’t tell me that the government will be able to distribute radio sets, when they have still failed to distribute food and facial masks. This is just another political move.”

Uganda has so far discharged over 600 patients out of 772 total Covid-19 cases, and zero deaths have been recorded so far, an achievement the president is not willing to let go of.

As for the reopening of schools, Museveni boldly said that he doesn’t expect a patriotic Ugandan school owner to demand that schools be reopened. Therefore, this leaves the country in a state of uncertainty on whether 2020 will be a dead academic year or not.

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