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Gulu Learners Paying No Attention to Radio Lessons

At least 15 radio stations across the country were chosen to air pre-recorded lessons since June 14. In Acholi region, the lessons are aired through the Kitgum-based Tembo FM to cover the districts of Lamwo, Agago and Pader whereas, Mega FM in Gulu is targeting learners in Omoro, Nwoya and Amuru Districts. Each of the lessons runs for 25 minutes, three days every week.
23 Jun 2021 14:13
Education authorities want all radios involved for smooth on-air teaching during pandemic lockdown-Photo by Dominic Ochola

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Learners in Gulu and neighbouring districts are paying little or no attention to the ongoing radio lessons that are intended to ensure continuity in learning at a time when educational institutions are closed.

At least 15 radio stations across the country were chosen to air pre-recorded lessons since June 14. In Acholi region, the lessons are aired through the Kitgum-based Tembo FM to cover the districts of Lamwo, Agago and Pader whereas, Mega FM in Gulu is targeting learners in Omoro, Nwoya and Amuru Districts. Each of the lessons runs for 25 minutes, three days every week.

Speaking to URN, Denis Otim, a Primary Four Pupil of Pece Primary School in Gulu says he is not aware of any lessons aired on the radio and adds that even if he knew about the arrangement, he would prefer physical interaction with his teachers to the virtual learning programs.

Unlike Otim, Susan Akanyo, a Primary Five pupil of Pabbo Primary School in Amuru District says that her parents keep her so preoccupied up with garden work ever since schools closed giving her a limited time to follow radio lessons.

Moses Okot, a concerned parent in Nwoya District asserts that the ongoing on-air lessons have got no significant impact on the learners in lockdown and also faults the government for failing to deliver on the promise to provide households with radio sets to facilitate learning.

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But George Ayiba Butele, the Nwoya District Education Officer says that while volunteer teachers have commenced teaching on radios via Voice of Nwoya Radio in Anaka Town Council, it remains an assumption of how many learners actually follow the on-air teachings.

Butele explains that radio lessons make it challenging to assess and evaluate learners and equally get feedback from the learners because oftentimes they may not have airtime to make calls to seek clarifications from the teachers.

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His counterpart, the Omoro District Education Officer, Rev. Vincent Oceng Ocen proposed that government conducts on-air lessons on all available FM radios at the same time to enable learners to track their progress.

In May 2020, during the first lockdown, the government announced that it intended to procure 10 million radio sets to be distributed to every household in the country including 137,466 solar-powered television sets to facilitate virtual lessons for 15 million learners as opposed to announcing a dead year.

The proposal dragged on until October 2020 when MPs declined to approve the request by the Finance and Education Ministries for an expenditure of 336.8 billion Shillings to purchase the radio sets.