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Makerere, UCU Defend Online Learning Program :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Makerere, UCU Defend Online Learning Program

Makerere University Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Umaru Kakumba says that the university conducted a survey to establish the readiness of the students. He says that 75 percent of the students indicated that they were ready to resume teaching and learning utilizing the open distance and e-learning
22 Oct 2020 15:17
Dr Aaron Mushengyezi, the UCU Vice Chancellor.

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Makerere University and Uganda Christian University have defended the online learning program.

In a recent petition to Parliament, student leaders from Makerere University, Uganda Christian University (UCU), Kyambogo University and Uganda Martyrs’ University demanded that online learning should be suspended. They argued that the program is discriminatory and inefficient especially to medical students whose curriculum requires 85% physical interaction between lecturers and students.

The leaders argue that internet coverage in some parts of the country is poor making it difficult for some students to study online.

In March 2020, all education institutions were closed by President Yoweri Museveni as a measure to curb the spread of Covid-19.  Last month, they were allowed to reopen for only final students on condition they adhere to the covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures- SOPs.

Makerere University Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Umaru Kakumba says that President Yoweri Museveni guided that tertiary institutions should adopt distance learning as a way of continuing to manage challenges posed by Covid-19.

He noted that in line with the President’s guidance, the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) provided them guidelines and that those who were ready could be inspected and given opportunity to run the open distance and e-learning.

According to Kakumba, the university conducted a survey to establish the readiness of the students. He says that 75 percent of the students indicated that they were ready to resume teaching and learning utilizing the open distance and e-learning.

He further indicated that the remaining 25 percent students indicated that they were not ready due to lack of laptops and also data bundles.

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He added that university management also negotiated with telecom companies including Africell and MTN provided zero rating to the University Website in regard to access to academic material. He also explains that they negotiated with different companies to see a possibility of getting affordable laptops and other educational equipment that can be accessed at hire purchase.

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He also noted that students who will not be able to complete their studies during the Covid-19 pandemic will be allowed to complete later without facing any sanctions.

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Dr Aaron Mushengyezi, Uganda Christian University’s Vice Chancellor says that suspending online learning would be a disaster for private universities especially because it will easily send them into bankruptcy since they mainly rely on tuition.

He says that it would be unfortunate to halt the online learning and suggested that the students should only help to improve the system going forward in case of any challenges.

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According to Mushengyezi, their e-learning platform has been tested and proved to be efficient, noting that they were able to interview and test their 870 Bachelor of Law applicants, 250 applicants on the Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery as well as 20 applicants for the Dental program.

Mushengyezi noted that they complied with the NCHE requirements as well as the physical spacing requirement for teaching finalists. He however said that students who are not able to enroll on the University’s e-learning platform will not be penalized and that those not able to do examinations online will be allowed to withdraw and write them at a later stage.

He said that 95 percent of the students have laptops and that those without will be catered for under an arrangement with the suppliers.

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He noted that the university staff has been trained in e-learning measures and that it is important to allow them resume work after many months of sitting at home without any livelihood.

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