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At a Webinar held on Saturday May 30th, 2020, Stakeholders in the Education Sector agreed that in spite of the disruptions occasioned by Covid-19, Uganda had an opportunity to create a thriving Education Sector by harnessing the lessons learned, combined with strategic interventions that were already planned by various Governmental and private sector players.
The Special Guest was Dr. Kedrace Turyagenda, Head, Directorate of Education Standards, Ministry of Education. Panelists discussed a paper presented on behalf of CASTLE Think Tank by Mrs. Lorna Magara, Principal Vine Academy and Chairman University Council, Makerere University, Professor John Mugisha, Treasurer, Vice Chancellor’s Forum, Mr. Filbert Baguma, Secretary General UNATU, Mr. Patrick Kaboyo, Private Schools and Mr. Douglas Opio, Co-Chair, TVET Policy Implementation Group. The session was moderated by Mr. Gabriel Iguma, host of Radio One’s Spectrum talk show.

CASTLE’s Position Paper on Education presented by Mrs. Lorna Magara::
The CASTLE position paper outlined the gaps exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic together with the challenges posed in the Education Sector. It then presented the opportunities that have emerged and made recommendations for the Education Sector.

Highlights of the discussion:
1. Mrs. Lorna Magara, Principal Vine Academy and Chairman University Council, Makerere University:

On behalf of CASTLE Think Tank, Mrs. Lorna Magara proposed the exploration of new models and new patterns of instruction which included virtual classroom platforms among others. She advocated for asynchronous learning, continuous assessment and the need to adopt a double shift system which would enable the education sector to offer good quality training to more pupils effectively using the available infrastructure.

2. Dr. Kedrace Turyagenda, Head, Directorate of Education Standards, Ministry of Education:

Dr. Kedrace noted that Educational learning was a holistic process that transcended the strict confines of the classroom. Growth in knowledge skills and attitudes was the result of an interplay of home, school and community based learning. She recognized the challenges cited in the paper and by the panelists, and reiterated that the Ministry of Education was working towards addressing them overtime. COVID-19 had been a wake up call to make continuity in learning an integral part of national emergency planning and the challenges that had emerged had provided an opportunity for fresh thinking that went beyond the mitigation of the crisis and sought transformation. Dr. Turyagyenda’s conviction was that with the right mindset and effective implementation, the country was capable of rising to the needs of the future.

3. Professor John Mugisha, Treasurer, Vice Chancellor’s Forum:

Professor Mugisha concurred with the CASTLE recommendation that given the disruption that had been occasioned by COVID-19, there was need to mainstream alternative models of learning such as home schooling notwithstanding the challenges that had been cited by panelists about their viability. He also noted that whereas the double shift system had the capacity to decongest schools, it may not be highly efficient, because would not necessarily address the social distancing issue in individual classes where the actual problem was. It would require more teachers to further split classes into smaller groups for Coburn learning which was not feasible.
The other downside might be to undermine timely completion of the syllabus.

4. Mr. Filbert Baguma, Secretary General Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU):

Mr. Filbert Baguma welcomed the proposals in the CASTLE Think Piece but questioned their feasibility, noting that given the current state of affairs they presented opportunities for only a few. Home schooling depended on parents’ ability to adapt to the role of teachers and not many could do so effectively. The idea of double shifts was unlikely to be feasible in the Ugandan situation, citing a drop in enrollment rates in instances where it had been tried. He agreed that the COVID-19 crisis and the response thereto had found the Ministry of Education and Sports, schools and parents alike unprepared for the magnitude of disruption and exposed the limitations in ICT capacity and infrastructure..

5. Mr. Patrick Kaboyo, National Secretary Federation of Non-State Education Institutions (FENEI):

Mr. Kaboyo commended CASTLE for proposing bold and innovative yet practical interventions for the education sector, which resonated with the private sector’s desire for fresh approaches to Governmental initiatives. He also commended the Ministry of Education for the various reforms and initiatives it had embarked on such as TVET, the National Teacher Policy and others. He, however pointed out that successful implementation of the CASTLE proposals was a looming challenge and provided a number of insights for their practical application which included; The country’s admission system which tended to assign for TVET training students with scores that were inadequate with the aspirations of TVET and limited internet penetration and access of internet among others. He advocated for the revival of a fund for needy secondary school students because their previous beneficiaries had taken to crime and social deviancy after learning was interrupted.

6. Mr. Douglas Opio, Co-Chair, TVET Policy Implementation Group:

Mr. Opio noted that the CASTLE recommendations were a call to rethink Uganda’s education system in terms of its relevance to contemporary requirements, and observed that exposure to vocational and technical training at an early age was important and this had been included in the TVET policy. He noted that modern TVET went behind the traditional
options, but included new aspects such as robotics and Artificial Intelligence. He also appreciated the proposal to operate in a shift system in order to address the dimensions of the instructor using technology in the current times. Mindset change was a major requirement across the spectrum of planning and executing initiatives in the education system.

Additional Information:
The full recording of the webinar can be found on Facebook:



Posted by Center For Advanced Strategic Leadership-CASTLE on Friday, 29 May 2020

For further details please contact Ms. Cathy Muwumuza on the details below:
Email: connect@castlethinktank.org, Telephone: +256788672417, +256706904466
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