MP’s decline to 9million radios budget for distance learning.
Members of Parliament yesterday questioned the 9 million radios budget proposal for students that continue to learn from home.
Education officials headed by Higher Education State Minister Dr. John Chrysostom Muyingo and Planning State Minister David Bahati were asked to explain whether they had done prior research to establish the need and impact of radios compared to printing materials before the budget committee could approve.
In response, Education officials said, “out of 8.9 million households in the country, only 4.3m had access to radio therefore the Government saw the need to buy radios and redistribute them to all homes that have none so that there is no excuse for long distance learning.”
Following the reopening of schools with only candidate classes, the Ministry of Education established a strategy for home learning to cater for non-candidate classes among which there is use of radios, internet and printed materials.
Muyingo explained that home learning has become the new trend and there is need for Government to be prepared as long as COVID- 19 is still around.
He noted that the money will be provided through a loan request currently being scrutinised by the parliamentary committee on the budget.
MPs on the other hand are concerned about what would happen to radios in case the vaccine is discovered and students get back to school officially.
Addressing the concern, Education Ministry Permanent Secretary, Alex Kakooza said that they had a go ahead from the Finance Ministry.
“We contacted the finance ministry and they gave us a go-head to procure the radios but said the contract signing should be halted until we have the budget is approved. That’s where we are.” Kakooza explained.
He also stated that World Bank had carried out a study and established that teaching through radios was possible.
In June, the cabinet approved the procurement of 9million radios to help in long distance learning for students.
According to Kakooza, the first batch of radios will be delivered in December, another batch in January and the last delivered in February.