The Minister of Education who is also the First Lady, Janet Kataha Museveni has reiterated government commitment to ease access to e-learning by all students in Uganda especially those in higher institutions of learning.
The Minister made the remarks in her speech during the opening 12th Annual Higher Education Exhibition organized virtually under the theme: “Innovations for external and emerging challenges and Opportunities and the Covid19 pandemic”.
Mrs. Museveni said that Covid-19 was a wakeup call to the whole country but most especially the education sector where physical participation in events and classes has been changed from physical to virtual.
The Minister highlighted a number of changes faced with the new digital learning methods which include; Low adaptation to the new normal, rigidities, access to stable and affordable internet connectivity among others.
“The government is aware of all the challenges; believe me, we at the ministry of education are working to make the burden lighter in the higher institutions of learning,” Mrs. Museveni said.
The First Lady challenged the institutions of higher learning to have innovations and strategies that will guide the country on how to address challenges not just for Covid-19 pandemic but in all areas of development of education and other spheres of life.
“We should lead our country to get out of the backward methods of work which have kept Africa backward; institutions should focus on how to continue with education amidst the pandemic,” Mrs. Museveni said.
She urged the higher institutions of learning to use the exhibition platform to network and learn from one another and build one another through knowledge transfer.
“This is the time for the institutions to showcase your brand and unique identity through the services, products and innovations you exhibit today which is a better way to make the public and potential students know that you have something that can add value to what you they are doing.”
During the event, Prof. Jane Mary Okwakwol the Executive Director of National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) reported to the minister that although they have tried to ensure that all Higher Institutions adopt digital learning, many have been left behind due to a number of challenges beyond their making.
Among the challenges she mentioned was the high internet costs, limited internet coverage, inability of some Institutions to meet internet costs as well as lack of enough ICT Equipment in some Institutions.