Corona Virus Update 4
The Education Minister in Uganda has confirmed that schools will remain closed for the foreseeable future. She says the government is committed to facilitating home schooling and will be providing materials in print form as it has not proved possible to supply the previously promised solar powered TV’s or a radio for each family. ( I don’t think anyone was surprised by this statement!) Ms Museveni’s third address to the nation asks parents to assist their children in studying with the printed materials. But even the journalists writing in the Ugandan newspaper Daily Monitor questioned how illiterate, non-English speaking parents could help their children..
Milton has received the first copies of the materials but sadly it doesn’t look as if they will be usable or helpful as only one copy of the booklet for each year group has been sent with an instruction to ‘photocopy for each child’ This appears to be another instance of the government failing to understand the reality of life in the rural villages. We could arrange to photocopy the booklets in Mbale but it is very unlikely our children could cope with the format, especially having been away from a learning environment for three months…
It seems likely that education in Kyemula and Namayili will only resume when the schools can re-open. It remains unclear whether the children will repeat the year – but this seems a likely outcome for the village children who usually only move up a class if they have passed the end of year tests.
In the meantime we will be continuing to provide food to the most vulnerable until the crops are harvested. We will also be making another interim payment to the teachers – there are no welfare benefits in Uganda so no work means no income.
Milton has been visiting all the sponsored children and although he is concerned that about the food situation says despite the reports of rising crime elsewhere Kyemula is still safe. We are also sadly hearing of men leaving their families because they cannot provide for them – and of women leaving to go with men who say they can provide for them….
As well as frequent updates from Milton and messages from the students we sponsor at Livingstone International University who have all returned home to their villages we are in regular contact with Diana who has a slightly different experience of the ‘lockdown’ living in Mbale. As you are all aware Diana works for the university but has had her contract suspended until the university knows when it can re-open. Our new found skills in video-calling mean we can not only exchange messages but have Diana and her family live on our TV! Apparently having seen our home her son Nigel is keen to visit…