Universities petition NCHE over E-learning guidelines

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Universities and other institutions of higher learning have asked the National Council for Higher Education to reconsider guidelines barring them from implementing e-learning teaching without all students.

The idea of ensuring that the online mode of learning doesn’t exclude any continuing student was first communicated by the Education Minister Janet Kataha Museveni.

When NCHE sent out standard guidelines, it tasked institutions to survey students indicating their willingness or inability to participate in the proposed arrangement.

However, several heads of institutions argue that the guidelines are not feasible and inapplicable.

Professor Robert Ikoja-Odongo, Vice-Chancellor of Soroti University argues that although the universities have been getting ready for this approach having all students attending e-learning will stall their efforts.

He argues that given the fact that many families are already facing financial challenges as a result of the lockdown, it might not be easy to have all of them enrolled on the e-learning platforms.

“For us as a university we are ready but then some students need to acquire the equipment. If we say that we wait for each and everybody then when will this take place? I think this is a great challenge,” he said.

The Makerere University Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Professor Umar Kakumba says although the idea is good, it puts universities at a difficult test and might be very difficult to be achieved given the fact that even during normal days it is difficult to have all students in the class.

Kakumba further observes that it would be better if this specific guideline is enforced by the government itself by providing equipment and infrastructure to ensure that no student is left behind.

The Gulu University Vice-Chancellor Professor George Ladaah Openjuru highlights that whereas students would like to attend, they are already limited by technology.

“Unless that is addressed, a few of the students in remote areas will be part of this programme. The government should have tasked universities on this aspect since for us we are developing platforms and having our staff trained,” he said.

Already, several educationists and policy experts have warned that the proposed e-learning by the government to ensure continued learning during COVID-19 will certainly fail unless when government addresses the different obstacles.

Source: URN

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