While the country of Uganda is still on lockdown, Yaaka Afrika’s school teachers and administration have begun using an online platform to provide learning opportunities for students while away from school.Despite hopes that the country would re-open and allow students back to school, the lockdown has been extended for another 1-2 months. While some restrictions have been lifted, it was clear our schools needed to provide another way for students to stay current with their studies.
Although it may not seem like there would be adequate access to technology in remote villages where our schools are located, what we’ve discovered is that surprisingly many families have access to a smartphone. Once we realized this, it made an online learning platform possible as a practical resource for most of our students.
We created a small team of school administrators and teachers who worked many days to get our new system set up and running. Then each student who would be utilizing the program was contacted to give them their login information and training on how to use the platform.
The rollout for this new tool has begun at Toggo High, and once successfully implemented, it will be adopted for students at our primary school, TICC. This new online learning system allows students to receive at-home assignments, take quizzes and tests, and join in on group discussions with their teachers and classmates.
The Ugandan government is supposed to be supplying materials to each district for schools to make copies and distribute to students so they can have at-home work assignments. Unfortunately the rollout of materials has been slow and many resources have not been provided as promised. This has left many schools stuck and without a way to encourage educational growth in their students. This online tool not only gives access to assignments, but allows for easy and on-going communication between teachers and students. This helps keep our students education a priority, something many schools in the region are struggling to do without such a system in place.
“Before the quarantine, we had noticed many students finding myself and staff members on Facebook and were posting photos of themselves at school, in class, etc. Phones are not allowed at school, but rather than trying to ban or discourage the use of technology, we wanted to make it something they can use for their learning. Not only will this help get our students through the lockdown period, but this will help prepare them for the future, as all universities require online learning as a part of their educational program.” – Director Steven Trint
After the lockdown is over, teachers will continue to utilize this tool to monitor students homework and revisions to projects and assignments. As teachers continue to add more lessons, assignments and documents this will continue to be a robust resource for students to better communicate and learn together.