Headteachers in a cross-section of schools in Kitgum district have said they will promote learners to the next class depending on their mental state and if they were engaged in home-based learning during the lockdown.
The decision is in contrast to a directive for the automatic promotion of learners, to the next class, as recommended by the Ministry of Education and Sports when schools reopen their doors for learners next week. The schools have been closed for close to two years since March 2020, as one of the measures taken by the government to forestall the spread of COVID-19.
However, Richard Odur, the headteacher of Guilio Pastore Primary School in Kitgum Municipality, says that the school has decided to first assess the learners as soon as they resume to ascertain whether or not they deserve to be promoted.
He says that the learners in primary one and two might be promoted because they still have time to recover lost time since their learning content is related. However, for primary three, the teachers will start engaging with learners during classwork and recommend to both headteacher and parents whether a child can be taken to the next class.
Odur notes that some parents took the responsibility of giving home-based learning to their children through coaching, online learning and other learning materials, while others ignored the calls. He adds that the school will make parents understand that even if some of their children are looking older for some classes, they will need to go back to the class they were in before the lockdown.
To catch up on lost time, Odur, says they will start lessons earlier than before, give more homework for learners, and consider teaching during weekends. He adds that the school’s academic team is now looking at the topics that are most relevant, to ensure that they are incorporated into upper classes and also for teachers to consider teaching them first and learners to concentrate on them more during self-studies.
He says overall, learners will be given more work, especially the simple tasks to do from home to in groups, while the teachers will be made to concentrate on topics with hard to gab concepts.
James Olaa, the headteacher of Reverend Jabuloni Issoke Memorial College in Pager Sub County, Kitgum municipality says the school will first have a chat with learners, to understand their mental state and not start teaching immediately like before. He says it has been a stressful time for parents, teachers and learners, so they will not resume the lessons at a high speed.
He adds that since there are no co-curricular activities this year like sports, they will use the time too well to cover the core topics.
Although the Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Museveni, also suggested that learners will have to undergo remedial classes to enable them to catch up with the syllabus, Olaa says they will resume lessons at the normal time, even with candidates’ classes, and only do extra time when the learners have stabilized.