WAKISO – St. Mary’s College Kisubi (SMACK) awarded parents and teachers for initiating online teaching of students to keep them engaged virtually for close to two years of Covid-19 lockdown.
The education sector in Uganda was in limbo for close to two years after its closure in March 2020 to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Among the awarded was Dr. Allen Kabagenyi of Makerere University who led the Online Academic Program and mobilized other parents of senior two students to start online learning. She was recognised with a Prestigious SMACK Leadership award during the school’s 41st Annual Parents’ Teachers’ Association General Meeting on March 19, 2022.
Her initiative became the model for the rest of the school to benchmark and even after school re-opening, this model has been adopted by the entire school.
Speaking to PML Daily on Friday on her initiative, Dr. Kabagenyi revealed that as parents, they were scared of ‘what next’ for their boys since there was no sign of reopening schools soon.
“Through our (parents) WhatsApp group, we started having conversations because there was no any indicator when our children would go back to school and we were worried, our boys are home, idle, and an idle mind is devil’s workshop.”
“We decided to start an academic program. This was a parents’ initiated teaching program,” she said. She took leadership before she consulted the school on the drive.
Dr. Kabagenyi said they facilitated teachers and all subjects were covered.
She revealed that the program was not limited to SMACK students. “Because we began so early, other schools had no this program and we ended up welcoming other students from other schools like Namagunga, Gayaza and other schools but in senior two.”
She is so confident that students gained a lot in the program like career guidance and counselling, use the gadgets and other online Applications.
The senior two class teacher, Mr. Mugabe Yofesi said that they followed the same class teaching structure but modified it to online.
He said that as other teachers from other schools were waiting for the reopening to earn again, they were at least able to put food on the table through facilitation from parents.
“Every session we were paid 70,000 which was something good to keep a teacher active.”
Tr. Mugabe said that they were also able to switch from blackboard to virtual teaching and were able to keep in contact with their students.
Although the program was considered a success, they were challenged mostly with expensive internet and lack of gadgets.
Tr. Mugabe revealed that they were challenged with the teaching of practical subjects since they are supposed to be done in the laboratory.
For parents who couldn’t afford to buy gadgets and those who had lost jobs, Kabagenyi revealed that they were compassionate enough to collect money and donate computers to some.
“…we agreed to support and I want to confirm to you that no child was left behind.”
She, however, regretted the rigidity of some parents who hesitated and insisted their children cannot access the internet.
“We talked, we discussed and there are some parents who said my child will not have access to the internet and about two parents refused completely.”
She challenged the government to adopt online teaching for the whole nation, saying that it is the way to go since we are in an information age era.
“When we were teaching, I kept on thinking of that young girl there deep in Nakapripriti who has no access to power, no internet which showed a lot of gaps in our education system. How prepared are we in case we had a repeat of the pandemic?”
She commended the school, attributing it to the teamwork of all parents and teachers.
The School Head Teacher Bro. Aganyira Deogratious said that the academic life of the college continues to be challenging for both the teachers and students.
“A lot of books have been bought in the last years although we still need more, and each of the departments in the school is striving for excellence.”
He revealed that the examination 2020 results O’ and A’ Levels indicate that they have steadily been improving, saying that they were ranked the best in the country at both levels.
The school also on the same day awarded 2020 UCE and UACE best performers.
FULL LIST OF S. 2A SMACK 2020/2021 ONLINE ACADEMIC PROGRAM COORDINATION TEAM MEMBERS.
1. Dr. Allen Kabagenyi – Over all Leader of the online program.
2. Mr. YOFESI Mugabe – Coordinator of the program.
3. Mr. Ronald Kasozi – Treasurer.
4. Dr. Dinah Amongi – Member.
5. Col. Onata Joseph Fred – Mobiliser.
6. Dr. Patricia Okiria Achan – Member.
7. Mr. Emmanuel Kaweesi – Member.
8. Ms. Barungi Charity – Member.
9. Mr. Salimu Zirimu – Member.