By Shabibah Nakirigya
More than half of learners across the country did not receive study materials between March and June last year, a new report has revealed.
The report by the Forum for African Women Educationalists Uganda (FAWE) dubbed, Situation of, and impact of Covid-19 on school going girls and young women in Uganda, states that 7.5 million learners (51 per cent) have not had any form of learning during the school closure instituted to curb the spread of the pandemic.
The report further revealed: “More boys (52.4 per cent) than girls (49.6 per cent) did not have access to learning materials during the lockdown. Young learners aged 10-13 reported, comparably, low levels of access to learning materials and platforms.”
Speaking to the media during the launch of the report in Kampala yesterday, Dr Laban Musinguzi, the lead researcher, said girls were unable to keep up with their studies as they were required to carry out household chores which took up most of their time.
“More girls and young women (15.3 per cent), compared to boys (12.6 per cent) reported spending time doing household chores with no time left for learning,” he said.
The study also revealed that learners, mostly from rural areas, were most affected with 52.2 per cent of them failing to access the materials compared to those in urban areas with 49.8 per cent.ADVERTISEMENT
The report sought to, among others, assess the participation of school going girls in the learning opportunities that emerged during the lockdown and to estimate the prevalence of early marriages and adolescent pregnancies during the same time.
The research was conducted between November and December last year in 25 randomly selected regions of Acholi, Ankole, Central, and West Nile.
Questionnaires were sent out to a total of 3,258 randomly selected school going girls and young women aged between 10 and 24.
Ms Suzan Tumusiime, the executive director of FAWE, said: “Our key stakeholders are the girls and young women and they were sent home. There was a lot of information coming through the media especially that girls are being abused during the lockdown, which is the core reason for our research.”
She added: “Since government came in to facilitate learning, we wanted to know if girls access these learning materials and other platforms and if not what the reason is.”
The report also indicated that the number of teenage pregnancies increased from 80,655 in March to 98,810 June 2020 among girls aged 10-24.
Following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in March last year, President Museveni ordered the closure of all learning institutions in a bid to curb the spread of the pandemic.
The government through the National Curriculum Centre also distributed self-help study material to enable continuity of learning during the lockdown.