The Minister for Education and Sports, Janet Museveni has said that the onset of the Covid pandemic was a wakeup call that enabled institutions of higher learning to realise the need to embrace digital learning.
“Covid was a wake call to higher education institutions, education sector in general and the country to shift from normal things as we were used to and to shift from face face to online learning,” she said.
Janet Museveni was on Wednesday speaking during the opening ceremony of the 12th Annual Higher Education Exhibition held virtually.
The Education Minister said that unlike in the past where education institutions were reluctant to make use of modern technology in teaching, the pandemic has shown that online learning is the way to go that she said must be embraced.
“I urge higher education institutions to transform from ancient ways that have kept Africa backwards,” she said.
The Executive Director of the National Council for Higher Education, Prof.Mary Okwakol reported to the minister that institutions of higher learning have faced a number of challenged to adopt the new trend of online learning including high internet costs, poor interconnectivity and lack of ICT equipment among others.
“students also have a negative attitude and mindsets towards virtual learning that must be changed because we are not going back to that era on face to face learning,”Okwakol said.
However, in response, the Education Minister, Janet Museveni said government is aware of some of the challenges and that it is doing all it takes to ensure they provide solutions.
“The NRM government is aware of the challenges like access to stable and affordable internet connectivity that institutions are facing while moving towards a new world and we at the Ministry of Education are working to make the burden lighter in higher institutions of learning,”Mrs Museveni said.
She however noted that there is need for institutions of higher learning have innovations and strategies to guide the country on how to address the challenges in all areas of development by using available resources.
Janet Museveni urged that institutions of higher learning should use the exhibition platforms to network with one another to help them share experience on new innovations in the education sector.
“It’s the time to show case and great opportunity for higher education institutions to show case your brand and identity through the services products and innovations you exhibit today . It is a great way to let public and potential students know that your adding value to what they are doing,” she said.
This year’s annual higher education exhibition saw over 80 institutions participate in showcasing their innovations aimed at ensuring continued learning even in the face of the pandemic.
It has been held under a theme ‘innovations for external and emerging challenges and Opportunities and the Covid19 pandemic’.