By Frank Obonyo
Uganda Christian University (UCU) has trained over 300 primary and secondary school teachers from South Ankole Diocese in competence-based teaching and psycho-social support during the post-Covid era.
The two-day training, which is a pilot program and part of UCU’s mandate to offer corporate social responsibility to the church was held at St. Mathew’s Cathedral in western Uganda’s Kyamate village, South Ankole Diocese.
Dr. Mary Kagoire, the UCU Head of Education Department, urged teachers to incorporate learners’ community experience with that of class so as to make learning more engaging.
“The children whom you are teaching have been out of class for over 2 years,” she said. “This means that they are active and are used to playing. It is a whole new experience for them to sit in one place for a longer time. You need to know them by name and address their individual challenges.”
Director of Admissions, Mrs. Christa Oluka, addressed psycho-social support skills as a necessity in the post-Covid-19 period. She said the pandemic and lockdown caused many children to suffer from psychosocial stress, anxiety, fear of the unknown, depression, denial – issues that schools need to acknowledge and help resolve for effective learning to take place.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Affairs, Rev. Assoc. Prof. John Kitayimbwa, called upon teachers to embrace competency-based learning, where students are at the center of the learning.
“Our training has shifted from lectures to competency-based methods,” he said. “And, we have adopted blended learning, especially for our postgraduate students who not only have career goals to achieve but have other responsibilities as well.”
The Bishop of South Ankole Diocese, the Rt. Rev. Nathan Ahimbisibwe, said in addition to the lessons from the training to help students, teachers need to improve on their own skills and knowledge through obtaining higher education certificates.
“Teachers have been working comfortably without thinking of attaining higher qualifications, but with the newly introduced Uganda National Teacher Policy (NTP), all of them will be required to have degrees,” said Bishop Ahimbisibwe.
Bishop Ahimbisiwe, who also doubles as Chairperson, Provincial Board of Education, advised teachers without bachelor’s degrees to take up the opportunity of studying for the Higher Education Certificate (HEC) offered by UCU to elevate the academic status of practitioners, who have not scored the required minimum points for entry in a university.
He also advised other dioceses to welcome UCU to train and equip their teachers and clergy in their respective areas of interest.