Excitement as students return for face-to-face classes
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2021/03/excitement-as-students-return-for-face-to-face-classes/
By Dalton Mujuni and Ivan Tsebeni
With excitement, students returned to Uganda Christian University (UCU) after a year-long absence. For finalists, the face-to-face reporting for classes was February 8; for the rest, it was March 1, 2021.
Their return to school follows the lifting of the ban the Ugandan government had imposed on all academic institutions in the country. On March 18, 2020, President Yoweri Museveni closed all academic institutions and banned gatherings, a move intended to limit the spread of the coronavirus. After a six-month lockdown, academic institutions were opened slowly to final-year students.
In January 2021, the government allowed universities and all institutions of higher learning to reopen in a staggered manner. Primary and secondary schools were also allowed to reopen, following the same pattern.
University students had been allowed to study online, beginning October 2020. However, the online classes in many institutions were hampered by poor internet connectivity and inadequate skills among both learners and their lecturers.
“It’s exciting to be back for physical classes,” Gloria Adikin, a year-three student of social work and social administration, said. Adikin returned to UCU mid-February for the Easter Semester that usually starts in January and closes at the end of April.
Ruth Owomugisha, a second-year student of social work and social administration, said: “I have been missing friends, lecturers and the beautiful UCU compound…Home has many distractions that make reading and studying online difficult.”
Marvin Sseruma, a third-year student of procurement and logistics management, said the face-to-face studies will enable him engage with his lecturers more. “Most of my course units have calculations in them and require face-to-face consultation,” he said.
Sseruma appealed to the university management to revise the operation hours of the library, to enable students catch up on lost time. He said an extension from the current closing time of 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. would create ample time for revision and research.
Rinah Mumpe, a second-year law student, said the e-campus that they were using for online studies lacked the social component of learning.
“I was afraid I would fail to complete my assignments at the college if the university had not opened for physical classes. I am going to work tirelessly to accomplish my four papers, to be able to graduate on time,” Marvin Kaddu, a final-year student pursuing Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication, said.
The excitement of the resumption of physical classes at UCU spread to the students undertaking the Honor’s College Leadership mentorship program that has also been allowed to resume. The new Head of Department at the Honor’s College, Pamela Tumwebaze, said students will be able to utilize all the resources in the university, to accomplish their assignments.
According to a memo to the UCU community dated February 8, the Vice Chancellor, Assoc. Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, noted that all classes for this semester will be conducted in a blended manner – a mixture of online and face-to-face.
The university has been a hive of activity, with registration of students, training of staff in online teaching, elections for student leaders and campus beautification. The Easter Semester is expected to end by April 30, for the Trinity Semester to start in May.
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