Old School Solutions for a 2020 problem
Elspeth Dugdale | September 2, 2020
Faced with the same issue of school closures and the ongoing strict lockdown in Uganda, WTA has been forced to think about how to stay in contact with 600 students, including 200 exam candidates, who are all scattered over Uganda, most not able to access any online learning or TV lessons at all. So after a few months, it was 'back to the drawing board'.
Sometimes the simplest and oldest solutions are the best. For 10 years, S4 students had already been receiving a WTA produced and printed 'revision package' for English. With ServeDirect covering the printing costs, it has been a simple solution to practice English composition revision during the holidays in the run up to exams. Why not do the same thing for each subject and produce packs of paper notes for each student? Too complicated? Too expensive? Too impractical to distribute? Too old fashioned? Just too difficult?
In the end, Headteacher Benard and Director Charles simply made it happen within a very short time. It was a huge team effort...
- Teachers came back to WTA to work on preparing subject specific notes
- Secretarial staff typed up the handwritten notes
- A local photocopying business printed off hundreds of sets of notes
- Local students helped to sort and pack up the notes
- Senior teachers travelled all over Uganda to specific regional centres to personally distribute the notes
- Other teachers spent several days texting and calling parents to reassure them that WTA is still going to reopen and to tell them to collect the study notes
ServeDirect has covered the cost of the printing and teachers' transport, and the result has been so successful that the school is considering preparing similar sets of notes for younger classes.
Most notably, the parents have been astonished and delighted that WTA are not charging for this 'service' of providing revision packs for the students. Other schools have charged for distributing similar work. Charles, Benard and Patrick have also been able to meet with some parents and encourage them about the future. In the words of Headteacher Benard:
"Once again, a simple solution is helping at least to make a difference to some of the most marginalised and vulnerable students at this difficult time. Of course, it is now down to the students to use the notes effectively but at least it is helping them to feel that they are not forgotten and some learning can still continue even though school remains closed for the foreseeable future".