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Hundreds of Karamoja Kindergarten Children Prepare for Uganda National Play Day :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Hundreds of Karamoja Kindergarten Children Prepare for Uganda National Play Day

On Friday, over 300 learners from selected Nursery schools from all the nine districts of Karamoja gathered at Lomukura primary school in Kotido municipality to showcase some of their games in the learning through-play approach.
Kinndergarten school children performing during the Karamoja Regional Play Game held in Kotido district

Audio 5



Kindergarten children in Karamoja sub-region have prepared for Uganda National Play Day organized by the Ministry of Education in partnership with UNICEF, Plan International, and other agencies working to implement learning through play in Uganda.

On Friday, over 300 learners drawn from the selected Nursery schools across all the nine districts of Karamoja gathered at Lomukura primary school in Kotido municipality to showcase some of their games in the learning through-play approach.

The activity organized by UNICEF and other partners was part of the Uganda National Day preparations, for creating awareness among parents on how important it is to involve the children in playing both at school and community as one way of developing their minds.

Rosemary Alweng, the Education Officer at UNICEF Moroto zonal Office said they have initiated the learning through play for the Nursery school learners presenting at the Uganda National Play Day during the Play Day slated at the end of this month.

Alweng noted that many parents have a negative attitude to spending money for early childhood education because they think children just go for playing and learn nothing.

Alweng said that they are sending a message to parents to consider supporting their children in playing while at home to improve the child's mental growth.

Alweng said that they have trained the caregivers, especially on the minimum package that goes for nine months to support the children at the ECD center. The caregivers will also train the parents whose children are enrolled in the center to give them knowledge and skills for nurturing their children while at home.

Alweng said that they have supported the establishment of community learning centers and provided materials that will facilitate learning.

She said that they are engaging the district leadership on system strengthening to ensure quality services are delivered in the early childhood centers.

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Alfred Logwe,  the Principal Assistant Secretary of the Amudat district urged stakeholders to prioritize early childhood development as a cornerstone of their governance by investing in play-based learning activities for quality early childhood education.

Logwe challenged district education officers to integrate play-based approaches into the school curriculum and teacher training programs to empower them with knowledge on nurturing the environment.

He commended teachers for their tireless dedication to shaping the minds of the young generation and fostering a love for learning.

Logwe appealed to the parents to spend more time with their children and to allow them to prioritize play as an essential component of the child's daily routine.

Raymond Korobe, the Nabilatuk District Education Officer said that the government has already developed an ECD policy to ensure that the parents contribute to the growth of children through play-based approaches.

Korobe said that the real Ideal of ECD is playing and socialization but unfortunately, some schools have not been able to impart it to the learners, and teachers have neglected games and resorted to formal teaching yet it is a policy to have the children taken through different games as part of learning, which prepares them for primary education.

Korobe also noted that many Caregivers are discouraged in teaching the learners because of the low pay, making it hard for them to monitor the performance.

Korobe said that although the government is encouraging early childhood education, the communities have not embraced it because they lack money for school fees.

Korobe also highlighted that lack of infrastructure, lack of access roads, water scarcity, and the insecurity that kept the communities migrating from place to place has impacted negatively on the operations of the early childhood development centers.

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Angello Max Lowari, the Kotido district education officer said that the district is struggling to attract learners for the early childhood development centers due to lack of facilities.

Lowari said that the district has 35 Early Childhood Development Centers which have attracted 4,352 learners out of 22,000 children aged between 3 and 5 in the district.

He said that most children who miss out on the ECD program are taken to kraals to look after cattle and bringing them back to school becomes a challenge due to negative attitudes toward education.

Lowari said that lack of access to childhood development centers has affected enrollment in the primary schools because the children who would be at school are kept in the kraals.

He appealed to the government and partners to extend the centers to all the villages to cover all the school-going-age children, now spending their entire lives in the kraals.

Lowari said that children who are enrolled in Nursery education could embrace the value of education after going through mindset development at a tender age.

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Meanwhile, the Kindergarten teachers also voiced out some of the challenges frustrating their effort to deliver quality services to the learners.

Agnes Lotukei, a teacher of Nursery Rene Nursery and Primary School in Nakapiripirit district noted that the government has not paid due attention to the early child development centers and the teachers have been left to struggle on their own.

Lotukei said that sometimes they get discouraged by family members who laugh at them for struggling with children for no or low pay.

She also noted that some schools are too distant from the community and children are forced to walk long distances which frustrates the learning process.

Lotukei observed that parents still have negative attitudes toward Nursery education as many prefer waiting for the primary school cycle.

She said that only the rich can enroll their children in Nursery education, with many still left out due to high poverty levels in the households.

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Maureen Drileba, another teacher from Ride Foundation Nursery and Primary School in Kotido district noted that the teachers are not motivated citing that Nursery teachers are being overlooked and paid peanuts compared to the primary section.

Drileba said that they need salary increments to motivate them in their work in shaping the minds of the young generation. She observed that the schools also lack playing and learning materials which would help the pupils to enjoy being at school

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She added that parents have not appreciated the work of Nursery teachers; who are being undermined yet they have taken up the key role of managing the children.

She appealed to the government to join hands with the school directors to improve the welfare of the Nursery teachers so that they can execute their duties diligently.

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