Kampala Diocesan communications officer Ivan Naijuka, says from the start of discontinued religious education classes, a major concern for parents was if or when their children would receive first Communion or confirmation sacrament.
struggle to find ways of keeping, their children busy because of the
unprecedented COVID-19 school induced closure, faith-based groupings have taken
their formative and religious education classes to online platforms to ensure
the spiritual growth of the generation.
Although places of worship are
partially opened, physical religious Education classes cannot take place
because of the general suspension of learning activities nationwide.
Diocesan Communications Officer, Ivan Naijuka, says that there have been
concerns among parents on when their children would receive their first Communion
or confirmation sacrament due to the discontinuation of religious classes.
He, however, says that faith formation does not need to stop even with the
suspension of physical classes. He says
that they responded to the suspension of physical classes by going digital with
online lessons facilitated by All Saints’ Cathedral Church, Kampala.
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According to the arrangement, children aged 12
and above enrol after paying 50,000 Shillings to access lessons on a
smartphone or laptop. Naijuka says those who enrol will have a face-to-face
interaction at one point for assessment and confirmation later.
Similarly, the Muslim Centre for Research and
Education Assessment founded by former presidential candidate, Muhammad Mayanja
Kibirige has tapped into this space to ensure that Muslim children who have
been attending madrasa to Learn Islamic Values at mosques shift to a home-based
Kibirige, a renowned academician, says that he
mooted the idea at Kasule High School, saying that if secular learning can
happen online, religion could too. He says that they are teaching Arabic and
different modules of the Holy Quran among others.
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With mosques reopened for prayers, Kibirige has
been using this opportunity to reach out to different Muslims to enrol their
children. On Friday, the team was at Kololo Jamia Mosque and Muslims seem to
have embraced their idea.
Burhan Kasujja, the imam of Kololo Jamia Mosque, says despite several
limitations, having online lessons is a good initiative that parents can adopt
during school closure. He, however, cautions
parents to watch over their children to ensure that they use the gadgets for
their intended purpose.
in; “Kakati abantu….
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Stephen Wanume, an administrator at United
Christian Centre-UCC Mukono, says reaching out to the children has been problematic
yet they hold the future of salvation, which makes online engagements handy.
While many are using zoom and other closed
remote corroborating tools, United Christian Centre-UCC Mukono streams these
classes and engagements on social media platforms like Facebook free of charge.
“Being a new item, it has not attracted many people. Moreover, it is hard to
tell who is following. We hope to re-think our approach and see how better we
can reach out to the children,” says Wanume.
Sadik Mudoba, a Muslim faithful also welcomes
the idea, saying that if learners can learn secular education online, the same
can apply to religion.
in; “Okusoma kuZoom…
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Nakawuka notes that the idea of putting formation classes online is not a wise
decision. Nakawuka, a staunch catholic, says that much of the catechism content
was not designed for online learning and neither are the catechists.
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Rev Fr Pius Male, the chancellor of Kampala
Catholic Archdiocese, says that they are yet to adopt e-Learning as the
official way of teaching and faith formation among children and new converts.
He says that the technological divide amongst the faithful in the area
has delayed the decision.
archdiocese brings together people of different shades; those who are ICT
literate and those who are not, those who own ICT gadgets and those who don’t.
Deciding on migrating catechism, religious education, and formation classes
online would be leaving out very many children. This has already been proved by
the online classes that are being conducted by schools,” Rev Fr Male
Rev Fr Male says that to reach out to all, the
church has advised that this form of learning be carried out at home and they
have started sending out the syllabus and related materials to parents as they
wait for the reopening of physical learning of secular education.
“When schools reopen, we will certainly embark
on these classes as we used to do,” he noted, adding that a few parishes or sub
parishes that think they can be able to teach online depending on the needs
assessment of their localities can go on but this is just optional.
Faith formation and religious education classes
normally take place over weekends and during holidays. Among Catholics and the
Church of Uganda, the classes are mandatory and are conditional for specific
sacraments while other faiths use them to inculcate their religious values
among children and new converts.