U.S. markets closed

'Two television sets for every village'- How Uganda plans to get children studying ​

Will Brown
The way we were: Ministers in Uganda want to get children learning again after abandoning a quick return to school - Alamy/Alamy 

Uganda is planning to send 140,000 television sets to villages across the country so that out of school children can carry on studying through televised lessons. 

Many African countries were quick to close down their borders, markets, churchs and schools when the coronavirus pandemic started to take hold.

But after two months of grinding lockdown, governments are feeling the pinch and are looking for a way to get things back to normal. 

Uganda closed all its schools and universities on March 20 and originally floated the idea of sending children back to school on June 4.

The East African nation of 43m people has 457 confirmed coronavirus cases and no reported deaths.  However, after a surge of about 80 new cases over the weekend, President Yoweri Museveni said the schools would have to remain closed.  In response, he outlined a bold plan to send thousands of TVs out to all corners of the country to help children who were going to face key exams. 

“We have 1.4 million children in these candidate classes and finalists. We don’t have enough testing kits for testing those numbers every two weeks,” Museveni said during a televised speech late on Monday.  “Two television sets per village equals to 140,000 TV sets in the country.” 

However, it is not yet clear how he will acquire so many TVs so quickly.  The president also announced that the country’s strict dusk-to-dawn curfew is set to continue for three more weeks. Nightclubs, gyms, bars and church would remain closed. 

Uganda has been widely criticised for the harsh enforcement of its curfew.  According to government statistics, some 4,000 people have been arrested for violating the curfew since March 30. Museveni, who has been in power since before the Berlin Wall fell, said that those who committed petty cases would be released from prison. 

The president also said that the country lost $1.6 billion in earnings from international tourism.