Learning at home during COVID-19 pandemic in Abim District, Uganda: learners’ perspectives
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The purpose of the study was to explore learners’ perspectives on the extent to which they were supported during COVID-19. The study also examined the challenges learners faced while learning at home during COVID-19 pandemic in Abim district, Uganda. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used. Data were collected from learners at primary and secondary levels. Participants were sampled randomly from the five parishes in the sub-county of Morulem, Abim district. Out of the total population of learners in Abim district, 375 learners were sampled to participate in the study. Questionnaires and focused group discussion guides were used to collect data. Research ethics were observed through seeking access to the field and seeking participants’ consent. In addition, confidentiality and anonymity were also key ethical considerations. Quantitative data were analysed systematically. Data analysis was done using SPSS involving descriptive and frequency counts presented using tables, graphs and pie charts. Qualitative data were analysed using thematic content analysis. Data revealed that learners faced a challenge of poverty which resulted to malnutrition, lack of access to media such as radios, television and newspapers. This was coupled with lack of power and internet connectivity. Learners also faced a challenge of lack of study routine and too much domestic chores; lack of role models and guidance from their illiterate parents. As way forward, it is proposed in this study that government should provide adequate self-study materials and learners should be supported to access media such as radios, TVs and newspapers. Parents should be encouraged to provide adequate scholastic materials; give learners ample time for studies and parents should support learners through guidance and counselling. Finally, this study recommends that with the demands COVID-19 has exerted on education, nations worldwide should revise their policies on teacher preparation and development, curricular, parental involvement, funding and infrastructural development.