ST.KONRAD SCHOOL AFTER COVID LOCKDOWN
St.Konrad Integrated Vocational School is one of the private Schools that have survived the Onslaught of Covid Pandemic. Being both Vocational and Secondary it got a few chances to open in phases especially for both candidate classes and vocational learners. When Schools were allowed to fully open on 10th January 2022, after two years of closure, the school expected many challenges. Not all children would come back, and indeed more than 40 children did not report back. Learners’ behavior change. The school is struggling to make the learners settle in school. Many had not only stayed at home but had joined other activities in their villages which are not convenient to the discipline in the school. Some for example had taken on the consumption of alcohol, others to smoking drugs, and some come from families which could not properly ensure their discipline. The life after opening has seen a few learners suspended on discipline grounds. We are very hopeful however, that these Learners will eventually settle. The biggest challenge is payment of school fees. This is indeed the most aggravating challenge. The majority of children come from poor families, whose source of livelihood was curtailed by the lockdown. Some parents earn their meager income by travelling long distances every day to offer manual labour. During the Lockdown, they were not allowed to cover such distances. As the lockdown lasted 2 years, parents who engage in agriculture experienced no market for their produce. This led to many losses and some could not get money to buy seed for next growing season. The situation is therefore difficult for many parents to pay all the fees.
In the area of learning, the Ministry of Education has introduced not only new syllabi but also changed the system of instruction. At the beginning of the First Term, teachers have been retrained so that they will be able to conduct their lessons successfully. Prior to these changes, the teacher or instructor was the main source of knowledge. In the new approach, the learners will be the first source of information which the teacher together with learners will develop to the level of knowing required. This is the learner – centered approach. Many learners who were used to be given all the information are now also facing challenges to adapt to this new approach. Most challenging is the requirement to have access to computers and internet for information. Our school has very few computers and it is also not yet connected to the internet. The Teachers must go uphill at least for two Kilometers to reach where network is available to download information required in class.
The school will continue to survive, only if its friends will also continue giving a hand. The School is thankful to its friends in Austria, German and other areas who actually supported the Staff during the Lock down. By this source, teachers were at least given some pocket money in this difficult time.
The weather has also changed. As it is common place to speak of climate change, so the School is also experiencing unpredictable weather. Recently, a metallic Watertank at the Girls’ hostel has been destroyed by heavy rain and strong winds. The School will need at least 4 million Uganda Shillings to replace it. The school is however very grateful to Crossing Borders – Education for Children, and Mr. Juergen Mayer from Bruchkoebel for the support to extend water to the Boys’ Hostel from a secure water source.
St.Konrad Integrated Vocational School still counts a lot from its friends even in the construction of physical structures necessary for the school. In plan is the completion of the Workshopblock. The School is grateful in advance for all supporters in this regard.
St.Konrad Integrated Vocational School was graced on the 13th day of April 2022 with the Visit of of Sr. Katharina Laboré and Sr. Anitah together with Mrs. Christianne Babinetz Boloron from Austria. The School is very thankful for this first Visit in the Year and particularly after Covid. Since the School was entering Holiday time on the 14th April 2022, the Patron Saint’s Day, namey, St. Konrad, was celebrated on anticipation. Students participated actively in the celebration of Mass and entertainment afterwards. It was a colourful day.
The School exists because Friends do exist. The School exists, because people full of Love and Generosity do exist. No more words than A Big Thank You from our Hearts are appropriate enough to express the School’s Gratitude to its friends.