A new study has found that 83.5% of secondary students could not access study materials and other information during the Covid-19 Lockdown due to the high cost of Over the Top (OTT) tax.
The study was conducted in the districts of Kyenjojo, Sironko, Mukono, Dokolo and Nakapiripiriti targeting a sampling size of 446 Ordinary and Advanced Level students in 22 sub counties.
While releasing findings of the “Information seeking behaviour of secondary school students during the lockdown in Uganda” on Wednesday, Dr. Joyce Bukirwa the Principal Investigator said they received many complaints from the O and A ‘level students they interviewed about OTT.
“We didn’t recommend that; this was a suggestion that came from the learners themselves. They are saying, reduce the cost of the internet and OTT,” Bukirwa acknowledged.
The study also found that whereas 60.8% of students were able to satisfy their information needs by perusing through school notes, 91.3% were not happy with the quality of library services.
“The low level of satisfaction with nearby library, is attributed to the absence of public libraries in the districts. Only two students expressed awareness about the existence of a nearby library (Lira Public Library) which was located over 50 Km from their homes,” Bukirwa explained.
Richard Batte a researcher says that this information gap can be averted if the Government directs for the partial re-opening of school and community libraries that remain under and lock to date.
However, Batte said that in case these services are extended as proposed, those in charge must be conversant with students’ learning needs.
“We are saying if the Government gave us those resources at sub county level, there must be somebody positioned there, who will provide this information to the Public library or community library or the School library,” he elaborated.
It is understood that only 27.6% of the respondents had been trained to electronically retrieve information while 72.4% of their comrades were blue about this aspect.