MARACHA. The program coordinator for early grade reading (EGR) and reading to learn (RTL) programs in Uganda, Mr Wilber Wanyama has challenged primary school head teachers to consider deploying more teachers in the lower primary classes.

He said this would lay a strong foundation for good performance of the children at a later time.

“If we continue deploying many teachers in primary seven, we are not going to change because by concentrating on P.7, you are wasting time. Some of you even struggle to create a boarding section for P.7 for what?” Wanyama asked.

“You are struggling to create a boarding section for people who died a long time back. You simply need to strengthen the foundation and you will have the results needed,” Wanyama advised.

He was speaking during the closure of a five-day training of about 500 upper primary school teachers of Maracha district on the rationale of RTL methodology at Arua core PTC in Arua town on Saturday.

Wanyama called on the participants to work hard to ensure that the program is rolled out to other districts.

The deputy principal of Arua core PTC, Mr Zakari Alio thanked the government for introducing the program and also commended the program coordinator for considering Maracha to benefit in the program piloted in only seven districts in the country.

Alio equally challenged the participants to update their methodologies to meet the learning needs of their learners in the current modern world.

Meanwhile, on behalf of the program manager of Agakhan foundation, Mr Elly Nayenda said prioritizing teacher capacity building should be regularized to equip the teachers in order to perfect the teaching and learning process.

“We have given you knowledge and skills and it is now your duty to take it to your classrooms to transform the learners. If the results of Maracha improve, the results of West Nile will automatically improve too,” Nayenda remarked.

The lead facilitator, Ms Doris Mandebo assured the participants of support while in the field implementing the acquired knowledge, skills and methodologies.

Maracha district education officer in charge of Special Needs Education, Mr Richard Oloya urged the participants to apply the methodologies while minding about the learners who are handicapped.

Mr Oloya said the education office is aware of schools that have planned to frustrate the program but warned that they have laid stringent measures to counter their plans.

The EGR and RTL for upper primary programs supported by UNICEF were introduced in Uganda over five years ago to improve reading and writing skills after a survey done placed the country behind in literacy in the whole of East Africa.