Fourteen-year-old Ugandan Musa Ssewanyana has mastered the art of brick laying.
He should be in high school laying the foundation of his education,
but since Uganda closed schools in March to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.Ssewanyana has few options.
During the school break, Im still reading my books. If we get money,We switch the TV on and follow the teachings.
But I also do odd jobs so I dont spend the whole day at home.
Unlike families who are financially able to study online,
Ssewanyana cannot always afford the power needed to watch lessons on state TV or the three dollars per day subscription.
His mother Rashidah says the past five months have been difficult with her three children at home.
I dont have electricity.I had even bought them a new television set knowing they would use it to study.
But there are times when even the solar battery doesnt charge and the television goes off.
Uganda vowed to buy televisions and radios for poor communities with school children but has yet to act.
150 million July World Bank grant is expected to soon help provide learning materials for students nationwide.
But some Ugandan education authorities say the damage is already done
including from school properties that were sold off or sitting vacant.
The chairs there were some of them were eaten by ants, so by the time we opened schools,
we may need now to re-arrange to to buy another set of furniture and that again goes with it.
But that say the loss of jobs for our teachers and what losing property but even losing our learners.
We are worried the sensible percentage may not come back to school.
Education charity groups like OEZO
which means capability in Kiswahili says COVID 19 has caused both a health and education crisis.
When schools eventually reopen, says executive director Mary Goretti Nakabugo in Nakawgo,
children will have to make up for lost time.
The starting point would be to try and give a simple assessment to understand the level at which each of these kids.
Otherwise if you take them as a whole, many of them are going to be left behind.
And the ones who are going to be left behind are mainly the ones in the low-income families.
Meanwhile Ugandas ministry of education is planning a campaign aimed at parents to encourage homeschooling.
Halle Mazmali For VOA News Kampala