I interviewed Kyalugaba Jackson about his experiences during the pandemic. Jackson is a second year student at Kyambogo University working toward a Bachelor of Science degree in technology. Kyambogo University is a public university in Uganda and is one of the eight universities awarding this degree in Uganda. It’s located in Banda Kampala and has more than 25,000 students enrolled. During our conversation, Kyalugaba Jackson shared the following thoughts with me:

“I was completing my second year of studies at Kyambogo University when on the 18th of March 2020, the president of Uganda HE Museveni declared a lockdown and closed all schools including universities. COVID 19 corona virus has affected me both negatively and positively – though the impact has been mainly negative. In that I mean, my studies have been put on hold and I may have a dead year. I’m not sure what the University is planning for me.

My studying time has been increased by one year and that means by the time I’m done I will be 30 years old. Aside from my studies, my movement has been affected because I can’t move to meet my friends, make more connections or do research, since transportion is difficult and I don’t have money.

When the president of Uganda announced a state of emergency we thought this thing would be simple, but it’s been four months and we’re still in lockdown without school. The poor state of the education system in Uganda has really affected us, because we cannot study online, so that means no more studies until the pandemic is over.

Having my studies interrupted has given me more time to think. I’ve had time to think about what if this thing goes on longer than expected, what will I do as a student and as a person? My mind has actually gone on a task, what if my studying ends here? Will l be able to use the little l have gained from school?

As a student studying science in technology, I have to think how I can survive in this pandemic. My parents have been hit hard economically and are not currently working.  If the university reopens, I will need to hustle for the funds to finish my third year and graduate. COVID has negatively impacted my time to pursue my dreams and create a career.  I’ve also missed out on an internship that would have started recently.

On the positive side, COVID 19 has not killed me and I still have my big brain that can come up with innovations. I have hope I can do something, because there is no problem that doesn’t come with a solution. Although a vaccine for COVID 19 hasn’t surfaced, it doesn’t mean that life will not move on.

When I look at my country’s economic status and the potential for my job career, it will be hard for me to get a job. Our education system trains more job seekers than job creators. So in conclusion, for me, COVID 19 has done more harm than good.”

Ashaba Arnold is an OHU-sponsored student awaiting acceptance for the start of his first year of university studies. He is interested in studying economics and accounting.