Uganda: Education ministry appeals to schools to wait for reopening guidelines

Education ministry appeals to schools to wait for reopening guidelines

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  The Ministry of Education and Sports has advised administrators of schools and other educational institutions not to rush to set guidelines and dates on when they expect to reopen their gates for finalists.     

Recently, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who directed the closure of all educational institutions in March due to the outbreak of the Covid-19, allowed schools to open on June 4 but for only finalists in primary seven, senior four, senior six, and those in their final years in Universities and Tertiary Institutions.       

To this effect, the president noted that the education Ministry should come up with guidelines for reopening schools across the country. However, as students and parents remain anxious waiting for the dates to be announced,  the specific operating procedures are also yet to be released.       

As a result, several educational institutions, more so public universities across the country, have released their tentative reopening programs. For example, Makerere university has set June 20 as their reopening date, Kyambogo is targeting either June 20 or 28, Mbarara University of Science and Technology has announced June 8, while Busitema is tentatively set to open on June 13.       

In the same development, some of the said universities have also set guidelines and conditions for the finalists to access the universities. Gulu and Mbarara University of Science and Technology have already proposed to carry out a mandatory COVID-19 tests for all students among other interventions.     

However, Patrick Muinda, the Ministry of Education spokesperson, notes that educational institutions should patiently wait before they plan for any dates. He adds that the ministry is looking at all the aspects before they roll out the awaited plan.       

Muinda adds that the ministry is now at the final stage of the consultative process on the reopening of education institutions and later they will be embarking on consolidating information obtained from stakeholders including school heads, parents, teachers’ associations, and implementing partners.         

The ministry is expected to guide among other things the mode of reporting, fees policies, and transport of students for day students and for those in border districts where the ban on public transport has not been lifted among other items.     

Some sources have however intimated to this reporter that part of the delay to give out the plan is due to financing aspects. “You know this matter involves money. The ministry cannot just open up a school without prior preparations. I will give you a simple example; if the guidelines call for regular washing of hands, then who will meet the charges in public schools? that should be the government,” said the source.     

The source added the ministry among other things is still waiting to get an accelerating grant for the COVID-19 education response and recovery plan from the Global Partnership for Education – GPE. it is said that Uganda expects to get over USD 20 billion. Other countries like Rwanda, Zambia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania have already benefited from the grant.

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