KAMPALA – The National Planning Authority (NPA) has warned that about 5000 private schools and higher institutions of learning are likely to face permanent closure for failing to stay afloat due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This was said by Rogers Matte, the NPA Manager Macroeconomic Planning on Wednesday while appearing before Parliament’s National Economy Committee to submit the Authority’s views on the impact of coronavirus on the economy.
Matte told PMs that some of the measures announced by President Museveni to contain the spread of coronavirus like closure of education institutions have led to loss of learning.
According to NPA, the closure of schools and training institutions has left 15million learners unable to continue with normal learning and despite the current interventions by the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders to ensure continuity of learning, only 30% of the total students population are able to access.
Matte added that the future of students in further in stake given that the lockdown has coincided with the planting season, about 24% of the learners particularly from the poorest quintile are fully in gardens providing labour without time to revise.
“This is likely to affect the implementation of the curriculum and acquisition of the defined competences in specific classes, increase dropouts, increased teenage pregnancies and early marriages. Ultimately, this will impact the quality and quantity of the country’s human capital,” Matte explained.
The NPA boss added that due to loss of revenue arising from the containment measures, it is anticipated that without significant support, about 3,507 (1749 and 1,758) poor private primary schools are at risk of forced closure.
He said, “Consequently, the future of approximately 1,534,000 primary school children remains uncertain. At secondary level, a total of 834 (472 urban and 360 rural) poor private schools are likely to face closure due to financial distress thereby putting the future of 390,000 learners at stake.”
NPA added that the situation is more precarious for higher education as 80% of private universities have already communicated financial distress to their staff, “Consequently, about 1131 of full time staff in private universities are likely to lose their jobs and or get suspended contracts. Similarly, 106,336 students attending these institutions are at risk of dropping out and or taking dead years, should these institutions close. While pre-school subsector which is 100% privately provided is at higher risk than the rest of the subsector.”
Syda Bbumba (Nakaseke North) faulted NPA for falling short at making recommendations on relief package to private school teachers who are hit most with the closure of schools.
She said, “What are you recommending for teachers in private schools because we need their services yet they need to survive.”