KAMPALA – The anticipated opening of schools to candidate classes on September 21, 2020 may not actually take place as President Museveni is yet to give a formal communication on the matter.
The National Covid-19 Taskforce proposed that schools can reopen on September 21 to candidate classes, six months after closure in March over Covid-19.
While the Ministry of Education has indicated preparedness to restart, the President is yet to approve the proposal as suggested by the taskforce.
The Education Ministry has even drafted new guidelines to offer actionable guidance for safe reopening and running of education institutions and reduce the impact of the pandemic on teaching and learning. The Minister of Education, Ms Janet Museveni, has also directed the Finance minister, Mr Matia Kasaija, to provide capitation grants for government schools.
But the ministry has not received formal communication from the head of state over the matter, leaving all stakeholders on a state of confusion.
Ministry officials have refused to be comment publically on the matter, saying they are waiting for the communication from the President.
The private school owners under their umbrella of National Private Educational Institutions Association (NPEIA) said they hadn’t received a communication from government,
Early this week, state-owned New Vision reported that more than half of the private schools may not be able to re-open since they cannot meet the set minimum standard operating procedures (SOPs).
“The majority (53%) of the proprietors are not in position to reopen their educational institutions (and) therefore, support the Government to declare 2020 a dead academic year. This is because they have been hit so hard by the COVID-19 lockdown that they don’t have funds to meet the required SOPs,” according to the report by BESO Foundation, a local rural-based education NGO, and published by the New Vision.
Some parents think it is unsafe and costly to send their children back to school given the risks of the COVID -19. They favor holding school completely until next year, basing on high transport costs, school dues and scholastic materials meant for the children.
Pascal Busingye, a parent and security guard working at Paramount Health Centre, with three children says the funds are not available. He says government should halt opening schools for a one year, after he spent all savings during the total lockdown.