KAMPALA – The education ministry has allowed international schools in the country to reopen so that finalist classes can sit their examinations.
Denis Mugimba, the ministry’s spokesperson, said the permission was granted by the minister, Janet Kataha Museveni, after she was petitioned by a consortium of the schools.
“The ministry received a request to have international schools reopen for finalist classes for 2021 to do their exams, especially practicals and this was to begin on August 30. The minister has granted that permission, but only for candidates sitting their final exams,” he said.
He said the schools run on a different calendar, which is usually between August and September and they have no control over the curriculum.
“It is the same arrangement we had for the finalists using local curricular. The minister has granted that permission and we beg for understanding from the public,” he said.
He made the remarks during a joint briefing with the health ministry, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and the National Drug Authority (NDA) at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala on Thursday.
On reopening of local-curricular schools, he said a decision has not yet been reached by the Government, noting that they are waiting for the President to make the decision.
“The date will be determined by the President. To reopen is not dependent on vaccination alone, we have to work closely with health ministry because they have the expertise to monitor other issues, especially on how we are faring with controlling COVID-19,” he said.
Mugimba said even if 100% of the teachers are vaccinated, the data on community infection transmission will also be considered before schools are allowed to reopen.
While appearing on Urban TV on Wednesday, Dr Chris Baryomunsi, the information minister, said while it won’t be long before schools reopen, clear safety measures have to be put in place before it is done.
“We have not taken any decision of when schools will reopen. But this September, we expect many dozens of vaccines into the country and we should be able to vaccinate as many people as possible,” he said.
According to Mugimba, about 183,000 teachers have been vaccinated and they expect 550,000 teachers to be vaccinated by the end of the exercise. When the non-teaching staff are included, the number will reach 730,000.
In Kampala alone, Daniel NuweAbine, the KCCA spokesperson, said they have so far vaccinated 11,629 teaching and non-teaching staff using the Chinese Sinovac vaccine. This includes the 1,906 persons vaccinated in Nakawa division, 2,359 in Central division, 2,535 in Makindye division, 2,463 in Rubaga division and 2,366 at Kawempe division.
Mugimba said there has been a heavy turnout for the vaccination of teachers and non-teaching staff and tertiary students upcountry.
“The First Lady said she is going to engage health ministry to allow districts, local governments, cities and municipalities to have additional vaccination posts for the teachers.
Previously, they had been giving us two names per local government but because of the demand the posts will be increased,” he said.
He said the number of vaccination posts will now depend on how many the health ministry can supply vaccines to.