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Education minister warns teachers against absenteeism when schools reopen

Minister of education and sports Janet Museveni.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Minister of Education and Sports Janet Kataha Museveni has warned teachers against absenteeism ahead of the scheduled resumption of learning.

Janet Museveni made the remarks on Tuesday while meeting a section of headteachers from different secondary schools at Kololo ceremonial grounds during the selection and placement process for senior one and senior five learners.

She noted that when schools reopen in January next year, headteachers should ensure that they take part in the COVID-19 surveillance at their respective schools to safeguard learners under their care.

On June 18, President Museveni re-imposed the second lockdown in the country, closing all educational institutions of learning, public gatherings and banning public transport after an escalation in the COVID-19 infection rates.

Many people including medical experts blamed the occurrence on school administrators who concealed information of infections in their respective schools. At that time, the president said a total of 948 Covid-19 cases had been registered at 43 schools in 22 districts.

As part of the plans for the safe reopening of schools, the government has been working on the dissemination of the COVID-19 surveillance system to local government officers who are expected to train school administrators for effective implementation.

Janet says that the surveillance system can only be effective if headteachers play their part by making timely reporting, early detection, and management of cases.

She also added that when schools reopen, the ministry will not tolerate absenteeism of both headteachers and classroom teachers since resumption will be a time for teachers to ensure effective learning of students whose education has been disrupted for close to two years.

She said that in a bid to curb absenteeism, they intend to roll out the teacher effectiveness and learner achieves system which will be used to monitor learning in school in real time.

Teacher absenteeism is still one of the major challenges facing the education sector. Research puts Uganda as the second-highest country with teacher absenteeism, ranking at 27 percent in a recent study conducted among 21 countries.

According to the World Bank, the vice is one of the top factors leading to poor academic performance in many schools across sub-Saharan Africa. Uganda is no exception.

John Chrysostom Muyingo, the State Minister in charge of Higher Education also advised headteachers to report to their respective stations to take care of school infrastructure which he says is currently appalling.



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