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Education ministry drafts new guidelines for reopening schools

Janet Museveni

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  The Education Ministry has 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.   

Although the government is yet to officially announce dates for the reopening of schools, several sources have already reported that Education institutions shall reopen starting September 20, for candidate classes (P7, S4, and S6) and final year students in higher institutions of learning.   

To have a smooth reopening, authorities have held a series of meetings and developing possible working documents to guide the process with the latest offering guidance on several aspects ranging from school fees, reopening of international and special needs school, management of staff, and the effective utilization of schools’ facilities among others.   

Fresh ideas considered include among others the possible full capacity reopening of schools for learners with special needs and international schools provided they can adhere to the social distancing of at least two meters.  

“…given that these schools follow the school calendar of their international affiliates and their candidate classes do not correspond to the standard education cycles in Uganda, international schools in Uganda may reopen and operate at full capacity with effect from 21 Sept,” the document reads in part.   

In earlier working documents, schools had been told to limit the number of students per classroom to only 15. However, the new draft advises schools to consider re-arrangement of the sitting of learners using all available rooms within the school to ensure the required social distancing.   

In the arrangement, schools have been told to transform into classroom facilities like libraries, laboratories, dining halls, main halls where available. “…there should not be more than seventy learners in a room or hall of any size for a lesson or other purposes.”   

Safe temporary shelters, such as tents, and open-air spaces, such as tree shades may be improvised as temporary venues for some classes are also looked at to be used as classrooms. But, institutions with large numbers of candidates, which cannot be accommodated in the available rooms at the social distancing shall make arrangements to operate either morning and afternoon shifts or get an alternate-day attendance schedule.  

Through the same document, the ministry is also suggesting that education institutions shall not increase school fees but rather engage their parents to adopt flexible payment arrangements. “The management and governance of all education institutions shall review institutional annual work plans and budgets to realign them with the changes in education institution programmes and priorities.”   

Again it is re-echoed, as stated in earlier proposals, that all primary and secondary schools that reopen shall operate either as day or boarding but not both.  

However, the document is still silent on schools and learners from border districts who are still under full lockdown to date. But, schools are advised to take precautions to ensure that no learner, who I reported to entered Uganda illegally is allowed into the institution premises.

The document also presents restrictions on teacher part-timing and also barring of staff members who are not on duty from being at school on that given day. “Institutions shall ensure that restrictions are in place to prevent teachers from part-timing in multiple schools and thereby increasing the risk of spreading infections among institutions,” the guidelines state.     

Although most officials at the ministry of education refused to be quoted on the said guidelines before the official announcement, they accept that there are several documents prepared and are currently conducting several meetings regarding the same.  

“Even today (Wednesday) there was a meeting discussing similar matters. but all those documents remain provisional as we wait for higher authorities to make the final call but nothing much will change,” a source who sought to remain anonymous said.  

Reports indicate that education authorities are to revise the Academic Year schedule to allow students to report for the second term of school this month as part of the phased reopening of educational institutions across the country.

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33 comments

  1. Hi x🙄 mama Janet let this be adead year of teaching and learning process because it will be the worst of all and many schools have inadequate facilities to cater for covid19 social distance 😴🇺🇬l love Uganda

    • Hello King Mozey, get it from me. Using our common sense, this is a dead year since not any student can perform very well even if they are to be lenient in marking or grading system and to your info, even if we are to get the first students, they would not be of quality since they have been at home for almost 6 months. Some have forgotten where they kept their books and etc. So this is a dead year, let us think about studies in June 2021 after presidential elections, lets plan other things.

      Thanks.

      • Why we panic, even doctors say this COVIID-19 of ours can be dealt with even from our homes, lets leave our children resume studies, i sure u this COVIID-19 of ours will not affect them as such thx

  2. I would highly suggest we call it quits for 2020 let’s first deal with the problem at hand, why can’t the government see that the rate of increase in cases is probably higher if students go back to school, now we have to think about fees, upkeep, transport, we had sincerely gotten a psychological break and hoped it would continue into 2021

  3. Send them to school, at home here you can see they are not reported infected, yet they are the most roaming people around cities, towns and villages, they are resistant, but very hard to address dead year which might extend to next year, becouse this is not a pandemic, its an endemic, just elevating since 8months instead of going down, thanks@merryls

    • Like, get real… Put yoself in the shoes of any learner , don’t just speak cz yo a boring parent frustrated with kids around u… Have u even thought of how parents are to raise the fees or Maybe u think students are to learn for free?😤🤬

  4. Bol Joseph Gangdit

    With this pandemic crisis, how will the parents be able to raise money. The economic is down and no money in hand currently. So wouldn’t it be a burden on parents. Many parents are struggling with life and many schools requirements may not be easier to meet. Will the government and NGOs provide some assistance for school fees and scholastic materials?

  5. For as EJIDRA ALFRED a final year student at ARUA CORE PTC,my suggestion is that 2020 academic year should be a dead year in education system because next year 2021 we begin afresh otherwise the nation will not have finalists 2021 thanks God bless u!

  6. Ivan Canary Mugisha

    It’s right and just that schools should reopen, because COVID is still here and it’s endless

  7. Why reopening now.lets try to think and act in a way that earns us respect than fear.lets try to see beyond our nose.

  8. For real thanks to the ministry for considering us the students but I hope that u can allow as to go with phones coz at least the school witch can manage can be able to conduct e learning wich also promotes distance btwn students than sitting all together in classes

  9. It’s a good idea, let finalists complete their studies

  10. COVID 19 is endless let stundents go and finalize their studies
    # Big ups to Ministry of Education and Sports

  11. Calling it a dead year is going to increase the population by almost 30% .students are getting spoiled on a daily basis teachers have become miserable day by day. All the government promises are ending up in lies, pliz save our country OPEN SCHOOLS

  12. Covid-19 situation have made young school ongoing girls to get unwanted pregnancies and so by opening and resuming studies, the gov’t would have saved good percentage of girls who were to fall victims

  13. I support the gvt with the reopening of skulls coz this covid stuff is endless fr now if we wait fr it t end then I don’t think that candidates shall be able t catch up with their studies since most of them now work and others vacated into other thngz not focusing on studying ..now just imagine how it will b wen it z announced a dead yr

  14. I dont support the government to reopen schools yet when they have not discovered the cure of covid 19. Let’s say there allowing candidates classes to resume their studies. If i may say, my son is in s1 class, he hasn’t studied this year and a student from p7 completed his year and joined the same class with my son who didn’t study his year and was supposed to join s2 but he had to repeat but for candidates didn’t repeat. It’s not fair. They should all join at once or make it dead year. Another thing, there will be social distance in classes but during break time or lunch time, students will gether together.

    Nb: let’s all the student join together next year or all of them should reopen together don’t specify which students should study. We will not all it.
    That’s my views

  15. I think the govt should consider the situation of the middle private schools ,you tell a school to pay more than 30 teachers in a school for teaching only candidates even now some parents are struggling to get jobs and you’re telling them to pay more fees when they were thinking they had already paid .let’s wake up uganda is not safe, wait for parents who are going to buy petrol ,lock his/her children’s indoors ,afterwards you will see smoke and flames.

  16. I agree with the ministry because students have already lost enough time if they resume with great enforcement of the s.o.ps we may be able to get two birds with one stone getting used to staying with the virus and also attaining proper academics
    If we remain stagnant in this crisis we might endup taking years to resolve it.lets accomplish what we take to be the impossible

  17. yes it’s a brilliant idea for us how had plans to get out of high school but now looking at the economical side of this for sure unless the government is to intervein this year should be a dead one besides one should imagine of a condition God forbid if we got cases in school, how much emotional stress will that cause to our dear old parents won’t we lose them? God bless you as you rethink this.

  18. Reopening is good but with the sops put in place, most schools will not make it.so either the government come in to cater for some essential requirements both in government school s and private schools. Otherwise let us register a dead year as we continue to prepare.

  19. It’s good idea but then think about our local parents who used to get our fees in matooke but now we are at home eating it so will she manage to raise the money needed in school. So please announce it as a dead year and prepare for next Year to resume a fresh. Thanks.

  20. It is true we may want to cope up with living with the virus but let’s first think of the ONE reason why the schools were closed…I guess it was to reduce on the spread of the disease..so as the number of cases and deaths are scaringly shooting high despite the closure of schools, then will there reopening reduce on the already rapidly increasing cases or it will just worsen the situation??? Thinking and deciding are two different things..# my Uganda won’t end today it will still live tomorrow

    • Plz my Fellow Uganda, Virus has no cure yet scientists are still struggling to find vaccine, but Uganda is still suffering from resolving poverty, hunger, shelter,ignorance etc,
      We need expertise such as Doctors Nurse, teachers etc so as to Build existing Uganda and East Africa at Large.
      So if you keep people indoor you create those enemies to eat Uganda completed than Covid 19, no one is conscious with Uganda and Africa, Uganda is for Ugandan
      Plz work up resume all activities, hospital are lacking human resources, no interns, who are used to support this sectors for Ugandan.
      Don’t keep crying,fearing and hiding ,plz work up guys life is goes on.
      Ask you’re self for how long we keep lockdown? The reason to close schools was already solved? Do you think students are no meet each other in the streets? Who is pregnanting school children? Closing schools is the solution yet?
      If you will answer this questions you will under stand,
      The gvt still receiving loan from World bank but who is going to pay back if not you and you’re family, who is currently doing nothing to support you’re family financially.
      When you’re going to work,do you know what you’re children do? Simplest answer is no, homeless, let gvt reopen schools and resume other usual activity to rescue Ugandan.

  21. Please, let schools open. People who don’t want schools to open are the following categories.
    1. Those whose children are not studying from Uganda.
    2. Those whose daughters or relatives have got pregnancies and they hope to have produced by next year.
    3. Those whose businesses are doing well and that who are enjoying Corona money.
    Please stop selfish interests, how many parents or candidates have told you they are not ready to go back to school?

    • Please Nkamushaba Alex,don’t be ignorant like that. Here am meaning,if the ministry of education and sports opens schools this year,as the the cases are on a rapid increasing rates,what do you think will happen to students?
      This goes to MOES,you are going to open schools but j am sure the registered confirmed and dead cases will multiply like a thousand times per day. So please am kindly advising you the ministry of education and sports not to Harry on reopening schools both candidate classes and continuing ones but put more emphasis on declaring this year a dead year,j greatly that those ones who are commenting on this to be a dead year,thanks for being wise enough and God bless you.
      Long live MOES,long live Uganda,For God and my Country

  22. Let schools reopen government employees are tying us because they enjoy government money and they are in other businesses

  23. Personally I’m a teacher but am not in support of this .let’s call it a dead year we have struggled as teachers without help form the government we have reached somewhere atleast and now they want to reopen who will teach them if you dint even bother catering for the teacher .let’s call it a dead year .your just pushing them back to us ,we struggle with them at the end of the day your need results .and yet you don’t mind of the teacher .dead year period .

  24. Plz my Fellow Uganda, Virus has no cure yet scientists are still struggling to find vaccine, but Uganda is still suffering from resolving poverty, hunger, shelter,ignorance etc,
    We need expertise such as Doctors Nurse, teachers etc so as to Build existing Uganda and East Africa at Large.
    So if you keep people indoor you create those enemies to eat Uganda completed than Covid 19, no one is conscious with Uganda and Africa, Uganda is for Ugandan
    Plz work up resume all activities, hospital are lacking human resources, no interns, who are used to support this sectors for Ugandan.
    Don’t keep crying,fearing and hiding ,plz work up guys life is goes on.
    Ask you’re self for how long we keep lockdown? The reason to close schools was already solved? Do you think students are no meet each other in the streets? Who is pregnanting school children? Closing schools is the solution yet?
    If you will answer this questions you will under stand,
    The gvt still receiving loan from World bank but who is going to pay back if not you and you’re family, who is currently doing nothing to support you’re family financially.
    When you’re going to work,do you know what you’re children do? Simplest answer is no, homeless, let gvt reopen schools and resume other usual activity to rescue Ugandan.

  25. Prince Ismael KADHUMBULA

    People we have not got any way near to preparedness as in Covid 19 pandemic crisis handling. If even masks failed to reach homes. How will oxygen reach?. Food failed. Tv money released and TVs never reached. How will the children be.!! You want the children in schools and stop parents from entering. What do u think will happen when one of the kids is positive? Who do you think will stand the challenge? Look at how many schools will have attacks from parents. Weigh between two side: 1. Loosing a year as you prepare how to handle crisis out of further spread; 2. Loosing pelople more and more and more so children of tomorrow.
    So,
    My opinion as a parent, we have already lost time and people this 2020. None had a hand in this issue locally here. Lets be patient with our children studies will wait too. No one will study with half lungs and affected brain.
    And too no one will die because of not studying for only a year.
    Opening international schools is the worst. It will ignite chaos given the political situation we have and also no way you will balance with the rest of the community. Which gives you 95% of the people you gibe jobs. International schools wont solve any national problem. 99% of their products dont work here. Lets learn to look at things in a broad way, and Uganda as our home. Not just a work place.
    Thank you.
    “”For God and my country “”

  26. Don’t you think the ministry is doing a wrong thing because the students are most likely to perform poorly due to the pressure going to be impacted on them by the teachers .and this will be put back to the teachers yet they are also.on pressure so teachers better come out and say a word about the reopening of schools.because it seems you are not ready to handle the heavy situation coming forth after the reopening of schools in conclusion,my opinion is that the ministry should declare a dead year because for us we are ready for it.

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