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Education ministry to inspect schools ahead of planned reopening

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Education and Sports is set to inspect all educational institutions ahead of the scheduled reopening for candidates and finalists. The plan is to visit all schools across the country to gauge their readiness and ability to implement Standard Operating Procedures before the reopening.

Dr Kedrace Turyagenda, the director of education standards says that the inspection starts this week and will run through the next two weeks. She says that they have developed a checklist from the SOPs that all schools need to implement before they are allowed to reopen.

The measures include the ability to maintain a population of 15 students and 10 pupils in a classroom, learners should sit two meters away from each other and every learner will be mandated to wear a mask during lessons. All classrooms will also have to have good ventilation.

Also all schools will have to prove that they can carry out regular disinfection of all surfaces including desks and washrooms. Schools authorities also have to put in place several handwashing stations preferably at the entrance of every classroom and at points of entry. They also have to have temperature guns to enable them to screen learners and teachers.

Turyagenda stresses that the standards will not be compromised because they were already disseminated to all schools, giving them enough time to prepare for the implementation phase. She emphasizes that the said standards must be uniform across the country,

Turyagyenda says that in July, the Directorate of Education Standards made a quick assessment of the status of schools and their ability and readiness to implement the SOPs and discovered that implementing the measures when only finalists are at schools is possible.

In cases where schools have limited space, Turyagenda advises schools to use tents and temporary structures as classrooms. Following the inspection, each school will be issued a certificate of compliance that will allow it to open their gates for students. She stresses no school will re-open without the said certificate.

However, some school proprietors that URN interviewed said that some of the SOPs like limiting the number of learners in every classroom are not practical especially in schools with huge numbers of candidates. Crispus Kazibwe, Deputy headteacher Kazo Summit Primary School in Kawempe notes that when you divide the almost 150 learners they have into groups of 10, the available space cannot be enough.

“Some of these things are not realistic in our schools. I need atleast 15 classrooms, and teachers to be available in all of them is a joke. The situation is even likely to be worse in some government schools which lack infrastructure,” he said.

Re-echoing the president’s advice during his recent address, Turyagenda shares that schools that will not be able to reopen or fail to meet the requirement will be advised to send learners to other institutions with the capacity.

All government-funded schools are going to be issued with a minimum of six, foot and hand-operated washing facilities, two temperature guns, one plastic spray pump and 20 litres of Jik disinfectant. In addition to this, all learners in private and government schools will be issued two standard face masks.

Ever since the president announced the reopening of schools, different school proprietors have been working around the clock to put in place measures to control the spread of COVID-19. Although the education ministry has not yet realized a clear roadmap, schools are expected to open for candidate classes and finalists on October 15.

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