Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The government is still sceptical about the reopening of educational institutions, a decision which, according to President Yoweri Museveni will be taken before September.
The academic year was prematurely cut short on March 18, 2020, as a precautionary measure to forestall the spread of COVID-19. At the time of the closure, the President observed that it was paramount to protect the more than 15 million learners enrolled in schools at different education levels.
Although other countries like Kenya have already decided that it might be difficult to get learners back to school this year, the Ugandan government has remained undecided on the matter.
During his address last night, President Yoweri Museveni highlighted that he could not rush to make pronouncements on matters of education until they have exhausted all possible solutions which include getting a vaccine or cure to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. He said that by September, the government will have weighed the options to either allow candidates back or declare a dead year.
In the meantime, Museveni observes that the government will ensure the continuation of the learning process using distance learning techniques including teaching via television and radio. Since last month, the government has been planning to provide at least 9 million radio sets to every household and 137,466 solar-powered television sets to villages across the country.
Museveni observes that there has been engagement between the finance and education ministries and the government has already identified some funds to purchase the said gadgets.
The National Curriculum Development Centre-NCDC has also embarked on the preparation of self-study materials for all learners at both primary and secondary levels. However, experts have already warned that the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown which led to the closure of schools may worsen the already waning learning outcomes in Uganda.
Uganda has now secured a grant of USD 15 million (55.8 billion Shillings) from the Global Partnership in Education-GPE. Part of the funds is to help in the implementation of the said distance learning programme by ensuring continued learning during the closure of schools.
In the same development, the president has promised that the government will look at means of Salvaging Private Education Institutions from becoming non-medical causalities of the COVID-19 closure. He pointed out tax reliefs, having Uganda Development Bank take over their loans and a break from remitting some financial obligations.