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Ministry revises academic year, students to report for second term

Janet Museveni Education Minister

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  Education authorities have revised 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.

The Academic Year was prematurely cut short on March 18, 2020, as a precautionary measure to control the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, over 15 million learners who are enrolled in schools at different education levels have been at home since the closedown.

Around May, the government proposed to open up for candidate classes, however, the plan had not materialized to date with some voices asking the government to declare 2020 a dead year for education. Now, sources at the Education Ministry have intimated that the academic year clock will be rewound to the second term.   

Around this time of the year, in the normal academic year schedule, students would be reporting for the third term with candidates preparing for examinations which would begin around October. But, there has been a question of how learners would compensate for the second term given the fact that the government had failed to put up a feasible continuous learning program during the lockdown.   

“Looking at the timeline it was nearly impossible for students to completely cover the syllabus and write their exams this year. It has been agreed upon that as students go back, the clock should be rewound to the second term,” A source told URN.

According to a letter recently written by the Minister of Education Janet Kataha Museveni to Finance Minister Matia Kasaija seeking the release of capitation grants to schools, the candidate classes are bound to report for the second term on September 20, this year. However, sources add that after a few weeks, more classes will also report to school.  

“It will be done in phases. Two or three weeks after candidates have reported, the ministry will assess the situation and if everything is fine, a second lot will be added, another one will also follow up. In the end, all students will be at school,” the source adds.  

Tentatively, the ministry plans that the second term will end around mid-December and in late January or early February, the third term will kick-off. Candidates are then expected to write their final exams around March or April. Going forward, the academic year will be slowly harmonized to fit into the calendar year.

“When schools reopen, the co-curricular activities will be temporarily suspended so that teachers concentrate on reintegrating learners into the school system, carry out remedial work and ensure that the syllabus is covered. There will be no examinations at the end of the second term,” the source said.

Usually, the registration for National Examinations at primary, O’ and A’levels starts in April ending in May with an extra month provided for latecomers. After registration, there are fours to five months before learners eventually write their examinations. Registration normally coincides with candidates’ application for placements in schools and institutions where they wish to be admitted for the next level of education. however, their entire process had been frozen.

Asked about how they intended to handle the examination process within the available situation, Dan Odongo the UNEB Executive secretary noted that they are just waiting for an official communication on the reopening so that they lay out their plan.      

If nothing has changed, the reopening will soon be declared by the president and thereafter the ministry will officially adopt a strategy that will enable them to effectively implement the specific Standard Operating Procedures for Phased Reopening.     

In one of the working documents recently shared, the Ministry of Education suggested enforcing reviews in the daily school routines to provide for shorter and core curriculum school days with classes scheduled between 8 a.m. and end at 1:30 p.m.   

However, a school with huge candidate classes that cannot be accommodated in the available space was planned to have options of teaching either in shifts or an alternate day attendance schedule. Furthermore, all schools that reopen for candidates-only, according to the document, would operate as day or boarding but not both.     

The ministry had also developed Standard Operating Procedures which include; availability of WASH facilities, the two-meter distance between learners, reducing the number of learners to at least 10 to 15 students in a standard classroom for primary and secondary and tertiary institutions and ensuring good ventilation.     

Other SOPs include; regular disinfection, restricted community access, supervising break periods, and scattered release of students for breaks, lunch, and departures to limit interaction. But, sources also indicate that there are several reviews regarding the SOPs which will also be communicated after the awaited pronouncement.  

Several headteachers say that the currently stipulated SOPs may be difficult to implement. Richard Abura, headteacher Nakasero primary school notes that with the resources at their disposal, it will be difficult to take on the entire school community.     

Available documents indicate that besides the normal school budget, the ministry requires 1.67 billion Shillings to facilitate the reopening for candidates and 97.6 billion Shillings in a scenario that requires all students to report to their respective schools. The said funds are to help implement the Standard Operating Procedures in full to prepare schools for reopening.   

Even amid the COVID-19 Resurgence,  the governments around the world have started to slowly reopen schools as health experts say it’s vital for children to resume education. In most countries like the United Kingdom, there are operating on minimal procedures limited to physical distancing, wearing face masks, and sanitizing. However, some teachers’ unions have voiced concerns about the safety of staff and children as infection rates continue to rise.  

Different surveys indicate that school closures have had negative effects on the education and wellbeing of many children and teenagers, while parents are struggling to ensure that their children get some form of learning during the lockdown.

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URN

25 comments

  1. Ongom Charles lwanga

    It’s good that schools are opening. The rate of domestic violence, and all forms of community disorder had worsened. So congrats Ugandans children

    • Kamukama Angela Favour

      Let us also hear about the teacher training cents like NTCs graduation program for those who had sat for their finals in August 2019…

  2. Ok we as candidates we are waiting for today’s tommorow is our Challenge

  3. Government must do this with immediate effect, otherwise any further delay may leave many more teenagers in villages at risk of losing their future due to high rate of teenage pregnancy and early marriages.
    Government Save Tomorrow’s generation pliz!!!!!!!!!

  4. Glory be to God for school opening

  5. Ekongot Israel Isaac

    Hope it’s not politics here but reality for Ugandan s

  6. What about the 2019 candidates? When will the first semester begin? Because as far as I know of they don’t start now? They are to start on August next year and they will have wasted two years.

  7. Am really tired of staying home,l would be preparing for my end of A level exams now

  8. Our president please help us and we go back to school on 20th,I shade tears every night, when l think about my education ,

  9. Dreams NEVER fade

  10. Thanks be to God, we have been lagging behind but my one request is that the tuition should not be high given the fact that our parents have been facing financial crisis as a result of the lockdown

  11. God is great ma prayers for completion of ma studies this year have been answered

  12. Nalunkuuma Hanifah

    My prayer is that the politicians do not interfere with the program, otherwise schools should open to save the girl child

  13. Its quite good if its true because the disappointment of hearing that candidates are getting back to book and the President comes and announce another thing is too painful coz this so called covid 19 may not go away now and does it mean people will not study if it fails or the vaccine fails?? So the idea of resuming is absolutely a good idea thanks to the government if truly they mean what they are saying

  14. thank u so much minister but for me ,I think it will not be possible to all schools ,reason being some schools don’t have enough space even though we study in 2 shifts

  15. Government needs to think twice otherwise “political issues- , Education-, remember all require gatherings with this Pandemic . God help us.🙏

  16. The plan to reopen schools is still risky.
    It may lead to increase in numbers of covid 19.

  17. Babyesiza Nicholas

    Therefore, the system is OK but apparently exclusive. The most important issue is students obtaining a safe completion of levels.

  18. Me I think if u reopen the schools many students will b infected and once one test positive it will bad for whole school coz there schools with 20000plus of student and not every student will follow the guidelines for covid

  19. Good to have schools reopened as it will save many of our teens from bad effects of redundancy. However, the task force needed to focus on the practical application of the SOPs in the Uganda’s Educational institutions; and the general education system of institutions. Also, there was need to reflect on the financial potentials of educational institutions to implement the set SOPs.
    However, it’s a good idea to reopen schools.

  20. It’s really a good Idea to open schools because no one is certain on whether the conditions will normalise soon

  21. Its good for u fellow students to be anxious about going back to school but l also request u to look at the other side of the coin. Assuming one victim gets out of crowd what will happen?.imagine of the network!!!. The president was very clear in his previous State of nation address that education that time of insurgency had to wait til things got to normal, why wouldn’t we be patient n probably c if next year will be good for us to go. Thank

  22. Babutirwaki Godfrey

    Our almighty lord never fail great to hear that good news

  23. Ainomugisha Matovu Rodgerz

    As earlier said by the President that ” I would rather let the young generation stay at home than losing them,”
    I think that that good idea should stay in his mind inorder to save lives for many young generation.
    Because we can clearly see that even most of the people here in villages have failed to follow the SOPS.
    Then for sure there is no way these young stars can follow the instructions and guidelines as given out by the Ministry.
    NOTE :.
    Open schools and sacrifice the life of young stars.
    Leave schools closed and save lives for the young generation.

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