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Private schools seek UGX 90b to beat COVID-19 distress

Najjera progressive school is indefinitely closing

Kampala , Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | Private educational institutions are seeking 90 billion Shillings in financial help, to overcome the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on schools and facilitate the re-opening process. 

With budgets decimated by the economic downturn, many school owners are constrained financially, and can hardly pay for new procedures, health screenings, and other safety measures that are needed to guarantee the safety of children in a school set up. 

The Institutions closed their gates midway through the first term as one of the government’s efforts to avert the likely spread of the COVID-19 disease. Some of them have already become non-medical causalities of the lockdown, which left them crumbling and advancing their financial struggles.

Justus Mugisha, the spokesperson of the committee that was set up by the government to study the impact of the lockdown on schools and make a thorough needs assessment of the private schools, says the said figure is based on submissions made by school administrators all over the country. 

The Private Educational Institutions and School Owners’ COVID-19 committee is working with support from the Ministry of Education, Finance and the National COVID-19 task force.   

During his last national COVID-19 address, president Yoweri Museveni ruled out the possibility of giving grants to schools. He, however, pointed out that school owners and teachers can be supported to service their running loans through the Uganda Development Bank. They could also seek credit at a lower interest rate of 12 per cent.

However, Patrick Kaboyo, the National Secretary of the Federation of Non-State Education Institutions- FENEI, says that during the data collection process, they realised that several schools were submitting exorbitant figures.  On this very ground, Kaboyo stresses that the submitted figures will have to be verified by the Ministry of Finance.    

School proprietors note that the said financial help needs to be fast-tracked to enable the institutions to prepare for the reopening of schools. 

Mugisha notes that the support if granted, will help them to set up the requirement that will see them implement the Standard Operating Procedures, facilitate their payrolls as they wait to start receiving fees from parents and paying for utilities among others.   

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