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Inspectors accused of turning blind eye as schools reopen for all learners

Back to school; Kisaasi College Students report for School.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT  |  School inspectors are on the spot for looking on as schools stealthy sneak in non- authorized learners. 

In February, the Cabinet approved the reopening of schools in a “staggered manner” that will ensure compliance with Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs). All schools in the country were closed in March 2020 as a measure to control the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) disease.

The first phase of re-opening under this arrangement only targeted semi candidates (P.6, S3, and S.5) and the second targeted P.4, P.5 and S.1. However, some schools have decided to use the opportunity to sneak in learners from other classes.

Dr Kedrace Tulyagenda, the director in charge of Education Standards, says local governments through the education inspection unit and working with the area covid-19 task force are supposed to ensure that schools both private and the public don’t flout the set SOPs and school calendar. 

Dr Tulyagenda, however, notes that although the Directorate of Education Standards has received unconfirmed reports about schools reopening for all learners, they are yet to hear from the inspectors.

She further adds that even without reporting to the centre, the education law gives powers to the inspectors of schools. However, according to her, it seems inspectors have failed on their mandate.   

The education standards director also said that they have received reports that some inspectors are being bribed by school proprietors to flout the guidelines. 

Rashid Kikomeko, the Mukono District Inspector of Schools, notes that although inspectors are being informed about schools operating at full capacity, at times they are incapacitated by several factors that include under staffing and inadequate funding. 

“The inspectors’ units in many districts are understaffed. For instance, he says, in Mukono-which is a renowned hub for schools – we have only three inspectors which makes it difficult for them to reach everywhere at the same time. Secondly, although the government has released funds for the fourth quarter, we are yet to receive it,” says Kikomeko.  

Kikomeko, however, says that to address under staffing, they intend to use assessors who include retired senior teachers to help in the inspection.

Despite their major importance, school inspectors have been identified as one of the obstacles towards the implementation of education standards in schools even before the staggered reopening of schools. 

For instance, the 2019/2020 financial year education sector review report confirmed that many inspectors at districts are not only corrupt but also lack the required skills and knowledge on how to inspect schools.



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