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Why schools are anxious about reopening

Candidate classes set to be reopened.

It is very clear that guidelines will impose more Covid-19 prevention related costs on schools. Who will meet the extra costs?

COMMENT | Justus Mugisha | We all breathed a sigh of relief when President Yoweri Museveni on Monday  announced partial re-opening of schools.

But the more I think about re-opening schools with only candidates, the more the challenges schools will face, come to the fore.

Come to think of it…… We shall have a quarter of the schools population with meager fees collections but the expenses shall not be proportionate to the number of students at school, since most of the school expenses are fixed. The Education ministry may also give guidelines limiting schools on fees to be charged.

Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) registration will commence immediately after schools resume, but some schools may have used the money collected with the hope of refunding it using 2nd term fees from the whole school. This is not to be.

The President is expected to maintain the curfew in place. This will mean that both students and teachers cannot move at night.

The curfew will mean that day students will reach school late and will be expected to leave early. Only teachers that are housed at school will be able to supervise night and morning preps. Its a well known fact that some schools have no teachers houses at school.

And how shall we pay teachers? We normally budget on the basis of school fees payed thrice in a year. Shall we really have the three terms this year? If not, what will happen to staffs payments.

Then the social distancing. Shall we have our usual 80 or so students in each class? Shall we use the same number of teachers? What about the spacing in the dormitories?

It is very clear that the guidelines will impose more Covid-19 prevention related costs on schools. Who will meet the extra costs? Shall we charge extra fees? Will parents afford?

What about first term school fees arrears? Many schools had not collected up to 50% of the 1st term fees by the time of the Covid-19 break.
What about those who had paid all the terms fees.

Well. We are teachers, we shall improvise. Except that the guidelines by the ministry may further tie our hands.


The writer is Director Standard High School, Zzana

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