Uganda: Gov’t asked to reopen schools for third term

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Kampala, Uganda | AFRICATEMBELEA | A section of private school owners under their umbrella Federation of Non-State Education Institution (FENEI) and the national private schools and institutions have asked the government to consider allowing the final students report for the third term if schools are reopened.

Patrick Kaboyo, FENEI general secretary notes that they are against a dead year and would like to reopen as earlier as October so that candidates and finalists are prepared to finish off their education and proceed to the next level next year.

According to Kaboyo, if their proposal is approved, the finalists will study from October to around January and sit for examinations in February.

Educational institutions have been under lockdown since March when they were prematurely closed as one of the measures to curb the spread of covid-19 disease.

Kaboyo notes that even if they reopen for the second term, they will be able to use the suggested time to prepare learners for the national examination and the rest can slowly be engaged through the proposed home-schooling program and also give remedial lessons when they return to schools.

Uganda National Examination Board- UNEB will also have less than three months to undertake the examination cycle starting with the registration of learners, preparing the exams, and sitting the exams.

Normally, the registration for finalists covers two months April and May. After which learners are given four to five months before they eventually write their examinations. It remains unclear whether three months would be enough for UNEB to prepare and hold the assessments effectively.

Meanwhile, Joseph Kiggundu, the chairperson National Private Schools and Institutions COVID-19 committee says although there are indicators of a possible reopening, the government should pronounce itself on the promises that it had made to private schools.

Kiggundu who is also the proprietor of King’s Group of Schools points to the need to give the teachers tax holidays, freezing of interest on school loans. He says that this can be temporary to enable have a soft reopening and averting the possible transfer of stress to parents in form of hiked fees.

The school owners also note that through their forums and platforms, they have already been disseminating the standard operating procedures for schools and think they are ready to reopen.

Kiggundu argues that reopening will bring back life to teachers who have lost hope and also provide a haven to thousands of learners who are abused in the communities.

As the said group pushes for the reopening, there are other groups of people who argue that reopening after September will be pointless.

President Yoweri Museveni is expected to address the nation on Sunday on the Covid-19 pandemic.

(URN)

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