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September 21, 2021

Schools reopening: Education ministry adds Saturday to school days in new proposal presented to Museveni

Minister of Education - Janet Museveni

A proposal for re-opening schools has been tabled before President Museveni for perusal and further guidance, according to the Ministry of Education and Sports in order to make the final decision to reopen schools.

Students have been out of school for quite a spell, bringing concerns regarding teenage pregnancies and an overflow of children of school-going age with no specific places to accommodate them.

According to sources at State House, the president received the proposal from Ministry of Education officials in the presence of the National Covid-19 Task Force at State House Entebbe on Tuesday.

The development was further confirmed by the Private Secretary to the Minister of Education Denis Mugimba.

Mugimba said that according to the proposal, they asked President Museveni to allow schools open but in a phased or staggered manner, not allowing students to gather in schools at the same time.

The program was used previously and allows only a few classes to be accommodated at school premises alternatingly.

“We had proposed that we open in a phased manner in October 2021, there was agreement that if SOPs are implemented, then we shall proceed at all levels up to University,” Mugimba noted.

Mugimba noted that once the phased opening is allowed, then learners will be accommodated in a staggering manner.

“We can say that P1 to P2 report on Monday to Wednesday while other classes open on the remaining days up to Saturday,” he said.

According to the proposal, Saturday was adopted to help students catch with what they have missed as the school calendar is expected to be more demanding,” he said.

He also added that students will have a far shorter holiday contrary to the previous times.

“For instance, instead of the usual four- or three-weeks holiday, we shall have one or two weeks because we have to maximize the time when things are good, transmission rates are low and we catch up as much as we can,” he said.

The other acceptable intervention as proposed by the Ministry is to reduce the demands of the curriculum by reducing subjects.

“From P1-P3, they will not be studying everything they have been studying, we are going to concentrate on basic areas like numeracy, literacy, and English because they are the basics, we are not going to do 100 percent of the curriculum,” he said.

The Ministry wants to cover only what is vital for learners to proceed to the next level and this will cut across all classes including the higher institutions of learning.

However, besides the proposals, the ministry said they will require Headteachers to be custodians of SOPs including ensuring that only vaccinated teachers are allowed to report to school.

“We have vaccinated about 38 percent of the teachers that is about 209,000 out of the 550,000. Our target is to hit 100 percent but we are also aware that some teachers might have left the profession, and we shall establish this once we have re-opened.”

Accordingly, therefore, following the proposal, the Prime Minister will meet with the task force, Ministry of Health officials, and Ministry of Education officials to propose dates for re-opening and wait on Museveni’s guidance.

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