Kampala | RedPepper Digital – As President Museveni addresses the nation tonight on the COVID-19 situation in the country, parents and stakeholders in the education sector will be keenly listening in if he will finally give the green light for schools to re-open.
It should be remembered that schools have been closed for almost two years with partial openings for candidate classes and finalists at higher institutions of learning to complete their final exams earlier this year.
Experts and technocrats have warned of impending danger for the future of this country if schools do not open as many school girls have ever since be married off, and many have been impregnated during the lockdown.
To add to the voice of many calling for the reopening of schools, Roland Ndyomugengyi, the Rukiga county legislator in the 11th Parliament has also joined the same cause calling upon the government to consider reopening learning institutions.
In a 21st September 2021 statement, the MP states that whereas the President and First Lady opine that continued closure of schools is intended to safeguard the health and lives of the youngsters, education is a key component for social growth, economic development and transformation as he adds on: “The COVID-19 pandemic poses serious threats to the access of Education in Uganda and innovative solutions are needed to support this sector. The lockdowns that were instituted to contain the spread of the pandemic disrupted learning across all levels of education. Pre-primary institutions were completely closed while phased learning was undertaken in primary, secondary, vocational and tertiary institutions. This has adversely affected learning goals and progress of students.”
Ndyomugyenyi further notes that while some progressed and eventually sat for their national examinations, others have stalled in the same classes for two years and consequently, many students are uncertain on whether they are to remain in the same class when classes resume or will be promoted without completing the curriculum.
“This has been a cause of anxiety amongst students and parents. If not properly addressed, it will result in a manpower or graduate shortage equivalent to the 2 years estimated at about 140,000 graduates.
Unfortunately, the Ministry of Education and Sports is silent on how the situation will be addressed and has failed to offer leadership on the same. Kenya according to Reuters, has registered more than 242,284 cases and 4,8664 deaths have its schools opened since January 2021,” says Ndyomugyenyi.
The MP made the call to the government to borrow a leaf from our neighbours in the region and consider reopening of schools or else the country faces an uncertain future with half baked human resources in all the sectors of the economy.
Relatedly he called for the reopening of schools on 25th October 2021 for a half-term up to 17th December 2021 with the consideration that all learners will be promoted to the next class, government intensifies home-based learning in the period of September to October.
He also proposes that learners upon reporting back in October, should be given assessment exams, and use one month after reporting to cover any uncompleted lessons of the previous class since they won’t be sitting any promotional exams.
On the issue of capitation grants for private schools to recover from the losses made during the lockdown, Ndyomugyenyi had this to say:
“Private Schools are very key in the education sector. If they are not given relief, they may not resurrect. It is my considered opinion that these schools are helped to restart by giving them cheap loans an