Gov’t Open to Alternatives for School Reopening

The Higher Education State Minister, John Chrysostom Muyingo

The Ministry of Education and Sports says it is open to other alternatives regarding the reopening of schools.

During his recent address to the nation, President Museveni tagged school reopening to vaccination of a sizable number of learners from 12 years of age.

However, this has been highly criticized with many people and organizations saying that school reopening cannot wait for all learners to be vaccinated given the vaccine shortages plaguing low-income countries like Uganda.

The Higher Education State Minister, John Chrysostom Muyingo, says while prioritizing the safety of learners and teachers, the ministry together with their health counterparts are critically examining all possible avenues that will eventually inform the safe reopening of schools.

Muyingo says that they are working on fresh guidelines to determine how schools can be reopened.

Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu, the State Minister for Education says the government also intends to base on the epidemiological update of the virus and risk profile analysis before giving green light to any group of learners to return to school.

According to Dr Kaducu, as they consider how primary and secondary schools can safely reopen, they have already effected the school reopening process which will be done in a systematic manner starting with universities and other tertiary institutions.

Already, several groups and individual experts have come up with alternative ideas including the enforcement of Standard Operating Procedures, beefing up inspections, and COVID19 surveillance to eliminate the possible concealment of cases, a factor that led to a surge of infection before the second school closure in June this year.

Others have also advised the government to think of having shortened learning sessions, for instance making a term to last one month, as it would be easier to control infections and remove the laxity in adhering to SOPs that normally comes with long sessions.

Dr Kedrace Turyagyenda, the Director of Education Standards and a member of the COVID19 education response committee, says that as part of their operating model, they have also been making consultations from all stakeholders right from the lowest levels to the top authorities before a final decision can be made.

Dr Turyagyenda further adds that although they haven’t yet formally received some of the proposals made in the public domain, they are reviewing the current Standard Operating Procedures-SOPs regarding education institutions.