Several members of teachers' associations, Private Schools and Institutions and the COVID-19 committee, are locked up in a meeting with Education Minister Janet Museveni, to iron out issues surrounding the proposed reopening of schools.
The meeting comes after a roadmap issued by the Ministry of Education days after President Yoweri Museveni allowed the schools to reopen for candidate classes and finalists in universities and tertiary institutions. The roadmap shows that schools will open on October 15, for the second term and close on December 19. The third term will start on January 11, 2021.
However, several prayers within the sector have already raised concerns regarding guidelines which, to some of them, are not applicable. The meeting is reportedly ironing out some of the supposed inconsistencies in the guidelines.
Although the agenda of the meeting was not availed to the participants, several of them noted that they will be fronting issues related to the provision of financial assistance to schools and guidelines on the reopening of schools. They anticipate that the president might also be in attendance.
“The finance issue is yet to be resolved. Private schools need to be helped financially having spent six months without any income. otherwise, the pressure might be transferred to the parents and in the end affect the education of some of the learners,” one of the invited participants who preferred anonymity noted.
The said participant adds that they want to use the same platform to bring to the attention of the minister several guidelines for school reopening which we think are unreasonable.
Hasadu Kirabira, the Kampala representative on the National Private Educational Institutions Association, says although they were consulted during the drafting of the guidelines, much of the contentious issues reflected are new to them and therefore need to be thoroughly discussed as the case was on other provisions.
Kirabira notes that the meeting, held at State House, Entebbe will provide an avenue for them to give their views on the matter and ask for a review where possible.
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Patrick Kaboyo, an educationist who is part of the participants, expresses worry that parents who are the key pillar of the sector don’t have a platform where they can voice their views. “It is very unfortunate that we lack parents’ associations. Several important matters affect them directly but they ever not consulted,” he adds.