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Parents, Schools Remain Green About School Reopening Process

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It is expected that educational institutions will re-open in January 2022, after nearly two years of closure, according to an announcement made by President Yoweri Museveni in September. Since then, the education ministry has promised to release a revised school calendar and roadmap to the pre-reopening activities in vain.
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Parents, teachers, and other education service providers remain green about the school reopening process nearly a month to the scheduled resumption of physical teaching and learning activities.

It is expected that educational institutions will re-open in January 2022, after nearly two years of closure, according to an announcement made by President Yoweri Museveni in September. Since then, the education ministry has promised to release a revised school calendar and road map to the pre-reopening activities in vain. 

Rose Namutebi, a parent in Kampala says that initially, she was depositing school fees for children in instalments a month before the school term started. However, she adds, that the delay in announcing the roadmap for the reopening of schools have kept her in uncertainty.

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Namutebi further says that even if she were to pay school fees, she is unaware of the term and class her children will be attending when the schools reopen next year. 

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Like many other parents who were interviewed by our reporter, Namutebi observes that it was significant for the government to have views from parents and the learners on how to reopen the schools and on how to manage the learners when they resume studies.

Similarly, Aziz Kirya, another parent from Entebbe Municipality, says that the government ought to hold a social dialogue bringing together all stakeholders like educationalists, parents, and the private sector that directly works with schools to help them come up with a conclusive reopening plan that holds ideas of all the players to avoid future excuses and regrets.  

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Carol Megan, a parent of two lower primary learners, says she is largely waiting for the school calendar to start planning for her children's return to school.

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In a recent interview, Micheal Kironde, the National Chairperson of Proprietors of Private Educational Institutions Association in Uganda also expressed concern that the Ministry of Education is treating the reopening ceremony as an event that will happen once yet it is a big process with several items that need to be considered.  

“After this long school closure, many things have changed. We have asked the ministry to give us a roadmap and school calendar to enable parents, learners, and parents to prepare for the reopening in vain,” Kironde says. He also noted that currently many schools cannot recall their teachers as they are not yet aware of what is going to happen.

“Some insiders say that it will be a staggered reopening; with selected classes attending first while others say all learners will go to school at once. how can headteachers plan in such a confusing environment,” he said.  

A public school headteacher who preferred anonymity to freely comment on the matter said that normally before reopening, a school needs close to a month or so for teachers to plan what they will teach.   

“Before any term opens, teachers must prepare schemes of work and lesson plans. However, in the current situation, we are not aware whether to call the teacher to report to school or not. If schools are to reopen in January as we are being told, when will we get the time for the planning?”   

Dr Mary Goretti Nakabugo, an educationist and Executive Director of Uwezo Uganda, also expressed concern about how the matter has been handled. Nakabugo notes that the ministry promised to disseminate an abridged curriculum and retool teachers on how to approach it but nothing has been done so far.  

“Are schools going to reopen in January? a lot of things seem to be missing. Up to now, we are not yet sure how the reopening will be. The ministry had promised an abridged curriculum to help our learners recover from the long unprecedented school closure. A month towards January, the curriculum has not been released,” says Nakabugo. 

The educationist adds that the Ministry of Education should release the road map in time to give stakeholders like parents, schools, and learners carry out enough preparations.           

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