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Schools Prepare for the Expected Reopening

With the possibility of the phased reopening of educational institutions, several school heads and Richard Abura, the Deputy Headteacher Nakasero primary school, says that although the proposed time for reopening schools is drawing closer there is nothing they can do because of budget constraints.

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With the possibility of the phased reopening of educational institutions, several school heads and proprietors have embarked on preliminary preparations to avoid being caught off-guard when the official pronouncement is made. 

Initial reports indicated that the government was making arrangements to reopen schools on September 20 beginning with candidates and finalist classes. However, the government is yet to issue an official pronouncement and guidance to that effect.  This, however, hasn’t stopped schools from preparing for the anticipated reopening.

Godfrey Kimbugwe, the deputy headteacher Hormisdallen Primary School in Kamwokya, says that the Directorate of Education Standards has been engaging them in workshops to discuss what they must put in place if they are to reopen.  

“During those workshops, they talked about the need to have handwashing facilities, temperature guns and quarantine areas where a teacher or pupil suspected to have the disease (COVID-19) can be put before being referred,” he said. 

Adding that, “We are trying to put up everything on the checklist to get ready for the reopening.” The situation was no different in other schools visited by our reporter. At Kazo Primary School and City Side College Makerere, our reporter found causal labourers cleaning compounds that have been unattended to for the last six months.

Crispus Kazibwe, the deputy headteacher at Summit Primary School in Kawempe, says the preparations are long overdue should, schools reopen on the said dates.  Nonetheless, he adds, they will use the available time to fulfil the set requirements.  




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In addition to general preparations, Kazibwe says that they have also summoned teachers to start preparing themselves. “We have put them on alert and we expect them to report as soon as the government announces the reopening,” he said. 

However, some of the schools have decided to wait for the government announcement. A teacher at Emma High School in Kyebando said they will stay put until a formal government pronouncement on reopening of schools is made.

Government schools are  yet to embark on preparations for reopening citing the unavailability of funds to put in place some of the necessary requirements. Richard Abura, the Deputy Headteacher Nakasero primary school, says that although the proposed time for reopening schools is drawing closer there is nothing they can do because of budget constraints. 

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Last week, Education Minister, Janet Kataha Museveni wrote to her finance counterpart requesting him to release school capitation grants. The Finance Ministry had stopped releasing the funds to all educational institutions during the lockdown.   

The Federation of Non-State Education Institutions has tasked government to expedite the promised stimulus package so that it helps them prepare for reopening to avoid shifting the financial burden to parents. Patrick Kaboyo, the FENEI National Secretary he also wants the government to pronounce itself on the proposed reopening to avoid last-minute confusion. 

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Last month, the Ministry of Education issued tentative Standard Operating Procedures-SOPs for educational institutions. However, there are unconfirmed reports indicating that the ministry is preparing fresh SOPs taking into account the available facilities.

For example, the tentative SOPs had suggested that each class should comprise between 10 to 15 learners, which some educationists said wasn’t feasible given the available infrastructure and the number of teachers.