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Schools Reopening: Gov't to Prioritize Learners in P.1, S.1, S.5

Muyingo says that unlike the re-opening of schools after the first lockdown when the emphasis was put on finalists, this time they plan to emphasize first-year classes to enable them to finalize their studies so that they can make room for the new entrants.
Minister of State for Education And Sports incharge of Higher Education, Dr. John Chrysostom Muyingo arrives at parliament for vetting. Photo by Olive Nakatudde

Audio 5

The Minister of State for Higher Education, John Chrysostom Muyingo says that government plans to prioritize learners in P.1, S.1 and S.5 when schools reopen.

Muyingo who was appearing before Parliament’s Committee on Government Assurance on Thursday chaired by the Kalungu West Member of Parliament Joseph Sewungu told MPs that education institutions will be opened on a case by case basis considering schools where standard operating procedures can be observed.

He says that unlike the re-opening of schools after the first lockdown when the emphasis was put on finalists, this time they plan to emphasize learners from the three classes to enable them to finalize their studies and create room for the new entrants.

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While addressing the nation on Wednesday, President Yoweri Museveni directed that post-secondary institutions of learning open with effect from 1st November 2021 on the condition that all teachers and non-teaching staff are vaccinated.  He also noted that the 330,000 students aged 18 years and above in post-secondary institutions should be vaccinated as soon as possible.

The President said that to avoid a similar scenario, the National Task Force on several occasions considered conditions for safe re-opening of schools and that this included vaccination of teachers, non-teaching staff, 330,000 students aged 18 years and above and all the other priority populations.

“To-date, out of the targeted 550,000 teachers, 269,945 have already received the 1st dose of vaccination while 96,653 have received the second dose. This leaves a total of 280,055 not yet vaccinated at all,” Museveni explained.

Muyingo also told MPs that 48.5 billion shillings has been committed by the government to procure home-study materials for learners in primary one to primary four and senior five and senior six who had been left out in the earlier programs.

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Rachel Magoola, the Bugweri Woman MP queried the distribution of study materials to especially the rural areas saying that in her constituency, many children have not benefited from these materials.

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Eddie Kwizera, the Bukimbiri County MP said that the Ministry needs to explain how much money has been saved by the closure of schools. He also demanded a matrix of how the study materials have been distributed in different districts.

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Robert Ssekitoleko, the Bamunanika County MP said that government will need to reconsider the curfew time as schools open to allow learners especially those in day schools carry on their studies without disruptions.

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Muyingo is expected to be invited back to the committee with written responses to these questions and other issues raised by legislators.