Education Ministry seeks more time to develop guidelines for reopening schools

State Minister for Primary Education Rosemary Sseninde
State Minister for Primary Education Rosemary Sseninde says the ministry has not set a date for re-opening of schools.

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Ministry of Education and Sports has asked Parliament for more time to develop and present guidelines that will be followed ahead of the reopening of schools next week.

Rosemary Sseninde, the State Minister for Primary Education told parliament on Tuesday that her Ministry had not set a date for schools to reopen. She added that following the Cabinet meeting on Monday 25th, a select committee was set up to look into the matter.

While addressing the nation last week, President Yoweri Museveni said that education institutions will open on June 4 to only finalists in primary seven, senior four, senior six and those in their final years in Universities and Tertiary Institutions.

He said that the Ministry of Education will be expected to come out with guidelines about their operations during the time. The guidance according to Museveni is to also cover schools in border districts where public transport will remain closed even after June 4.

Following his directive, Parliament last week directed the Minister of Education to urgently present guidelines to be followed as parents and schools prepare for the reopening program.

However, a section of MPs demanded that the government halts the school re-opening program until clear procedures are laid out on how learners will be protected from COVID-19 in schools.

Workers’ MP Margaret Rwabushaija questioned how schools especially in the border districts were going to accommodate teachers and students to avoid unnecessary movements to and from school.

Henry Kibalya, the Bugabula South MP and Busia Municipality MP Geoffrey Macho said that some schools in their areas are still used as quarantine centers.

Kibalya also wondered how boarding schools will maintain physical distancing in dormitories.

Aruu South MP Odonga Otto questioned whether the country was ready to reopen schools without a comprehensive debate on the matter.

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga recounted her previous directive for the Education Ministry to present a statement on the matter immediately.

Sseninde then told MPs that they need more time to develop guidelines.

Kadaga said that the issue was of great importance and needed urgent attention and information. Sseninde pledged to present a statement to Parliament on Tuesday next week.