Uganda’s Education Ministry says asking parents for face masks is illegal

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First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Janet Museveni

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Ministry of Education and Sports has warned institutions to desist from pestering parents to provide facial masks for finalists.

This comes following several reports that schools are asking parents to provide as many as five facial masks and shields for their children ahead of the scheduled re-opening slated for Thursday October 15th.

Dr. Tony Mukasa Lusambu, the assistant commissioner of basic education at the Education Ministry says schools have no business forcing parents to provide masks for their children. He says government promised to provide masks to each and every learner. 

“It is illegal. They should not ask for masks because government is in final stages of delivering masks to all schools in the country,” he said.

According to a circular dated October 13th, 2020 issued by the Education Ministry Permanent Secretary, Alex Kakooza, the Health Ministry has already procured all the required masks and they are ready for collection.

Kakooza says the masks would be collected by vice-chancellors of different universities, heads of tertiary institutions and local government accounting officers from designated points.

“The purpose of this communication, therefore, is to inform and to request you to come and pick your respective consignments from the Ministry of Health head quarters. You are advised to get clearance from the director basic and secondary education,” the circular reads in part.

A source from the Education Ministry says that the number of face masks to be given will be informed by the number of finalists recorded in every district during the school re-opening inspection. Before the masks are handed over, recipients will be expected to produce a form signed by the director of Basic Education, Ismail Mulindwa. 

Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Health Ministry spokesperson told this publication that over two million masks are ready for distribution.

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“We have finished procuring all the masks and all heads of schools are expected to come to the ministry and pick them starting today. As was directed by the president, each leaner will be given two masks,” he said.

A total of 1.2 million finalists are expected to resume studying today. The health ministry is said to have spent shillings 5.7 billion on the procurement of their masks.