Uganda’s Museveni demands school reopening date by next week

Uganda's Museveni blames MPs for delays of COVID-19 vaccine procurement
President Yoweri Museveni

Kampala, Uganda | URN | President Yoweri Museveni has directed the Prime Minister to lead the team from the Ministry of Education, Health and the National Task Force to come up with dates and revised safe proposals for the reopening of learning institutions.

The directive follows a meeting that happened on Tuesday 7, September 2021 between President Museveni, ministries of education and health, and the COVID-19 national Task Force on the safe reopening of schools.

The meeting was intended to discuss the proposals of the safe reopening of learning institutions that were designed by the ministries of education and health with other key players in the education sector and their proposed reopening date of October 2021.

The presented proposals included the safe reopening of schools in a phased and staggered manner, COVID-19 vaccination for the population that interact with the children in schools, shortening of holidays and extension of school days to include Saturday, vaccinating teachers, prioritizing learners who had less time in school, strengthening the continuity of learning, reviewing the school curriculum to concentrate on core competences (like the literacy, numerous and English) and strengthening the COVID-19 surveillance system in schools.

According to the spokesperson for ministry of education Dr. Dennis Mugimba, the president was impressed by the proposals as they were presented, especially the issue of phased reopening and in a staggered manner.

As a way forward according to Dr. Mugimba, the president directed that the prime minister leads the team that is responsible for the safe reopening including the ministry of education, health and the COVID-19 national task force to further discuss some key issues and come up with final modalities and the dates of reopening that will later be presented to the president for approval.

Mugimba notes that the prime minister is expected to convene a meeting next week to discuss the issues that were highlighted by the president and then come up with the dates of reopening after ensuring that the proposals in place safe guard the learners, teachers, non-teaching staff and also the people at home especially the elderly.

Dr. Mugimba says that President Museveni was mostly concerned on the issue of vaccinating the elderly group of people above the age of 50 years besides the teachers, support staff and the learners above 18 years, saying that if learners are to report back to school especially the day scholars, they may pose a big threat of infecting their elders at home.

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Reports indicate that the vaccination exercise that is targeting the essential and vulnerable groups of people has seen 209,000 (38%) teachers vaccinated out of the targeted 550,000, then 401,000 (12%) elderly persons vaccinated out of the targeted 3.3 million.

Dr. Mugimba says although the education ministry leaves its target at 550,000 teachers, they are aware of the teachers who are abandoning the profession for other ventures.

He says the ministry is considering carrying out a census of teachers after the reopening.

He also notes that the ministry had come up with a tentative date for holding the selections and this was suggested to be in September 2021, however, following the same meeting they had with the president, they had to hold the process for new dates.

Mugimba explains that the selection dates for the senior one and five will also be communicated immediately, the final school calendar is announced next week.