The Minister for Education and Sports, Janet Museveni has said reopening of schools will have to wait as the Coronavirus pandemic is still with us.
Giving a brief on the progress of the education sector on mitigating the effects of the virus, Mrs Museveni said after closely monitoring the situation, it was advised that it is not yet wise to reopen education institutions.
“…… we have continued to observe trends within country and listened to lessons from other countries. What we are learning from our local trends of Covid-19 as well as experiences from countries that had closed but later re-opened institutions of learning, is that we need to exercise patience and self-restraint on the matter of normal resumption of institutions of learning,” the Education Minister said on Friday evening.
President Museveni in May said education institutions would open on June 4 for Primary Seven, Senior Four, Senior Six candidates and students in their final years in Universities and other tertiary institutions to prepare well for the end of year examination.
However, he has since backtracked on reopening saying it is not yet safe.
On Friday, the Education Minister insisted that it is not yet safe for all learners, be it candidates to resume studies now.
She explained that whereas over 18 million learners have been affected, reopening schools now would be suicidal considering their nature and that of schools.
“In the pre-primary, primary, and secondary levels of education, there is over-crowding due to high enrollment levels. In addition, the majority of our institutions of learning at all levels of our education system have boarding facilities; of which, most of them are congested. Besides these, the learners in our institutions are not necessarily from the community around the institution. We have learners who have to move across geographical regions of the country to their Institutions of learning. These characteristics are unique to us as a country; and therefore, whatever measures we come up with to keep our Learners safe, we have to do so in light of our context,” she noted.
The minister however noted that government will continue with its response plan focusing on continuity of learning during the closure and ensuring effective teaching and learning upon reopening.
She noted that government will continue facilitating learners to study from their homes through radios and television, adding that government is soon rolling out a program where villages will be provided with radio sets to enable learning but also printed learning material.
“I appeal to parents and guardians that our children need you to support them. The effectiveness of this approach is a shared responsibility for everyone. As parent you must take effort to find out when the lessons are broadcast on tv or radio. If not around, get someone responsible to monitor the children.”