GOVERNMENT TO CHANGE SCHOOLS CALENDAR YEAR DUE TO COVID -19 AS AIRPORT IS SET TO RE-OPEN NEXT MONTH

Uganda’s schools calendar will change following the  global -novel- covid-19 pandemic that has crippled economic activities and the education system for the last five months. 

 Government according to a communication from the Ministry of Education seen by this publication only dated September ,2020 and signed off by the Permanent Secretary  ,(lawyer) Mr. Alex Kakooza, primary , secondary ,technical/farm schools and community polytechnics  are set to be re-opened  on Monday , September 21 for the second term that will end  on December 18th ,2020.  The means the students would have covered 13 weeks of learning .

The 3rd term which normally commences in September will now commence on January 11 to  April 30th , 2021  covering another 13 weeks of continuous learning .  this means the students will be at school when the scientific general elections will be held .   Boarding schools will be allowed to start receiving leaners as early as September 19th, 2020.

PLE exams will now be held from 30-31st March 2021 while  O’level final examinations will be held from march 1st-April 6th 2021  and A’level exams held from April 12 – May 2020.  The memo stated that the new tentative dates don’t include those of private and public universities which are set by the respective  institutions of learning .

Kakooza’s memo ‘ corroborates an earlier letter by  his Minister of Education Janet Kataha Museveni  to Finance Minister Matia Kasaija seeking the release of capitation grants to schools and indicating that the candidate classes are bound to report for the second term on September 20, this year.

President Yoweri Museveni is expected anytime soon to announce the changes and phased re-opening of schools  which will be done in strict adherence to the Ministry of Health set Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

The Ministry of Education will also revise the daily school routines to provide for shorter learning hours and allow schools introduce two shifts for different groups of students to study in morning while others study in the afternoons were possible .

Among the Standard Operating Procedures  developed by the ministry of education include; availability of WASH facilities, the two-meter distance between learners, reducing the number of learners to at least 10 to 15 students in a standard classroom for primary and secondary and tertiary institutions and ensuring good ventilation.    

Other SOPs include; regular disinfection, restricted community access, supervising break periods, and scattered release of students for breaks, lunch, and departures to limit interaction. But, sources also indicate that there are several reviews regarding the SOPs which will also be communicated after the awaited pronouncement.  

The ministry requires 1.67 billion Shillings to facilitate the reopening for candidates and 97.6 billion Shillings in case all classes are to be allowed to re-open.The said funds are to help implement the Standard Operating Procedures in full to prepare schools for reopening.   

In order to have less crowded   classroom the ministry is also considering other options like use of safe temporary shelters, such as tents, and open-air spaces, such as tree shades may be improvised as temporary venues for some classes are also looked at to be used as classrooms.

Airport to re-open

At the same time a communication by the Director Airports and Aviation Security A-hajjEng. Sooma Ayub, a tenative schedule for phased passenger flights to Entebbe airport for the next three months was released to regional and international airlines indicating a possible re-opening of the airport by October 1, 2020.

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