The ministry of education has finally decided to open schools After several sittings, the board has finally agreed to open as anticipated a dead year is far from possible.
In a letter to the ministry of Finance by the education minister Janet Kataha Museveni, the minister wrote seeking the release of capitation grants to schools. The minister specified that the focus is to be put on candidate classes and the 20th of September has been set as the opening date with examinations scheduled for March 2021.
In a bid to implement the phased re-opening of schools, Boom Gossip understands the education ministry has decided to revise the Academic year schedule in that students will open the supposed second term of the 2019 2020 academic year.
President Museveni was forced to cut short the academic year on March 18th, 2020 after the outbreak of the COVID 19. He was responding to a directive by the World Health Organization to curb the spread of the contagious disease.
In May this year, the government had proposed to reopen the schools for candidate classes but this later could not push through as a lot of planning had not been done.
In a normal academic year schedule, students would right now be reporting to school for the third term. “Looking at the timeline it was nearly impossible for students to completely cover the syllabus and write their exams this year. It has been agreed upon that as students go back, the clock should be rewound to the second term,” according to Minister Janet Museveni’s letter.
“It will be done in phases. Two or three weeks after candidates have reported, the ministry will assess the situation and if everything is fine, a second lot will be added, another one will also follow up. In the end, all students will be at school,” it added. The students would in fact be preparing for exams that would be schedule for October. However this is now impossible since the students have missed the entire second term and part of first term.
Second term is intended to end mid-December with the third term beginning early February and final exams are meant to be done around March or April.
And with time the academic year is expected to slowly get back to normal. Different co-curricular activities will be suspended to create more time to study. Classes will run between 8.00AM and 1.30PM to allow schools with huge number of candidates to teach in shifts.
“When schools reopen, the co-curricular activities will be temporarily suspended so that teachers concentrate on reintegrating learners into the school system, carry out remedial work and ensure that the syllabus is covered. There will be no examinations at the end of the second term,” the source said.
Different standards of operation have been put into place to avoid COVID 19 outbreak in schools. There will be regular disinfection of schools premises, restricted community access, supervising break periods, and scattered release of students for breaks, lunch, and departures to limit interaction students will be required to put a two-meter distance between each other, with at least ten to fifteen students per classroom. This is meant to ensure good ventilation.
Several school heads have however expressed concern on the implementation of these SOPS as they cite limited resources as their major concern. Richard Abura, head teacher Nakasero primary school notes that with the resources at their disposal, it will be difficult to take on the entire school community.
A total budget of sh1.67 billion is required by the ministry to facilitate the reopening for candidates. This amount alone is intended to help implement the Standard Operating Procedures as schools prepare to open.
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