According to the Access to Information Act, every citizen has a right of access to information and records in the possession of the State or any public body, except where the release of the information is likely to prejudice the security or sovereignty of the State or interfere with the right to the privacy of any other person.
However as the ministry plans to distribute the materials next month, schools want the ministry to address the gaps that include unfairness in the distribution, delays in delivering the materials, less content and also lack of standard mechanism of monitoring the learners at home.
Pius Oketcho, the headteacher of Mulago School for the deaf says the school received copies of home learning materials for the upper primary classes however, the school cannot give out these textbooks to the learners. He explains that there are no interpreters at home to help the deaf understand the content.
Dr.Dennis Mugimba, the education ministry spokesperson says that the minister of Education and Sports Mrs Janet Museveni has instructed the authorities in the ministry responsible for the process to stop transfers with immediate effect and allow the education service commission to proceed with the verification exercise as soon as schools reopen.
Several educationists and some members of the public have been blaming and calling upon the government to emulate neighbouring countries that have been able to reopen schools for the learners even as the pandemic continues.
New numbers from UNESCO, released this Thursday, show that schools are now fully open in 117 countries, with 539 million students back in class, ranging from pre-primary to secondary levels. Around 117 million students, representing 7.5 per cent of the total, are still affected by complete school closures in 18 countries.
Several primary school head teachers in Kampala are opposed to the staggered way of reopening as proposed by the government for safe reopening that calls for having two learning shifts per day or having alternate days for the learners.
The learners had been scheduled to return to school on June 7, 2021, a day before the government announced a second lockdown. Before this, hospitals had recorded an overwhelming number of patients, and hundreds of them had been reported from schools, sending the lower primary classes further into slumber.
The directive follows a meeting that happened on Tuesday this week between president Museveni, ministries of education and of health and the Covid-19 national task force on the safe reopening of schools.
Ugandan learners have had more than 18 months of a distorted school calendar following closures that started in March 2020 and a staggered re-opening which was cut short in June 2021 after reports that COVID-19 cases had become rampant in schools. President Yoweri Museveni had earlier stated that schools would remain closed until children aged above 12 are vaccinated.