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Schools to Dedicate First Days to Counsel, Re-orient Learners

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Jane Kyakuwa, the headteacher of Kitante Primary school, says some of the learners they have received seemed to have forgotten the names of their teachers. Kyakuwa says in such circumstances, it's important to help the learners adjust to the learning environment.
Learners at Nakasero Primary School being re-orientated back into the learning environement

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School authorities plan to use the first days to reorient and counsel learners following their return to school after a six month’s break because of the nationwide lockdown.

Various school leaders say they have realized learners need counselling and psychosocial support before actual learning can resume. 

Some of the administrators say counselling and re-orientation are important for the learners because some of them could have forgotten the learning environment given the unprecedented long break.

Jane Kyakuwa, the headteacher of Kitante Primary school, says some of the learners they have received seem to have forgotten the names of their class teachers.

Kyakuwa says in such circumstances, it's important to help the learners adjust to the learning environment. 

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Edward Kanoonya, the headteacher Kololo Secondary School, says they plan to spend the entire day talking to learners to inform their minds that they have returned to school before they start academics.    



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David Ssegenddo, the headteacher of Buganda Road Primary School, says they will use the same time to orient learners on the new Standard Operating Procedures-SOPs at school because of the many changes ranging from studying, eating and praying among other aspects.

He says during some of the sessions that will be held stream by stream, they want learners to understand what is COVID-19 is and how it can be prevented.

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Joyce Muhire, a professional counsellor at Makerere College Secondary School, says the lockdown and school closures limited children’s interactions with their peers, constrained access to socialization and play, which are critical for their psychosocial wellbeing and development.  

To Muhire, addressing the psycho-social needs of learners is more critical as it will prepare their minds before they are taken to the academic curriculum. “A lot has been going in the last six months. There is domestic violence, child abuse, and stress among other things. The children are coming back with all this on their minds,” says Muhire.  

In the same development, the department of guide and counseling at the Education Ministry has also dispatched a team of officials to assess the readiness of schools to provide psychosocial support to learners and teachers. 

Peace Busingye, a senior officer in the guidance and counseling department, says although they haven’t developed standard protocols to address this specific issue, they want to ensure that schools have planned for it.   

“We want to know the schools’ plan and how they intend to address the psycho-social needs of their staff and learners. Although some are looking at the children but we think the service should also be extended to teachers as they might have more psycho-social challenges,” said Busingye.   

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