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Parents Welcome Proposed 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.
Courtsey photo of children on a gabbage disposal picking plastics

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Parents are excited at the news that the government is considering reopening schools in the near future. Initial reports indicated that schools would reopen within two weeks. 

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.  According to Unesco, the education of nearly 1.6 billion pupils in 190 countries has so far been affected – that’s 90 per cent of the world’s school-age children.

President Yoweri Museveni had earlier stated that schools would remain closed until children aged above 12 are vaccinated.  The challenge though is that children can only be vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, yet Ugandan has only accessed Astrazeneca and Sinovac vaccines since the start of the vaccination drive late last year. 

But parents are concerned that with educational institutions closed, children are continually exposed to indecency and other unacceptable practices from within the community, and to many, they will remain a lost generation. Simon Peter Lyazi, a father of four, welcomes the idea of reopening schools saying that this will probably save the children from ‘vultures’ within the community, where children are spending more time with no focus, no guidance and no control.

//Cue in; ’’Twagala government…

Cue out…embeera  ebade mbi.’’//

While, Fatia Nalugo, a vendor in Kamwokya market says the government should first ensure that all the teachers and learners in the higher institutions of learning are vaccinated before reopening schools and other institutions of learning, Esther Kyambadde, a resident of Makerere Kivulu says that the reopening of schools is long overdue.

However, Kyambadde observes a need for negotiations between parents and schools about an appropriate mode of payment for the benefit of parents whose lives were distorted by lockdowns. 

//Cue in; ’’Abaana batude waka…

Cue out…abasomesa nabazzadde.’’//

Veronica Nakalema, a resident of Mulago says that the longer the schools remain closed, the harder it will be for parents to convince them to return because a number of them are now earning from small businesses which could hoodwink them into believing that they are ready for the world of work as opposed to staying in school. 

//Cue in; ’’Ekya government…

Cue in…mukusasula ekitundu.’’//

Martin Serubogo, a parent found in Kisenyi says that although news about the reopening of schools is exciting, it should not be abrupt.

//Cue in; ’’Egenda gwirabagwire…

Cue out…basooke betereze.’’//

A virtual meeting organized on Monday by the Ministry of Education to discuss the proposals by the education ministry for the safe reopening of schools resolved that  the academic year 2021 needs to be closed by June 2022.       

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