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Makerere University suspends full re-opening of campus for all learners

KAMPALA, UGANDA: Makerere University has called off plans to reopen its campus for first year students this weekend following a directive from President Museveni through the National Council for Higher Education to suspend the full reopening of institutions for yet another three months.

Professor Mary Okwakol, the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) Executive Director confirmed the President’s directive in a letter dated January 27, 2021.

“The NHCE is in receipt of a communication from the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Janet Museveni informing us that based on advice from the Presidential Scientific Advisory Committee, the President has guided that all Higher Education Institutions should continue studying online using the ODeL system for at least another three months. This is so as to enable government find a lasting solution,” she said.

Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe soon after confirmed  that the ‘Freshers Orientation’ week that was set to start on Saturday January 30 to February 5, will go ahead, but online only.

The university recently released their new academic timetable that included a full re-opening for non-finalists, and return to normalcy. It included plans for their 71st graduation week, March 16th to March 19th.

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“I salute you and congratulate you on keeping yourselves safe from COVID-19. Please observe all the SOPs and remain alive, Uganda needs you alive. Following the Government directive, we’re making arrangements to receive finalists as planned on 6th Feb, 2021,” said Nawangwe in a statement.

He added that, “the rest of the students will continue studying online. Freshers will register and receive non-residential orientation beginning Monday 1st February. Please stay tuned for further instructions.”

First Year students (Freshers) are by tradition given an “acclimatization” period of a week which is referred to as the “Orientation Week”. The Freshers used to report on Campus one week earlier than the Continuing students and are introduced to the key facilities in the University as well as other important aspects of life at the University.

It will for the first time in history, be online, starting February 1.

After the online orientation programme, first year students will undertake an Open Distance and e-Learning education model (ODeL/Blended Learning) from their homes.

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