‘Only schools that score highly in inspection will reopen for non-candidates’ – Authorities

Only schools that will score highly in school inspection will be allowed to reopen for non-candidates, authorities have revealed.

According to the Directorate of Education Standards (DES), the schools will be required to score at least 60% of the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

“We already have an inspection scorecard that we developed and used in the first phase of school reopening.

The same scorecard will be deployed again to non-candidates. Meanwhile, we await the health and education ministries to finalise updating the SOPs,” Dr Kedrace Turyagyenda, the director of education standards at the ministry, said.

According to the scorecard, schools that score between 50% and 59%, will be given one week to put in place the critical facilities before they reopen.

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Last year, parents at schools that scored below 50% were advised to transfer the learners to other schools that met the requirements.

“Even if the school has scored 60% and above, and has not scored a full scale of two in each of the indicators under hand-washing hygiene and social distancing, they will not be given permission to open,” the inspection guidelines state.

Turyagyenda said only schools which will have excelled on SOPs will be issued with certificates of compliance.

She noted that it is not automatic that schools which previously were issued certificates of compliance, will be allowed to enrol semi-candidates.

“Before schools re-open to non-candidate classes, they will undergo another inspection. If we find that your school is not fit to handle non-candidates, such cases will not be allowed to reopen,” she said.

Turyagyenda who did not give any dates for re-inspection sessions, however noted that it will be after the education ministry issues updated SOPs.

At the moment, she urged schools to start preparing and procuring more items required for the SOPs.

“We urge schools to buy the already known items, such as the hand-washing equipment, sanitisers, soap and temperature guns, as we wait for what the SOPs,” she said.

What schools say?

Hasadu Kirabira, the in charge of the National Private Education Institutions Association (NPEIA), said they are ready to reopen.

However, he noted that the ministry needs to clarify how students will be assessed before they are promoted to other classes, especially the lower primary and nursery school (kindergarten).

“If we are to promote nursery pupils to Primary One, we will have to teach them content, such as letter sounds, playing, and associating with people, which should have been handled at the lower level,” he said.

“The ministry is suggesting that parents should teach their children, but how many parents have the time to teach. How many parents can read and write. All these questions explain why we need the ministry to clarify on how assessment will be handled before students are promoted.”

It should be noted that the ministry recently said there will be no automatic promotion.

Instead, promotion to the next class will be based on attendance and continuous assessment of class work and assignments.

Much as the Government has embraced the e-learning model and emphasised it at higher institutions of learning, NPEIA says it favours the privileged and those in urban areas.

“E-learning implementation as of now is highly segregative, inequitable and victimises thousands of unprivileged learners across the country from low income families that cannot afford gadgets and tools,” NPEIA stated.

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Schools have to score two in each of the core indicators.

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