KAMPALA, UGANDA: After a series of meetings for months, the Government of Uganda has finally resolved to have schools fully reopened by January 2022 for all learners across the country.
The date to reopen schools was reached during Thursday’s cabinet meeting where pre-condition factors were set before the President announces the date publicly in his planned address due towards the end of this month. These factors among others include the rate of vaccination of teachers, non-teaching staff in educational institutions
According to the Saturday Vision paper, sources in Government familiar with the state’s position on schools reopening have revealed that both primary and secondary schools will fully reopen in January 2022.
The source privy to the meeting further revealed that only vaccinated lecturers, students, and support staff will be allowed to report back when institutions reopen. These will be required to present their Covid-19 Vaccination cards on entry.
The government-owned publication also reported that the reopening of schools will be in phases with universities and other tertiary institutions set to reopen first on Saturday, November 20, 2021.
The Education Ministry has also been tasked to come up with guidelines on how both vaccinated and unvaccinated staff and students will be treated when schools reopen as planned.
The government first closed schools during a lockdown in March 2020, days before Uganda registered its index Covid-19 case, and again during a second lockdown on June 18, this year, imposed to break a devastating pandemic second wave.
Sources also confirmed that the government has also completed the first phase of condensing the curriculum for both primary and secondary education, which will be used by teachers when schools reopen next year in January.
Reports indicate that learners will be assessed and promoted automatically to the next class when schools reopen and that they will be given remedial lessons in two weeks to cover what they missed in their previous classes.
No UNEB Exams this year
The decision to reopen schools next year means that for the first time in many years, the country may not have candidates writing the national examinations administered by the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) in 2021, should the cabinet’s position on schools reopening stand.
Before Covid19 disrupted the academic calendar, UNEB had always conducted national exams – Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE), Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE), and Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) from October to December of every year.
Subsequently, the would-be 2021 examinations will be rescheduled, and that the education ministry will redesign mechanisms under which semi-candidates will be prepared for exams.
The semi-candidate classes include Primary Six, Senior Three, and Five.
“The semi-candidates hardly completed their syllabus and also, they have not touched the candidate classwork. That means they are not ready. I cannot say that candidates will sit for exams in 2022, that will be determined by the ministry later,” a source said.