The ministry of education has tabled seven strategies as proposals for the safe reopening of schools during a virtual meeting that attracted several stakeholders.
The stakeholders that included school proprietors, education umbrella organizations, and international school representatives all agreed on the strategies that were presented.
Among the proposals is the strengthening of the COVID-19 surveillance system in schools.
Under this, the ministry wants the heads of institutions of learning to be accountable for the implementation of all SOPs in the schools and Covid-19 related management.
Still, under this proposal, the ministry wants the communication and data compilation about Covid-19 to be key factors among schools on top of the ministry of education and health-giving support in terms of health workers.
Reviewing of the school curriculum is another proposal. The ministry said that the current curriculum will be reviewed in order to extract the core competencies and the rest of the topics be used as examples due to the short time the learners will be having in school.
Presenting the proposals to the meeting, Dr. Kedrace Turyagyenda, the Director of Education Standards Ministry of Education, explained that teachers will need to be re-oriented in order to be able to deliver the bridged curriculum.
Strengthening the continuity of learning was also among the proposals, whereby the ministry said that other interventions like self-study materials and online should also be emphasized.
Here the ministry indicated that they want to ensure that all learners have equal opportunity when it comes to learning, looking out for the applicable measures for every given category and level of learners.
The ministry also suggested that for safe reopening to happen, learners who had very little time in school due to the lockdown should be prioritized and these include primary one, two, three, and then senior one on grounds that they had a new curriculum and senior two.
On managing the number in line with the SOPs, the ministry suggested that schools put up temporary structures or take on double shifts especially in areas where the population is high.
However, on this proposal, the general secretary Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU), Filbert Baguma, says this measure could still be difficult to apply for the schools that are highly populated in case the SOPs are not revised.
‘’We agree with the strategies and only need to harmonize on some of them especially for the schools with big numbers of learners,” Baguma says.
Turyagyenda also says the ministry is considering adopting the school calendar into the phased reopening to ensure that by June 2022 the academic year 2020 is closed.
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The other two proposals from the ministry are vaccination of all the teachers, support staff and students above 18 years.
Also, the ministry plans to broaden its stakeholders by including other ministries on the team among them are the ministries of ICT, Local government, office of the presidency that houses the RDCs who they say are part of the team already.
Mike Kironde, the proprietor of Janan Schools represented the Proprietors of Private Educational Institutions Association in Uganda- PPEIAU and agreed with the strategies.
He, however, noted that the District Education Officers should be empowered in supporting the surveillance strategy.
Meanwhile both the director basic and secondary education ministry of education Ismael Mulindwa and the Dr.Turyagyenda emphasized that the discussed strategies are still proposals that are to be subjected for review by the national task force and then submitted to the cabinet for review and then approval for reopening.
They advised schools to start preparing especially with vaccination in order to avoid to be wanting when finally the schools are given a green light to reop