Education Minister Defends Continued Closure Of Learning Institutions

First Lady Ms Janet Museveni who also doubles as the minister of education and sports has defended the continued closure of learning institutions in the country.

In a twitter page statement, Ms Janet Museveni said that the government intends to safeguard the health of youngsters who are Uganda’s future and asked parents to be patient as the government ramps up vaccination of the vulnerable groups and students aged 18 and above.

“The only reason the government has chosen to let schools remain closed could be simply to ensure that the lives of children remain safe from the danger that the Covid-19 pandemic brings to human life or to a family.’’ statement reads.

Schools were first closed during the first lockdown which was imposed in March 2020, two days before Uganda registered its index COVID-19 case.
On June 18, 2021, president imposed a second lockdown where again all learning institutions were closed until now amid concealed infections among students and widespread fatalities in communities.

Elsewhere, Uganda National Teachers Union (Unatu) said an unknown number of teachers, out of jobs for a year-and-a-half, has ventured into other more profitable enterprises, including brick-making and businesses, and are unlikely to return to class.

Proprietors of private schools, some weighed down by bank loans, have sold their buildings or converted them to shops and accommodation while produce dealers are stuck with stockpiles they planned to supply to educational institutions.

The government has officially only permitted medical schools, whose students constitute a labour force for hospitals, to reopen.
The national umbrella body for private schools questioned the unique circumstance that in government’s view stops Uganda from reopening schools when all regional neighbours have done so.

“Let government just give the Ministry of Education a chance to go ahead and reopen schools using the strategies they have come up with for safe reopening of schools rather than pegging reopening on vaccinations,” said Mr Hasadu Kirabira, the chairperson of the National Private Educational Institutions Association (NPEIA).

Schools in Burundi reopen on Monday September 13, after a three-month long holiday, amid a surge in Covid-19 cases countrywide following the mandatory Covid-19 screening for students.

Learning institutions in Rwanda also reopened last month for the third term after the government lifted the 15-day lockdown on the capital Kigali and eight other districts as Uganda still in predictions.

Ms Museveni recently proclaimed that students as young as 12 years should be vaccinated, yet experts warned that it would be unfeasible and wasteful since children rarely get severely ill when they catch Covid-19.

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