Govt accepts to first open universities before primary and secondary schools

Ugandan Cabinet ministers on Monday, June 15, 2020, met to determine the reopening of schools and higher institutions of learning closed after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the meeting, ministers agreed to reopen educational institutions of higher learning, tertiary institutions and Universities first.

Minister of state and also Bamunanika county MP, Dr. John Chrysostom Muyingo said that the cabinet resolved the reopening of schools, and tertiary institutions, and universities in phases as they assess the situation in the country.

“Tertiary institutions will be reopened first, and over 100 tertiary institutions and universities will be soon opened, says Dr Muyingo.”

Ministers argued that tertiary institutions and universities are easier to manage without breaching Covid-19 preventive measures.

Including; physical distancing requirements because they have fewer student numbers compared to Primary and Secondary schools.

Washing hands regularly and having masks since all scholars are in adult age.

Dr Muyingo further told Whisper Eye News, that post-secondary school academic institutions also have more ample accommodation facilities than primary and secondary schools making it more safe to observe physical distancing requirements.

According to minister Dr JC Muyingo, before reopening of any institution of learning they will have to look at the situation where all activities strictly observe preventive Covid 19 guidelines.

He explained that the original proposal to reopen candidate classes only was suspended because it is not workable and would affect the entire schools promotions system.

“For instance, what happens to children in S1 who remain unpromoted having had a dead year yet those of P7 went on to sit their examinations and were ready to enroll for Senior one?The same applies to S4s and even S6,” Dr JC Muyingo stated.

The cabinet also agreed that exploring distance learning is the only option available.

Through purchase of Shs 10m radio sets and 137,466 solar-enabled TV sets (for the 68,000 villages) can be relied upon to enable the audio and visual learning of the children and students involved in primary and secondary schools.

It was agreed further that each household will be given a radio set free of charge purchased by GoU that requires about Ugx 380bn for the 10M radios, the TV sets will be fewer with each of the 68,000 villages.

The Cabinet asked Mr Matia Kasaija of Finance to look for funds in the 2020/21 budget for buying radios and TV sets for the 15 million learners.

While the planned distribution of free radios and TV sets was never intended to assist virtual political campaigns but ease access to distance learning and teaching across Uganda, sources in Cabinet talked of “killing two birds with one stone”.

Now with the revised road map of 2020-2021 general elections, the radios and TV sets will be helpful to voters after the ban on political rallies.