KAMPALA- Following the government’s greenlight to resume studies after a half-year Covid induced break has opened a can of queries from various stakeholders on how learning in the ‘new normal’ era will be managed.
Uganda’s Education Minister who doubles as the First Lady, Janet Museveni has responded to some of the questions.
BELOW ARE THE QUESTIONS AND RESPONSES
Question: Denis Natukunda: With opening up of Candidate Classes ie P7, S4 and S6, what consideration has Ministry of Education put in place to address the gaps in syllabus coverage caused by COVID_19 since Late March to date. There will be no much benefits to Candidate’s due to the lost Education Calender in the Pandemic. Parents should think twice.
Reply: This is 2nd term to cover work for that period. The third term will be January to April and the syllabus will be covered.
Question: Doreen Nakayiza: Ministry of education think about our children you are putting into your mess. Going for exams when In fact they are half baked. Syllabuses not finished, what’s the pressure for?? Can’t it be cancelled to a dead year country wide??
Reply: We considered declaring a dead year but realized, even next year COVID-19 may still be here, therefore, we decided to at least let the candidate classes go back late but prepare to finish. I request that you partner with us.
Question: Emmanuel S Mukasa Omuzzukulu: Diffinitely many won’t be able to re-open,gov’t will grant them loans,some will fail to pay back,and proprietors will lose their assests. Govt will confiscate the schools.
Reply: I am Sorry, the Government did not create COVID-19 so let us all try to do what we can. The government is only trying to save the situation.
Question: Andrew Akatuhurira: I’m personally disappointed with the first lady and ministry of education officials, why the rush,, already alot of time is wasted!! What will happen to other classes if candidates resume? Actually most teachers have resorted to other things than teaching.
Reply: I am sorry you are disappointed with me, just remember, like you, I have no power to control COVID-19 and this is what we can do at this moment.
Question: Kinene Edwin Douglas: Now what were they hiding why were they downing the year plan , and now parents have to look for lots of money on short notice to take their children back to school because of poor planning and poor leadership of this country.
Reply: We were hiding nothing, we were hoping the COVID-19 Pandemic would clear and schools would open, instead it is getting worse, that is why we thought of trying with a small group first.
Question: Ocaya Innocent: Stress continues but it will be a dead year bcoz we are doing exams for this year next year but they should leave studies aside and first finish politics then studies next year bcoz we are tired of stress an no school has started making arrangements bcoz they are confused as everyday they are getting new confusing stories so I can now say they are more confused than students.
Reply: The year has been stressful admittedly, but this is the time both for politics and school. Let us agree to do it the best way we know how.
Question: Akugizibwe Irriplacible Mathius-Rutaaba Tha-Boss: Me am confused now. Then what happens to a senior one and five groups who had not covered even a what is History.Are they going to senior two and senior six respectively??? Or they are going to wait for the now primary seven and four candidates to sit their papers and join them so they can now start together. The ministry must therefore come out with a substantial dossia.
Reply: We are continuing with learning at home for S.1 to S.5 when S.6 moves on then S.5 will move to S.6 and when S.4 moves away S.1 and others all move on automatically.
Question: Lawrence Tamale: Well to avert the confusion we would have had S.4, S.5 and 6 till mid-November. Schools would ensure all the study material they need is given to them within that time for personal revision when they break off for holidays. In mid-November we would have S.1, 2 and 3 till mid-December and take them through the same. Immediately after candidates finish national examinations, these would also sit for promotional in February. Uneb marking can expedited so that by April, S.1 and 5 can start. I think this could solve the problem.
Reply: Thank you for your constructive ideas but since we are already set, let us have some confidence in this plan. With all of us giving it all our support it will work.
Question: Muwanguzi Edgar: Opening schools has no problem.But financially both parents and some schools are highly strained.1: what if the parent of that candidate is a bar attendant or operates a bar. Where will that parent take care of the child.2: No explanation on the grant. All in all let us be on the moveI pray that everything comes to normal.
Reply: Thank you for a positive attitude, knowing that there is no one to blame for the mess that came because of COVID-19. Let us just agree to unite around this problem with God’s help we will overcome.
Question: Ampumuza Innocent: But why should schools open?Some parents own bars, gyms and other businesses that are still unopen, so with this poverty where do the government expect the parents to get the school fees?
Reply: Schools are opening because there are many who want schools to open, please do understand that Government did not close these businesses in bad faith, it was to save the lives of many. And yes many lack money but they have life.
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