Schools to reopen in next two weeks – Daily Monitor

Students of Kakungulu Memorial Secondary School in Kibuli with their luggage after President Museveni directed all schools to close in March following the outbreak of Covid-19. PHOTO/FILE
Government yesterday proposed to reopen schools in two weeks time, with the lower primary of P1 to P3 as well as Senior One and Senior Two students given priority.
According to sources that attended yesterday’s two virtual meetings intended to come up with plans on the reopening of learning institutions, education experts indicated that the lower classes had not had in-person attendance since the first lockdown in March last year.
Also to be prioritised are the candidate classes of Primary Seven, Senior Four and Six.
“We should prioritise classes of learners that have had the least amount of time for in-person attendance of learning at school. These include the current pre-schools learners, P1 to P3 and S1 and S2 students,” our sources quoted Dr Kedrace Turyagyenda, the director of education standards in the Education ministry.
The Ministry of Education and Sports officials first met with the district and municipal education officers and school inspectors in the morning before virtually meeting the leadership of teachers and head teachers’ associations and proprietors of private schools in the afternoon.
Dr Turyagyenda was further quoted to have defended the government’s plan to give priority to the lower primary on grounds that when schools reopened after the first lockdown, learners in upper primary reported back,  sat for exams and were promoted to the next class.
The same explanation applies to Senior One and Senior Two students who were sent back home in March 2020 and in June 2021, hardly two months after resumption of their studies.
Government in June closed schools for the second time in a year to stop the spread of Covid-19.
Dr Turyagyenda was further quoted to have said government plans to admit all learners that have attained six years of age to Primary One, irrespective of whether they went through nursery.
In May last year, Education minister Janet Museveni suspended nursery/kindergarten learning due to the pandemic. Ms Museveni reasoned that children would now start Primary One upon clocking five years as opposed to six.
Since the closure of institutions of learning, first In March last year and  in June 2021, Nursery pupils have never stepped foot in class.
The same applies to Primary One to Primary Three who were scheduled to resume studies in June.
In the same boat are Senior One and Senior Two students whom the new curriculum started with and have hardly studied for two months.
Also peculiar with yesterday’s meetings, according to our sources, was that the Education ministry plans to ban boarding sections for pre-primary and lower primary on account that they are difficult to manage.
“Government said all learners in pre-primary and lower primary classes should study from schools close to home as there shall be no boarding for these categories when schools reopen,” sources said.
Daily Monitor  understands that government has stressed that when schools reopen, the priotised classes will undergo 14 weeks of accelerated essential curriculum coverage for progression to the next class.
This means that learners will study for three months and will be promoted to the next classes.
It was not clear by press time when the incoming Senior One and Senior Five students, whose results were released recently, would report to school, given that the official selection exercise has not yet taken place.
While releasing the Senior Six results recently, Ms Museveni said the selection for Senior One, Five and First year students at institutions of higher learning, would be conducted between September and October.
Yesterday’s meetings did not present the proposed calendar for the reopening of schools with specific dates.
Dr Turyagyenda, however, said the 2021/2022 academic year should be completed between August 2021 and June 2022, hence all promotional exams including the Uganda National Examinations should be conducted by June 2022.
Health authorities also vowed to hold heads of schools accountable should they fail to report Covid-19 cases.
Ms Irene Mwenyongo, who is said to have made a presentation on behalf of the Ministry of Health, said the government will implement the M-trac digital disease surveillance system.
This system will ensure that heads of schools report all the students who present signs of the virus on a daily basis. 
For students in universities and other tertiary Institutions, the government would prioritise reopening for finalists.
Govt to review curriculum
The ministry will review the existing curriculum by extracting content that is core and can be delivered through the shortened schools calendar. In regard to this, teachers will be re-oriented to be able to deliver an abridged curriculum, implement continuous assessment and remedial learning.
The First Lady laid down her academic qualifications as well as spiritual convictions saying she is the right person to better the education system
At least Shs24.1b has been earmarked for recruitment of additional teachers in local government schools which are short-staffed

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