Education discusses strategy on school reopening

Wednesday May 20 2020

Children pack their bags as they return to

Children pack their bags as they return to school at the New Taxi Park in Kampala. Ms Jennifer Kasule, the Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) spokesperson, said they would adjust their examination timetable when schools resume to accommodate the lost time. FILE PHOTO 

By PATIENCE AHIMBISIBWE

The Ministry of Education was yesterday locked in a meeting to decide how schools will partially reopen two weeks from today after President Museveni allowed candidates to report.

It is unclear how candidates in districts at the country’s borders will operate since the President declined to lift the ban on public transport.

Mr Alex Kakooza, the Ministry of Education permanent secretary, yesterday said they were still discussing the issue.

In an earlier interview, the ministry’s commissioner in charge of Business, Technical and Vocational Education Training, Ms Safinah Museene, said the May/June examinations for Uganda Nurses and Midwifery Examinations Board, Uganda Allied Health Examinations Board and Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board students had been indefinitely postponed due to the abrupt closure of the education institutions.

“The exams were postponed and exam bodies will only assess their students after establishing how much time was lost when government finally opens schools. Our online systems have not yet developed and the way the curriculum was designed, cannot allow home study. Covid-19 is now opening our eyes to see how we can innovate and improve teaching using online materials,” Ms Museene said.

Ms Jennifer Kasule, the Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) spokesperson, said they would adjust their examination timetable when schools resume to accommodate the lost time.

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However, Ms Kalule said registration of candidates, which informs their annual activities, had been affected.

“We need to know how many candidates there are and which subjects they are doing for us to prepare. We were supposed to have started (registration) on April 1. We had to put this on hold until schools resume. It cannot take place when the candidates are not at school,” Ms Kalule said.

“Examiners were still applying and their training had not taken place because even the selection was not done. We have to reschedule that. These are the examiners who were supposed to participate in setting of the exams. The dates for the examinations will have to be adjusted depending on how much time has been lost,” she added.

At the time of the lockdown, Ms Kalule said the board had not printed last year’s candidates’ certificates yet institutions of higher learning require that applicants submit the documents as proof that they sat and passed the examinations before admission to university.

“The certificates for the fresh entrants to universities were not yet ready. We are in discussions with the universities so that they can use testimonials from their former schools. We hope we shall be able to print them in time,” she said.

By this time, Uneb would have completed registering Primary Seven, Senior Four and Senior Six candidates ahead of their end of cycle examinations in October.

More than 15 million learners were sent home in March as one of the measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease.

A source at the ministry who preferred anonymity, said institutions which are congested will not be allowed to open until they implement the health measures.

pahimbisibwe@ug.nationmedia.com

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