Government should tell country about fate of schools now

Thursday July 23 2020

Back home. Students at the Old Taxi Park in

Back home. Students at the Old Taxi Park in Kampala after schools closed on March 19, 2020.  

By EDITOR

The President’s national address on Covid-19 on Tuesday night breathed some fresh life into arcade owners, traders, salons and boda bodas, who had hitherto suffocated from the closure of their businesses.

They were finally allowed to resume business after four agonising months of economic distress and deprived livelihood.

It was unlike some of the previous addresses where the talking points appeared to reiterate mainly what he had relayed in the previous occasions. The address raised more hope for further relaxing of the Covid-19 measures and eventual full reopening of the economy.

The relieved public took to social media to post numerous messages welcoming the new announcements by the President despite the with a series of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

However, teachers, parents, owners and learners of private education institutions remained in the shadows and their distress does not appear to be ending soon.

The President said they will remain closed until around September when government will announce whether to reopen schools or declare 2020 a dead year.
September is too far.

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Government should announce its position urgently to relieve parents, schools and students of wasteful expenditure and save students the futile e-learning. By now, the government should have already known whether this is a dead year or not.

Probably that’s why government has developed content for online learning and pledged radios and TVs for families at Shs300b to facilitate home-learning.

Otherwise, if there was chance of reopening schools this year, why would government be wasting Shs300b on radios and TVs for home learning? Parents are paying for their children for e-learning at home.

It is pointless for parents to continue spending on e-learning for content that will be re-taught next year if 2020 is declared a dead year. Parents are paying for e-learning in anticipation that it will help their children join the next class next year.

If this is not to happen, the current spending on e-learning amounts to wasteful expenditure. The learners’ continued study at home too would be wasted time and effort.

Government asked private schools not to lay off teachers and the owners retained the staff on payroll hoping to reopen soon.

Since March, the schools have been accumulating salary arrears, which the owners will pay later for no teaching done. Announcing a dead year helps owners of private schools to cut short the accumulation of arrears, terminate the payroll and wait for next year.

Parents and private schools need to know the fate of their children/learners as soon as possible to manage their burden.

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