A known businessman in Mityana District has converted his primary and kindergarten schools into a hotel.
Mr Saul Lukodo turned the classrooms at Alliance Modern Nursery and Primary School into accommodation rooms and the main hall was made a conference hall.
The administration block was turned into single self-contained room for rent, one of the classrooms on the storeyed block currently serves as a bar and the swimming pool has since been removed.
“I don’t want to speak to the media now. What you see is what is there,” he said by telephone on Monday before hanging up.
The school, which is located on Thurban Road in Central Division, Mityana Municipality had an enrolment of 1,000 pupils.
Schools are among some institutions and businesses that are still closed after government partially lifted the lockdown three months ago. Kindergartens have remained closed since March 18, 2020, when President Museveni imposed the first lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19.
A waitress at the hotel, who preferred anonymity, said the hotel business started three weeks ago with five workers.
“We are already offering some services, including accommodation, restaurant, and conferences although we have not yet officially opened,” the waitress said
Mr James Muwanga Kironde, the school inspector in Mityana Municipality, said the prolonged closure of schools is likely to push many private school proprietors out of business.
Mityana Municipality has a total of 153 private primary schools, 39 secondary schools and nine tertiary institutions.
“When schools were partially reopened early this year, some proprietors went for more loans, but to their dismay, government again announced another lockdown in June before making any money to pay back the loans. Don’t expect such people to continue doing a business where they are making losses,” he said.
“We wouldn’t wish to lose any of the schools we granted a registration certificate or licence to operate. Some schools have been offering bursaries to needy learners and if they close or switch business, the future of those children will be affected,” Mr Kironde said.
Mr Bashir Ssemuyaba, the chairperson of Thurban Village, said Alliance Modern Nursery and Primary School was one of the best performing primary schools in Mityana Municipality.
“Schools have not been working for close to two years, but government failed to come up with a clear plan of assisting the owners. How do you expect such people to survive when they have bank loans?” he asked.
Recently, Finance Minister Matia Kasaija advised owners of private schools to sell off some of their properties to clear bank loans. This came after proprietors of private schools cried out to government to save them from commercial banks that want to auction their schools over failure to clear outstanding loans.
Mityana District chairperson Patrick Mugisha Nshimye urged school proprietors to be patient.
“We all know that government promised to reopen schools in January next year, when at least all teachers and learners above 18 years have been vaccinated. Let the school proprietors be patient and encourage their teachers and students to go for vaccination,” Mr Mugisha said.