NCHE warns varsities onreopening for all students

Wednesday October 21 2020
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Graduands at a ceremony at Makerere University in January 2019. National Council for Higher Education has warned institutions that have re-opened for all students, contrary to the government directive. PHOTO | ABUBAKER LUBOWA

By Damali Mukhaye

The National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) has warned universities and other tertiary institutions that have re-opened for all students, contrary to the government directive. 

President Museveni last month cleared all institutions of learning to reopen on October 15 for only candidates and finalists as the government monitors the Covid-19 situation before reopening for other students.

However, an October 19 circular from the executive director of NCHE, Prof Mary Okwakol, addressed to all vice chancellors of universities and principals of tertiary institutions, warns about re-opening  for both finalists and continuing students.

 “The attention of the NCHE has been drawn to the fact that some institutions have called all the students to report for normal studies. This act does not only reflect violation of the presidential directive but also undermines government efforts in the fight against the spread of Covid-19,” Prof Okwakol said in the letter. 

She said any institution found violating the presidential directives or the standard operating procedures will be held accountable.

“The purpose of this communication, therefore, is to urge you to comply with the presidential directives and the guidelines for reopening of the institutions as set by the Ministry of Education and Sports,” she added.

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The NCHE did not list  universities that have re-opened  for all learners  in the circular nor did they indicate the punishment for those institutions that have defied. When contacted over the issue,  Prof Okwakol did not answer our repeated calls to her phone by press time.

Students in various universities reported for their final year on October 17 and studies are underway.
Some Universities such as Makerere, Victoria, Isbat and  Uganda Martyrs have started online lessons for other continuing students who are still home.

President Museveni closed schools in March in a bid to stop the spread of Covid-19.
 In reopening for finalists, the president said the fate of other continuing students will be determined in January.

dmukhaye@ug.nationmedia.com

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