The Ministry of Education and Sports has urged all education institutions to fully engage parents in adopting flexible fees payment structures that will allow payment in appropriate installments ahead of the official resumption of schools for finalists on October 15.
“The management and governance of all education institutions shall review institutional annual work plans and budgets to realign them with the changes in education institution programmes and priorities. Education institutions shall not increase fees,” said Alex Kakooza, Ministry of Education Permanent Secretary.
Addressing the press at the Uganda Media Center on Thursday afternoon, Kakooza revealed that the government has released detailed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to guide the resumption of classes.
“To minimize the risk of Covid-19 and ensure recovery of lost learning time, institutions are to review their programmes and prioritize curriculum completion as follows,” he said.
The set guidelines include;
- Education institutions shall use only full-time staff, who shall not be allowed to part-time in other institutions.
- Schools shall operate either as day or boarding but not both.
- There shall be no group and close contact co-curricular activities in all education institutions until further notice.
- There shall be no external mock exams or other external examinations organized for students in secondary and primary schools.
- Institution heads should ensure that all staffs integrate COVID-19 awareness and prevention messages in every lesson.
- Parents are advised that under this emergency public health situation, they should, as much as possible identify schools nearest their home to enroll their children for the meantime to avoid risks, unnecessary costs and inconveniences of long distance travel to schools.
- Learners who walk to school or are transported by private means to schools may continue to do so; however, they may not use public transport on any occasion, even when they cannot walk or be privately transported to and from school by their parents/guardians.
- Schools shall ensure that the private means vehicles and drivers are registered with the school and are the only ones allowed to transport the learners.
- Main halls, dining halls and other large rooms should be prioritized for use as classrooms to ensure that available teachers cater for a sizable number of learners per class. However, such rooms should accommodate only the appropriate number of learners that ensures the specified physical distancing.
- A foot-operated hand washing facility shall be placed at strategic point of access to each block (and floor where applicable) used by learners and staff. Schools are advised to improvise with available containers and local materials to provide safe hand washing.
- Safe temporary shelters, such as tents, may be used as classrooms. Open air spaces, such as tree shades may be improvised as temporary venues for some classes.
Kakooza noted that schools for learners with special needs may open and operate for all classes provided they have the capacity to adhere to the social distancing of at least two metres.
“Institutions shall build staff awareness and knowledge on Covid-19 safety measures through regular sharing of accurate information and literature,” he noted.
Kakooza further reminded all heads of education institutions that the country is still at a high risk of Covid-19 and maximum care must be exercised at all times.
“Having accurate information and facts about COVID-19 will help diminish students’ fears and anxieties about the disease and will ultimately help them cope with measures that are being undertaken to minimize the risks of infection,” he said.
He added that education institutions shall resume full operations for all learners when the Ministry of Education, in conjunction with the Ministry of health, determines that it is safe for institutions to operate at full capacity.