In a dramatic turn of events, the government has suspended all pre-primary education activities until a viable solution to control COVID among kindergartners is found.
The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports (MoES) Janet Kataha Museveni told a news conference at State House today Friday that all children will have to start in primary one when they’ve attained at least 5 years.
She stressed that given the prevailing circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic,there will be no more Nursery/Kindergarten school until the crisis is over.
Addressing journalists regarding the phased reopening mechanism that the government adopted to control the disease, she said there is no way to control spread of the disease among kids since available vaccines are not meant for children so young.
“Government has decided that education institutions except pre-primary schools should be opened for the rest of the learners but in a staggered manner that allows us to manage the number of schools at a particular time,” she said.
Museveni further said that apart from candidates who will sit for UNEB exams, there will be no exams for the rest of the classes and that progression for other classes will be evaluated on attendance and a cumulative assessment.
She however noted that regarding the phased opening, inspection suggests that with the availble infrastructure, most primary and secondary schools can accommodate both semi and candidate classes while observing SOP’s.
The minister said that in the process of ensuring that the lost time is recovered, a comprehensive school calender involving strategic time recovery techniques will be issued and implemented at the end of the academic year 2020 in July this year.
As part of the already existing techniques, the minister said home schooling and interactions will continue to be part of the important strategy for recovery of lost time and learning.
“The Ministry will strengthen home schooling by printing and distributing more study materials and delivering broadcasts lessons on TV and radio stations,” she said.
Regarding re-opening of other classes except candidates and semi-candidates, Janet museveni revealed that the Ministry Permanent Secretary (PS) will with in no time issue a detailed calender indicating specific dates when the other classes shall report and break off.
In order to ensure the sector does not fall off the radar of observing SOPs, the minister said continuous monitoring as well as training front line school administrators will never stop.
“The Ministry of Health shall continue to train Managers and staff of Education institutions for effective management of institutions under COVID-19
Regarding the initial groups to be vaccinated, the minister said the vaccine roll-out being a gradual process, vaccination will begin with the most vulnerable population which includes teachers and other who are most vulnerable.
“Young people such as learners will come on board later when the appropriate vaccines become available. Besides, children 16 years and below may not be eligible for the currently available vaccines,” she said.
Following the out break of COVID-19 at the beginning of last year 2020, government closed all education institutions on March 18.
However after close to eight months, the Ministry of education and sports opened all learning institutions for final year students on October 15.
The government has now kick-started fazed opening of other classes beginning with semi candidates that are set to resume on March 1.