By Spy Uganda
Kampala: The Minister of State for Higher Education, Hon John Chrysostom Muyingo was grilled by legislators yesterday over delay to open schools before being tasked to present a comprehensive report to Parliament in a weeks’ time on the re-opening of learning institutions.
This was prompted by a matter of national importance raised by Hon. Joseph Ssewungu (NUP, Kalungu West) who said that there are uncoordinated statements from the Minister of Science and Technology and that of Education.
“I am happy that teachers are being vaccinated at a rapid speed but the government has not formally given communication on how schools will resume,” said Ssewungu.
He added that the selection of students joining senior one and five into government schools is not clear, yet some private schools have already started admitting students.
“Government has not given Parliament a preposition on how schools will be re-opened. In rural areas, schools are dilapidated, there is no infrastructure and teachers are demoralised,” added Ssewungu.
He also tasked the ministry to devise a solution for girls of school-going age who are victims of teenage pregnancies, following a prolonged period of staying out of school.
“What is the fate of these children as we open schools? The Ministry of Education will shift the burden to district education officers and Parliament, and at the end of the day, they will direct headteachers whom we shall see losing jobs,” he said.
Busia Municipality MP, Hon Geoffrey Macho said that the closure of schools has forced children in border districts to cross to the neighbouring countries.
“Uganda students cross to Kenya every morning. When I asked my colleague from Lwakhakha, he told me the same. I had a chat with Hon. Geoffrey Lutaaya who is neighbouring Tanzania border, he told me the same,” said Macho.
Hon. Ibrahim Ssemujju (FDC, Kira Municipality) asked the minister to clarify on the operations of international schools in his statement. “International schools are operating, so when the minister says schools are closed, maybe he only closes the local ones,” he said.
Muyingo explained that the government has prioritized vaccination of teachers, adding that schools were closed as a precautionary measure to curb the further spread of Covid-19. “Very soon, Parliament and the public will be informed on the plan to re-open schools,” Muyingo said.
On 18 March 2021, President Museveni ordered the closure of all learning institutions following a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.