By Goodluck Musinguzi
Ministry of Education is opening schools on 10th January 2022 as planned following the directive of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni after the advice from the Ministry of Health. Increased School fees in some schools have made parents appeal for intervention from the government.
Hon Janet Museveni, the Minister of Education in a national address said the government had taken a step of faith to open schools despite the many challenges around the Covid19 pandemic.
“We thank all the stakeholders who have supported the education sector including the Prime Minister, Ministry of Health, the Private Sector, the teachers who are the frontline soldiers, the community and learners”, said Hon Janet Museveni.
She further thanked the headmasters and Directors for rehabilitating schools that will give a better learning environment for students. We thank the local government and Members of Parliament for making supervising the schools in their areas of jurisdiction.
The Ministry’s guidance on fees compliance is that parents should not be asked to pay higher school fees than what they were paying before school closures.
It’s not the first time we are going to intervene or examine the issue of school fees. In 2017 we appointed a committee led by Professor Kayanja to examine the costs in different schools and guide.
Hon Janet Museveni said the issue of school fees has come up again and the Covid19 pandemic has made it worse for parents. We also understand schools have not been in operation but parents are affected too.
” We are against the arbitrary increase of school fees, don’t pay amounts more than what you paid before the lockdown of March 2020. Parents who had paid school fees for Senior 2 students should not be charged again, those who had paid installments should be left to finish the balance” said Hon Janet Museveni.
She further called for flexible terms of school fees payments so that parents are able to support children. Management of schools should review their work plans and review budgets of infrastructure that have to be supported by parents.
No school should charge parents money to carry out covid19 tests but rather emphasize standard operating procedures as guided by the Ministry of Health. Schools are asked to cooperate with health centers in their locality to test students who show signs of covid19.
“We believe that schools are working with the health centers close to them & when there’s any suspicion that children are not well, it’s better the schools take them to the health centers to get tested & confirm their status”.
“Furthermore, public health officials advised that there is no public health rationale to delay the reopening of schools later this week.
“Schools will operate in line with their Covid-19 response plans, which set out a range of mitigation measures for schools, including hand hygiene, mask-wearing, and social distancing.