Learners in P.6, S.3 and S.5 will report back to school on March 1, 2021, President Museveni has announced.
Museveni ordered the closure of all education Institutions and sent home 15 million learners in March 2020, in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
Museveni would later allow the reopening of schools for only candidate classes.
The fact that candidate classes are about to write their final national examinations, Cabinet on Monday resolved that learners in semi candidate classes of P.6, S.3 and S.5 can go back to school.
Addressing the nation from State House Nakasero on Thursday evening, Museveni said that since candidates reported back to school about 3 months ago, only 257 out of 1.3 million have been infected with COVID-19.
This, he said, is “success.”
“Since we opened, it’s now 3 months for candidates, 1.3 million learners. Up to now, only 257 have been infected, and no one has died. That is a success,” he said.
“Since this has worked, we have decided to open for semi candidate. These are S.5, S.3 and P6. These are the next batch,” he added.
The decision to have semi candidate classes report back to school, Museveni said, was aimed at the fact that learners in P7 will finish on March 31st while the S.4 students will finish on 6th April.
“We therefore thought it was wise for next candidate classes to come in now.”
The total number of learners in the semi candidate classes is about 1.7 million. These include; roughly 1.2 million in P6, 346,000 in S.3 and 104,000 in S.5.
“All these will report on 1st March. The numbers are small enough to fit in the facilities that are normally used by 15 million. That is why we said we think this alright,” said Museveni.
Providing Radios to Facilitate Distance Learning
Museveni noted that learners in other classes will stay home studying through distance learning.
When Museveni closed all education institutions in March 2020, Parliament passed a supplementary budget to facilitate distance learning.
The budget would procure reading materials and radios for learners in the remote areas.
Although some learning materials were procured, radios were never procured.
Museveni admitted that indeed radios were never purchased, and noted that, had it not been campaigns, he would open up a “war” on the people who crippled the procurement of radios.
“We were supposed to give radios to these learners. But some people interfered with these radios. I was busy campaigning; otherwise, it would have been a big war,” he said.
Concerning the remaining classes, the President said that the Ministry of Education and Sports will announce a detailed plan.
Regarding universities, Museveni noted that these and other tertiary institutions will also open in March but in a “staggered way,” adding that they are already studying online.
“These will use the staggered approach,” he said.
Museveni, however, did not clarify how the “staggering approach” will be used, but added that University students pursuing science programmes will have to report back because it is hard to study practical lessons online.