By Nasser Kasozi Akandwanaho
Cabinet has backed a proposal by the Minister of Health, Dr. Ruth Aceng, to close schools early for third term holidays to contain the Ebola outbreak, The Homeland Newspaper has learnt.
While no concrete official date has been set for holidays, Cabinet authorised schools that have completed their end-of-third-term exams to send the learners home.
The start of holidays will thus vary from school to school, depending on when they will complete their exams.
“We agreed that all schools send learners home on the last day of term three exams. No schools should keep learners at schools as they wait for report cards, reports will be picked at a later date,” one of the sources, who did not want to be named to speak freely, said.
The source said Cabinet asked the Minister of Education to follow up on implementation of the proposal.
Dr. Aceng last month asked the Education ministry to consider early examinations for non-candidate classes so that schools can close early for the third term holidays.
Dr Aceng said the move is aimed at decongesting schools to minimise the risk of spreading Ebola.
Schools are usually close for the third term in the second week of December.
However, some schools have brought the term closer by two weeks, based on the circulars they have sent home with learners in day schools.
Some schools have fixed their third term holidays on November 24 as opposed to December 9 to December 12.
Cost of living
Institutions have given no reasons for early holidays and it remains unclear if it is influenced by cutting cost on food, given the souring prices on the market, or as Ebola preventive measures.
Some schools are known for keeping learners at schools for a week or longer after doing their examinations, in the name of waiting for their report cards, something that the Cabinet has discouraged.
The State Minister of Education, Ms. Joyce Kaducu, without giving details, said she will hold a press conference at Uganda Media Centre over the same issue.
She revealed this yesterday before releasing the grade lll certificate examination results at the office of the President in Kampala.
Whereas some schools might be tempted to conduct examinations early to send their learners home, the Secretary General of Uganda Teachers Union (Unatu), Mr. Filbert Baguma, said schools should be considerate and avoid cheating parents by shortening the terms.