By Nasser Kasozi Akandwanaho
The Ministry of Education and Sports has warned that Universities and tertiary institutions that don’t meet the minimum requirements will not be allowed to reopen on November, 1.
The warning was sounded by the minister for higher education, Dr. John Chrisostom Muyingo while inspecting Busitema University’s school of health science to assess their compliance to the guidance.
Muyingo was in the company of the executive director of the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) Prof. Mary Okwakwol, the director of quality assuarence and Accreditation Dr. Pius Achanga and the reginal director for Seed Global health Dr. Bonaventure Ahaisibwe.
“Definitely we’re not prepared as government to lose any one Ugandan just because of some stubborn fellows. We are not going to allow any school to open that is not ready to follow the guidelines given to us by National Council of High Education and the SOPs as given by Ministry of Education” Dr Muyingo warned.
The minister also said unvaccinated lectures will not be allowed to conduct any services in schools and also appealed to students especially those of ages of 18 and above to get vaccinated in time to avoid inconveniences.
“The vaccines are available, we have quite a lot of vaccines in the country. Go and be vaccinated because they will not allow you inside the school when you’ve not been vaccinated”
On her behalf, Prof. Mary Akwakwol, the Executive Director of NCHE said she was satisfied with the way that Busitema University has tried to implement the guidelines despite some challenges adding that NCHE plans monitor all medical schools in the country.
“I am fully satisfied that they are ready to continue training medical students. This is just the beginning, we’re going to monitor all medical schools but we started here and next we will be going to Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST). We have a programme to go to all of them” Okwakol said.
She also revealed that the council will resend the guidelines sent last year and also review them if needed further urging all institutions of higher learning to prepare in time before scheduled reopening in November.
“The institutions have been given enough time to open and I expect there should be no problem for them to open. If there is any challenge that might prevent them from opening, they can consult us and we advise them” she said.
Dr. Bonaventure Ahaisibwe, the reginal director for Seed Global health said the organization carried out a survey to generate evidence required to ensure that learning is safe and that alot of this fed into the national guidelines for reopening of schools. He gave a highlight of a few things that they learnt in the process of extensive consultations with different stakeholders in this assessment
“One is risk of infection in the medical setting. We did discover that the level of preparedness in medical schools was alot higher than the average school because in many ways they’ve been exposed to infectious settings and have developed coping mechanisms including SOPs that already existed in medical schools for infection prevention and control for diseases like Ebola, Marburg, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) that have been managed in a number of schools” Ahaisibwe noted.
He also revealed that at the peak of epidemic, five senior lectures in the medical schools had passed on due to Covid-19.
“But despite that, 95 percent of faculties surveyed express a desire to back to teaching at the peak of first wave of epidemic which demonstrates exceptional commitment to continue the training despite the challenges”
While Busitema Univestity, Mbale Campas have been given green lights to open, Ahaisibwe flagged off afew things he appealed the ministry to adress including improving on medical students’ access to personal protection equipments as well as increasing on the infrastructure for the instutions of higher learning in the field of medicine if they are to meet all the SOPs.