By Nasser Kasozi Akandwanaho
Members of Parliament (MPs) have reiterated demands for the education ministry to support schools with funds to purchase sanitizers, soap, masks, and other requirements for standard operating procedures (SOPs) when they reopen for candidate classes.
MPs argued that with the limited capitation grants, schools are likely to transfer the cost to the parents, who are already burdened.
The Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Betty Aol Ochan, asked during the House sitting last week on Thursday, October 1 that some schools have already sent budgets to parents asking them to pay for masks, sanitizers, and soap.
“They are also asking parents to pay all the fees for the second term. Can the ministry provide schools with money to help them buy these requirements?” Betty Aol Ochan
Ndorwa East Wilfred Niwagaba asked the education minister to explain whether there are any plans to help schools obtain these requirements.
“I have received complaints from teachers saying these requirements are expensive for them to provide free of charge. Secondly, there are some schools with many candidates and with all these SOPs, it may not be possible to observe the required spacing. How is the education ministry going to handle this matter?” Niwagaba asked.
However, the state minister of education in charge of sports, Denis Obua, told Parliament that the issue would be addressed administratively.
President Yoweri Museveni ordered the closure of education institutions, alongside places of worship, in March this year, among the numerous control measures against the spread of COVID-19.
An estimated 15 million learners in 73,240 institutions and 548,192 teachers were affected.
When the MPs ﬁrst asked the Government to support schools last month, the ﬁnance ministry said there was no extra money for the cause save for the sh20b allocated for private teachers’ Savings and Credit Co-operative Societies (SACCOS).
The Government early this month Okayed all schools to reopen for candidate classes and finalists in universities and other tertiary institutions, starting October 15.
However, schools must meet set of guidelines aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 before reopening.
According to the SOPs, all schools will be required to provide a bottle of alcohol-based sanitizers to each teacher and other staff as well as water and soap for washing hands.
Dr. Kedrace Turyagyenda, the director of education standards at the education ministry, recently said only those schools that comply with the SOPS will be allowed to reopen.