By Joreen Nabutto
The Ministry of Education has said students whose schools will not qualify for reopening this week will be transferred to other schools that meet the standard operating procedures.
Last week, government started inspection of schools across the country to ascertain whether they have put in place the set SOPs before they are cleared to reopen.
In an interview with Daily Monitor yesterday, the Commissioner for Secondary Education at the Ministry of Education, who is heading the inspection, Mr Kule Baritazale, said the exercise is moving on smoothly in various districts.
He said the district leaders will report to the Ministry of Education on Wednesday with detailed reports of schools that have met the standards and which ones have failed.
He, however, said Kampala and Wakiso districts inspection teams were overwhelmed by the number of schools and the ministry had to add 18 more teams of inspectors.
“We have brought on ground another 18 inspection teams and they are going to comb Kampala and Wakiso before the week ends. The local governments are doing well. Many of them had finished the exercise and will be briefing their district task forces, chief administrative officers and other leaders. They will hand over the report to the Ministry of Education,” Mr Baritazale said.
He said schools that do not meet the SOPs will not be allowed to reopen and their students will be transferred to nearby schools that will meet the standards.
Mr Baritazale said schools are being rated into three categories. He said schools that will attain 60 per cent and above will be allowed to reopen. Those with 50 to 60 per cent score will be advised to put in place the missing requirements. He, however, said the school that will fall below 45 per cent, will not be allowed to reopen.
“The inspection we are doing is not the normal one. In the past, we would find a school with few issues and we would let them reopen and advise them. This will not happen this time,” Mr Baritazale said.
“If we find that there is something serious that we cannot tolerate, we shall tell you not to open and we shall transfer your children to another school. In the tool that inspectors are using, we are recapturing the number of students a school can take. If we find a neighbouring school can take the number of the students from the schools that will not reopen, the government will negotiate with the school on how those students can be transferred,” he added.
Mr Baritazale said key SOPs are social distancing and handwashing facilities.
Schools, universities and other tertiary institutions were cleared by President Museveni to reopen for learners on October 15. But since the date falls on a Thursday, many schools have set October 17, Saturday, as the reporting date for learners.
The Ministry of Education last month outlined a number of SOPs each school must put in place before reopening. They include calibrated temperature guns with evidence of screening at the gate; evidence of restricted access from visitors; availability of disinfectants such as jik, vim and chlorine for the boarding section.
Schools should also have adequate facilities for teachers’ workplace such as staffrooms and offices. Boarding schools should have a sickbay with evidence of qualified health workers in place, recruited or hired on part time. Schools must also have adequate toilets or latrines for learners, separate for girls and boys at the ratio of 56:1 and staff. Schools must also have spraying facilities.