Government sets conditions for takeover of schools

Kira Church of Uganda Primary School P7 pupils attend class on the first day of re-opening of schools. This was on October 15


The education ministry has set criteria through which both private and community schools that failed to reopen, can be taken over.

According to the ministry, the proprietors or managers of the affected academic institutions will be required to write to the ministry asking for takeover.

In the letter, they will be required to give reasons why the Government should take up the school, the number of students and ownership.

During selection, the education ministry will consider the location of the academic institution, with the main focus on sub-counties and town councils without government-aided schools.

The development was confirmed by Alex Kakooza, the education ministry’s permanent secretary.

In an interview with Saturday Vision, Kakooza said: ‘‘We will handle case by case. We will not take on schools that have not written to us.”

However, he said schools with few candidates should transfer them to the nearby government or private schools for continuity.

President recently said the Government would take over some private schools that fail to re-open after the COVID-19 lockdown, especially in sub-counties where there is no government-aided secondary school.

Kakooza did not provide clear modalities, but a source in the ministry said, “definitely, any school that government will take over, the proprietors will be compensated. The government valuer will be engaged and the assets and liabilities of the schools tallied”.

Failed to reopen

According to preliminary statistics from the inspection exercise, an estimated 21,225 schools and other tertiary institutions were inspected. Out of these, Dr Kedrace Turyagyenda, the director education standards, said an estimated 5% of the total schools inspected failed to reopen.

This means 1,062 schools and other tertiary institutions failed to re-open. However, she said this includes schools and other tertiary institutions enrolling lower classes but without candidates.

Schools were required to obtain a certificate of compliance to reopen. Some 20,163 schools and other tertiary institutions were granted the certificates.

To qualify for a certificate of compliance, the education ministry scorecard required a school to have scored 60% and above on requirements. The pending ones scored between 50% and 59%, and were advised to put some things right.

Those that completely failed to score 49% and below were ordered to hand over or transfer candidates to the nearby schools.

Second inspection

Turyagyenda revealed that the ministry is preparing a second inspection before the ongoing second term ends on December 18. The impromptu school inspection, she said, is aimed at establishing whether the schools are implementing and following the set standard operating procedures (SOPs).

In addition, Turyagyenda said the findings will also inform Government whether the schools and other academic institutions can handle the rest of the learners.

She noted that schools that adopted candidates from other schools must have increased capacity to handle the additional numbers.

Turyagyenda emphasised that even schools that had been cleared can still be closed if they fault on the SOPs.

A copy of the certificate of compliance reads, “non-compliance with the operating procedures shall lead to the cancellation of the certificate”.

The certificate, which is signed by the education ministry permanent secretary, requires schools to maintain SOPs issued by both the health and education ministries.

In addition, the ministry has warned schools against operating boarding sections if they were allowed day shifts only and vice-versa.

Certificates of compliance for such schools, according to the ministry, will be cancelled and students transferred to other schools.

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