Reopening schools is a process not an Event

Reopening schools is a process not an Event
A primary pupil listening to lessons on radio

KAMPALA- Ladies and Gentlemen on the forum, the committee highly appreciates the situation the school owners, employees, students, parents and the school suppliers find themselves in due to the pandemic and the subsequent prolonged schools closure. Government unveils 27 Standard Operating Procedures ahead of schools reopening

The committee ably articulated this on Friday 24th at state house Entebbe at the meeting called by the 1st  Lady and Minister of Education and Sports.

We Emphasized  the fact that, the over 350,000 teachers  plus about 150,000 none teaching staff employed by private schools and approxomately 200,000 employees in government  schools that are not on government payroll, the 700,000 employees in total, have lost their livelihood. That If each of these employees support 2 persons on average. This means that approximately 2.1 million Ugandans, are *hungry, angry, desperate and agitated* That since, as explained by his Excellency the President in his last address to the nation and alluded to by the minister of state for finance in the meeting, government cannot afford to come to their rescue, the only solution is to *make the big decision to reopen schools by September*

The committee showed readiness to implement SOP’s as will be handed down to us and the directives from the ministries of education and sports.

The committee emphasized the fact that, much as children are assumed safe at home, with the opening of the other sectors, the safest place for the children is and remain, at school. 

The committee welcomed the president’s contribution of now *20 Billion up from 2 Billion* to teachers SACCO, proposed schools access to low interest loans at UDB specifically for *infrastructure development*, suspension of payment to NSSF, pay as you earn and income tax for now, the discussion with central bank and commercial banks to reschedule and to charge *Zero interest rate* on the rescheduled school loans. Even as we welcomed the above innervations, we reaffirmed our beleif that *schools reopening is the only long and medium term solution to the sectors problem.

First Lady Janet Museveni Meets School Heads

The committee is grateful to the 1st lady for the opportunity granted and the seriousness of the meeting that was attended by all ministers in the ministry of education, the minister of state for finance, senior government officials in the ministries of education and that of finance.

Going forward, the committee will reconvene on Wednesday this week to forge a way forward on all areas of discussion. We will and shall continue with the advocacy for *schools to reopen by September* as we work with all concerned to ensure that when schools do reopen, the children, will be safe. 

Justus Mugisha

Director STAHIZA. Member of the covid-19 committee of Directors of educational private institutions.