Greetings from Uganda.
The general atmosphere is political, as aspirants seek for votes. This has killed the protection people had against covid-19. Social distancing is now a myth yet many people have no masks. Sick people are on the rise with now between 300-400 per day. Sick people are over 6500 (only those who present themselves since there are no tests going on) and known deaths are 62. Government introduced a 65 dollars testing fee to those who want to test.
After a long time of silence, government has decided to open schools for only candidate classes, P.7, S.4 and S.6 starting on 15th October 2020. The rest of the classes have been scheduled for January 2021. This means that from October to late December, it will be second term and third term will begin in January and end in March 2021. The commission is yet to send us actual dates.
However, this has been highly criticised, because the cost of operating two classes(secondary) one class (primary) is too high, and almost impossible. Secondary schools are much affected which teach up to 16 subjects, as compared to only 4 of primary with each subject having independent course units taught by independent teachers. When combined for S.4 and S.6 for example, they are about 64 taught course units and with much squeezing, these can be taught by 32 teachers in the covid-19 arrangement, where 20 students are allowed in a standard classroom. Using the main hall and bigger classes, we will form 5 S.4 streams instead of 10. A teacher needs two days to teach a subject to a single class! With a nurse, two cooks, three security people, one matron, one warden, two administrators, one secretary , already this calls for 43 staff for only two classes against 62 teachers for six classes.
Among others, the following are key issues we have to analyse and budget for.
1. After lockdown, the ability of parents to pay (those who pay) is too low, and even if they do, the outcome is too below the needed budget to run only two classes
2. How to implement the guidelines set by the commission ( a copy of very many is attached)
3. How to feed both students, teachers at school and those away.
4. Transport to non resident teachers
5. Salaries up to December
8. Registration fees for those that were not catered for (what we received was not catering for all candidates)
9. Laboratory equipment which we didn’t cater for before closure
The president made this announcement on Sunday night (20.9.20). So, we will come up with a budget, considering only the unavoidable costs which can enable us to open. I will keep you updated in the course of the week.