The National Council of Higher Education -NCHE has communicated that Higher Institutions of learning will open after the next three months.
According to the National Council of Higher Education (NCHE) Executive Director Professor Mary Okwakol, the communication is based on prior advice from the Minister of Education and Sports Janet Kataha Museveni.
“The purpose of this communication is to inform you of the current position of the government and to encourage you to utilize the ODel system; all institutions that have not embraced the Odel system are encouraged to do so,” reads Okwakol’s statement. “In case of the need for further information you require, contact Ag. Director Quality Assurance and Accreditation Dr Pius Achang.”
There media has been awash with claims that the government is slated to reopen schools for all the learners by mid-February 2021.
Government closed down schools on March 21, 2020 following the COVID-19 outbreak as the government moved to protect approximately 15 million Ugandans, learners and staffs in these institutions from contracting the scourge.
In November 2020, the government of Uganda reopened institutions of learning for only candidates and finalists so that they can finalise their studies.
According to the reopening roadmap that was issued by NCHE, heads of institutions and governing councils were given two months from September 2020, up to November 13 to put in place all the requirements including the formation of Covid-19 committees, training staff and installation of the requisite facilities.
This is besides the existing general hygiene, social distancing and wearing of facemasks and hand washing requirements in all public places. All students were told to attend the initial Covid-19 training on the first day of reporting and other mandatory Covid-19 training on infection, prevention and control. Institutions were also told to ensure restricted entry of non-students or staff.
The Vice-Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, said the university has been working on the guidelines since the reopening of the university for final year students in anticipation that when the government reopens higher institutions of learning fully, the university is ready to welcome back all students.
“We have already put in place the required facilities like hand washing facilities, soap, sanitisers and management is now working on the timetables for students,” Prof Nawangwe said.
Professor David Lameck Kibikyo, the Vice-Chancellor for Busoga University says for continuing and new students to start studying, it would require more resources in terms of furniture, scholastic materials to serve them well.
“It requires some time for better planned and investment of resources at the university to accommodate more students” he said.
The Vice-Chancellor of Kampala International University (KIU), Prof Muhammed Mpezamihigo, said: “Fresh and continuing students and parents can be given some time to prepare so they should look for some money to complete their tuition,” Prof Mpezamihigo said.