STORY WRITTEN BY MUSISI FRANK – EFFECTS OF COVID-19 ON SCHOOLS
According to the 2020 ministry of education schools calendar, the term I 2020 that kicked off on 3rd/02/2020 was to last for 89 days and officially be closed on 1st/May/2020 but this wasn’t possible following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus a.k.a COVID-19 that originated from Wuhan-China and later spread throughout the world.
As a preventive measure, on Wednesday the 18th/March/2020 the government ordered for the closure of all learning institutions that saw 15 million people going for a forced holiday. However, this came along with negative implications to the various stakeholders that are; schools, teachers, students, parents and suppliers of these various institutions as shown below;
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Regardless of the class, the coverage was affected due to the premature closure of the term. As per the school setting, each school (class) time is budgeted by use of the teacher’s scheme book which breaks down the syllabus coverage by indicating what to cover when.
In addition, candidate classes were greatly affected outside the syllabus coverage angle. These left school before submitting their registration details since UNEB had not carried out the registration training of school heads as it always the case before registration kicks off. What does this mean to them? The registration dates will automatically be lifted and so will the examination dates, marking and release of examination results dates.
Effects of COVID-19 on schools in Uganda continued
Furthermore, a change in dates of release of examinations of any level will automatically lead to a delay in the start dates of the immediate institutions i.e. a delay in P.7 results will lead to a delay in start dates of Senior ones 2021 and a delay in the release of S.4 results will, of course, lead to a delay in start dates od S.5 and so is a delay in S.6 results that will lead to a delay in university and tertiary institutions’ admission dates meaning that effect will still be felt up to 2021.
By the time schools were prematurely closed, the term had reached mid-way of the 89 days. And by virtue of this, parents had either cleared or left with a small percentage of the required fees dues. Due to the fact that most of the Ugandan parents depend on loans for business or school fees, this left them with a lot of pain thinking of how to feed their children at home yet they had opened their pockets to zero balance to clear fees dues.
In case the situation (God forbid) fails to return to normal as soon as expected, the term I 2020 will be history leaving parents counting losses.
Different teachers are paid differently depending on the school’s payment policy i.e. there teachers on an annual scale whereas others on the peace rate. 70% of the secondary school teachers in Uganda are part-timers meaning they are paid using the peace rate method that sees them earning for a period worked. As a result of the outbreak, schools got at first a one month holiday which was on 14th/03/2020 further extended by more 21 days up to 5th/May/2020 which is nearly two (2) months of not working. Unless the government intervenes for this matter, all part-time teachers may receive no pay for these months making a total of four (4) months of no payment in addition to the mandatory 2 months of the holidays.
Effects of COVID-19 on schools in Uganda continued”
The presidential directive to close might have left first-world schools dancing on the tunes ‘webale Yesu’ since these collect all the dues on the reporting day of every student. But again left 3rd world schools in pain since these collect school dues in percentages i.e. parents pay as the term goes on and some are given grace periods in case they fail to raise the required percentage at the beginning of the term.
This means school accounts were left empty since the little that had been collected might have been used in salary payments, and partial clearing of bills.
it is very hard to find a school that pays their suppliers on delivery even if it’s a first world school that collects all its dues on the first day. So this means suppliers of these schools received either half or no pay for the services they rendered to schools.
Following the principle of returning the bad supply to the supplier, we may see suppliers losing money due to the maize flour, beans and other supplies that may go bad in this period.
This assessment has been made by Mr. Musisi Frank a teacher of ICT at Our Lady Consolata s.s.s Kireka 0751914161
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