Nakasongola, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | At least 19 Private Primary Schools in Nakasongola district are believed to have ceased operations because of the prolonged closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some of the affected schools are Muwuma Light of Future, Global Junior, Ayesiga, God’s Grace, New Hope, Kamuli Quality and Noor Islamic Centre. Others are Buddu Parents, Kiroolo Parents, Kamuli New Hope, St. Julius Busansula and Jerusalem Primary School among others.
Nakasongola District Education Officer, George William Kajura, says that when the Ministry of Education and Sports delivered home study learning materials recently to the schools they found them under lock and key.
He says that they published the list of the schools on the district noticeboard but none of the proprietors has shown up to confirm whether they still exist. According to Kajura, he plans to write to the Ministry of Education informing them the schools no longer exist.
Vincent Begumisa, the director of Muwuma Light of Future Primary School, says that heavy rains destroyed his school buildings and efforts to reconstruct the buildings haven’t yielded results because of the prolonged closure.
“I secured 15,000 bricks to reconstruct the school but I can’t proceed with works because I have no income over prolonged closure of schools,” Begumisa said.
Paul Ssejjemba, a private school proprietor and Worker’s representative to the district council, says that some of the schools ceased operations after being sold off to enable the proprietors to service bank loans.
He says that some schools have now turned into rental houses and other business premises.
Sunday Rogers Bwanga, the Chairperson of Nakasongola District Private Schools Association has asked the government to set up a fund to bail out private schools because many have been greatly affected by the prolonged closure resulting from COVID-19.
He says that more schools may not reopen because of accumulated debts. Samuel Kigula, the Nakasongola LC 5 Chairman, says that they intend to invite private school owners for a meeting to find ways how they can reopen despite the challenges caused by the pandemic. Kigula says that the closure of the private schools will greatly affect performance and learners in areas where the government is yet to establish schools.
In his August 18th,2021 letter on behalf of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Dr. Cleophus Mugenyi directed district and municipal education officers to confirm whether 1,742 schools reopened after they were found closed so as to redistribute home study learning materials to their learners.
President Yoweri Museveni recently announced that Primary and Secondary Schools will reopen in January 2022. Museveni ordered teachers to undergo COVID-19 vaccination so as to enable schools to reopen.