Op-ed: Closure of schools is a conspiracy against the future of young people of Uganda
By Hon. Ishaa Otto Amiza
Oyam—25, September 2021: Before the latest address by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, every well-meaning citizen of Uganda expected the reopening of schools for both learners [pupils and students] in Secondary, Tertiary Institutions and Universities.
Museveni has used COVID-19 pandemic to suffocate economy and many strategic sectors like education, religion and political meetings to allow him to remain the only dominant person.
While President Museveni locked down the rest of us and our businesses, he has continued to do his politics through RDCs, DISOs and state operatives who are funded by monies generated from donations and allocated funds meant for fighting the scourge of COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s regrettable that the fate and the future of dozens of pupils, students and private teachers caught up in this lockdown remains in a mess, with no remedy to reclaim it.
For Museveni to open up markets, public transport and churches where pupils and students go to freely, and yet he is pretending to be protecting students from COVID-19 is a fallacy and self-deception which is unacceptable.
UPC encourages families and teachers within their vicinity to engage in home schooling as a remedy to maintain the minds of the students towards education.
Government of Uganda should now be prepared to compensate the time lost by both students and parents due to illegal and unnecessary lockdown imposed on education in the country.
The permanent closure of schools is also an indicator that government has no capacity to handle the health needs of students; no wonder President Museveni and the Ministry for Education failed to provide the needed and pledged “sanitary pads” for the girl child.
It’s now on record that many countries in the World including Rwanda, Kenya, Nigeria, etc., have continued to maintain schools besides the scourge of COVID-19 pandemic by enforcing SOPs just like it is being done in other institutions.
The effect of keeping pupils and students longer at homes, particularly the “adolescent girl child,” will have a permanent scar on the physical and psychological growth and the future of the girl child.
The children who got pregnant during the lockdown should be unconditionally allowed to continue with their studies.
Government should not forget that it’s the Constitutional duty of the State to educate a child and hence denial of education to children on the weakness to manage health risks related to COVID-19 pandemic is unconstitutional and can be challenged.
Schools can easily open on strict adherence to the Standard Operations Procedures (SOPs).
The writer is the former Oyam South MP, and the current UPC SG under Peter Walubiri administration.