The Ministry of Education has proposed a mammoth Shs97.6 billion for reopening of all schools and other education institutions across the country in a proposal developed by its department of Education Planning and Policy Analysis (EPPA).
The document indicates that Shs97.6b would be required to implement the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in full to prepare schools for reopening.
EPPA noted that the ministry would spend Shs1.67b in a scenario where the SOPs are implemented in full for schools to reopen for only candidate classes while the rest of the students continued with the syllabus at home.
In the event that government reopens schools for only candidate classes, the rest of the Shs95billion will be spent on developing and distributing self-study materials for the non-candidate learners in primary and secondary schools who will be staying at home. The money will be used to procure and distribute radio and TV sets to all households with learners and facilitate the delivery of lessons.
In the report, the Ministry also indicated that it would use the Global Partnership in Education (GPE) grant from the World Bank and 2020/2021 Budget support. The Ministry of Education was allocated Shs3.6 trillion in the 2020/2021 Budget and expects to get about $15m from the GPE.
According to the Ministry of Education taskforce headed by Mr Ismail Mulindwa, the director of education, Shs97.6b is not attainable given the current economic situation caused by Covid-19 in the country.
The taskforce proposed an alternative scenario of reopening for only candidate classes in primary and secondary schools and final year students in higher institutions of learning which would require Shs1.67b. According to the taskforce, only government-aided education institutions should be provided with equipment and facilitation for implementation of SOPs, linkage between schools and health facilities to be promoted instead of recruiting new health personnel for schools. The taskforce also proposed suspension of the proposal for provision of additional infrastructure, facilities and staff for schools. They propose learners in lower classes should continue with enhanced home study programs.
However, Mr Mulindwa said that the document was still a draft proposal and they were still consulting key stakeholders before making a final report that will be submitted to government.
Last month, President Museveni said a final decision on reopening of schools would be made in September with the hope that the country scientists would have created a COVID-19 vaccine thereby mitigating many of the concerns about infection from the disease.