Middle East

Ugandan children return to school after nearly two years of Covid closure

Uganda closed the world’s longest school on Monday and ordered millions of students to return to the classroom about two years after learning was interrupted due to a coronavirus pandemic.

Students greeted teachers and friends 83 weeks later outside the classroom, passing through the school gates that were closed when Covid-19 swept the world in March 2020.

“I’m very happy because I didn’t have school, teachers, friends, or study,” 10-year-old Nawilah Senkungu told AFP at Nakasero Elementary School in Kampala, where the teacher advised students to wear face masks and wash their hands. I did.

Education Minister John Muingo said that all elementary and junior high school students would automatically resume classes a year ago from where they were interrupted, urging schools to follow health protocols.

“All schools have guidelines and standard operating procedures to ensure that children return to school safely, and measures are taken to ensure that non-compliant people do so. “I will,” he told AFP.

However, it was difficult for some parents to return to school after the financial pain caused by the pandemic curfew and blockade.

Everyln Nyakato, a salon worker and 42-year-old 5-year-old single mother, said she was worried about paying tuition and other tuition fees.

“Before the Covid-19 outbreak, I had a hard time paying tuition. I wasn’t working because the government closed the business since the pandemic,” she said in Kasubi, a suburb of Kampala. I told AFP at a crowded bus stop.

“I know I’m not alone in this … it’s a nightmare for us, especially the poor.”

Muyingo said schools that demand more than the pre-pandemic fee will be sanctioned.

-‘Never again’-

According to UNESCO, the United Nations educational and cultural institution, the closure affected at least 10 million elementary and junior high school students and lasted 83 weeks.

The Children’s Rights Group criticized the extreme length of the closure and warned that closures had widespread consequences for learning and increased the risk of children’s marriage and forced labor for vulnerable students.

“We can’t make this happen again. We must keep schools open for all children everywhere,” UNICEF of the United Nations Children’s Fund said on Twitter.

Charity Save the Children said students will struggle after being late, and dropout rates will increase in the coming weeks unless special efforts are made to help young people adapt. Warned that it could be higher.

Distance learning was available only to a small number of privileged people while Ugandan schools were closed.

Ten-year-old Senkungu helped his grandparents on a small farm, cared for chickens, and spent a long closure digging fields.

“I’m very happy to see the kids go back to school. They lack teachers and learning,” said her father, Shiraji Senkoung.

Richard Abro, vice-principal of Nakasero Elementary School, said the fate of the school and the students during the closure period was different, but the students in rural and poor environments were hit hardest.

“The impact of Covid’s pandemic is enormous. It has affected the quality of education, so it will take some time to fill that gap,” he said.

“Some schools in the country didn’t study anything, so the effect is different,” he said, adding teachers in many places without paying and abandoning his profession.

Uganda recorded 153,762 Covid-19 cases and 3,339 deaths, according to the latest government statistics released on January 7.



http://www.gulf-times.com/story/707718/Ugandan-children-back-to-school-after-nearly-2-yea Ugandan children return to school after nearly two years of Covid closure

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