Students at Uganda‘s Bus terminal after lockdown was announced last month (Photo: Supplied)

Parents to spend more as lockdown blocks children in Uganda

By Kidega Livingstone 

South Sudanese who have their children studying in Uganda became excited recently as the schools’ reopened amid the second wave of the pandemic.

The parents hoped the students would continue their studies after they spent nearly a year plus without studies due to COVID-19 pandemic since 2020.

But unfortunately, the Ugandan’s government shutdown the schools last month after the students spent only two months, in a move to curb the surging cases of the pandemic amid the second wave. 

However, the move has now raised alarms among parents in South Sudan as they anticipate losses between feeding students and wasting tuitions without learning. 

“Sending them back home before the term ends was an inconvenience, but since it was due to coronavirus, I didn’t mind so much,” said Okello Dominic Akera, a father of four in an interview with Juba Echo.

“When I sent the children to school previously, I had to do some shopping and pay the tuitions. And this would repeat itself,” he recounts.

Mr. Akera said the children’s stay at home now would mean an “extra financial cost” on parents when they (students) resume schools later. 

Michael Wani Laku, another parent recounted the same coronavirus mess without students’ learning as his daughter misplaced uniform and pairs of shoes during coronavirus lockdown. 

“I had some savings which I used to pay half of the school fees before the term started .So after spending all that money, the schools were closed and this is so discouraging,” he said. 

“What I know is that if schools reopen, we are going to pay for the third times,” Laku stressed. 

Other reports indicate that private schools students were likely to suffer since they are not backed up by other operating systems.

Various reports from Uganda also indicate that, there is fear of academic weakness as learners continue to lose both interest and learning outcome from their education. 

More pronounce of all is the uncertainty about the future of education as the country like Uganda and South Sudan brave the pandemic.

As learners in high education continue online with their education, the future of the learners in junior and senior schools remains a big question.

Andrew Kute Wani, a teacher at St Thomas Primary and Secondary School II Gudele II feared that teenage pregnancies, child marriages and child labour would continue to raise as such cases were reported during the past lockdown.  

“Now that the school lockdown is now in Uganda, we are concerned that more learners will lose interest and drop out leaving the education level of that country (Uganda) at risk,” he said. 

The Uganda Ministry of Health said Wednesday that 49 more people have died of COVID-19, the highest figure ever registered in a single day since when the virus broke out in the country.

Following the same press statement, at least 1,110 more people tested  positive for the virus as the total number of confirmed cases’ soared to 65,631.

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