The opposition Forum for Democratic Change, the FDC party has welcomed the re-opening of universities but asked the Minister for Education and her team to go to the field identifying problems and providing solutions.
While addressing the weekly party press conference at Najjanankumbi on Monday morning, the FDC party spokesperson Hon. Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda noted that they hope the Minister can juggle her roles as First Lady and Education Minister and find time to attend to the re-opening institutions.
“It is clear that there is no plan and what Mr. Museveni and his wife are doing is just announcing dates. The country must be told how many students, teachers, and support staff are involved in university education. How many of them have so far been vaccinated and a plan to have the rest vaccinated” Hon. Nganda said.
He also advised that vaccination teams should be stationed at the entrance of each university to vaccinate returning students, teachers, and support staff and that students who refuse to be vaccinated should be encouraged to attend classes through zoom because this is their choice.
“Museveni and wife should release a detailed plan of helping students from poor families with tuition. Usually, universities demand full payment before exams. That rigid policy cannot work under this Covid 19 situation. The Minister for Education can use the budget that has been allocated to her ministry in the last two years of lockdowns to help parents. Parents who pay fees must fully be briefed. We expect Museveni’s wife to be moving from radio to radio explaining her plan. Short of that, the country might be plunged in the chaos that engulfed the Entebbe International Airport at the introduction of mandatory Covid testing for all arriving passengers” Nganda added.
President Museveni set today 1st November 2021 as the day to reopen universities and other higher institutions of learning, while the secondary and primary schools wait to be reopened in 2022.
FDC is however wondering what will happen to students from other countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Congo, and South Sudan.
“Are they allowed to access our universities and under what Covid arrangement. All these issues must be addressed. We demand a similar plan for the re-opening of the rest of the schools in January. Mr. Museveni and his wife must prepare the country adequately and early enough. There are many schools that have been sold. Many teachers have abandoned teaching and some are in the Middle East working as domestic workers. Some school buildings have collapsed” he added.
According to Hon. Nganda, parents who have been laid down from their workplaces because of Covid and have no money to pay fees need help. He says these issues must be addressed and that the party demands that a comprehensive plan be issued and debated by the country through Parliament.