Reopen Nursery Schools, Parents, Owners Tell Govt

By Patience Ahimbisibwe

Parents and proprietors of pre-primary schools have asked the government to review its decision and allow them to reopen nursery schools to allow the children to resume learning.

Ms Josephine Kirabo, a mother of one, yesterday said she was forced to privately hire a nursery teacher to coach her three-year-old child who had just started school when they were closed last year following the coronavirus outbreak.

This followed her resumption of work in July yet she didn’t have where to leave her child.

The Makindye resident then opted to be taking her daughter to a teacher in the neighbourhood as she went to work.

“The teacher is in a small room and has other children coming in to spend their day there. There is no enclosure and not enough space for play as you know our slums. But I have to work. So I leave my child behind but with worry. You can’t continue taking children to people’s homes. What if something wrong happens?” she asked.

Her concerns were echoed by Mr Hassadu Kirabira, the Kampala National Private Education Institutions Association chairperson, who said yesterday that in-as-much as the government is protecting the children against contracting the virus, the communities are already mixed up with many parents either inviting private teachers in their homes or taking them to their houses.

“We have been having challenges of illegal schools. The continued closure of nursery schools will encourage many to mushroom. The nursery school teachers have started teaching in their premises not suitable for school setup. This is very dangerous because you can’t account for who is there and the activities being carried out in a private residence. We don’t know what is happening in those homes,” Mr Kirabira said.

But Ministry of Education officials insist children in this category will stay at home until government deems it fit for them to return to school.

State Minister for Higher Education Chrysostom Muyingo yesterday told Daily Monitor that parents should play their role in monitoring what is happening to their children and who they leave them with.

Earlier, Education minister Janet Museveni said because the health guidelines don’t permit children in pre-primary to put on masks as a preventive measure against coronavirus, it is not easy to open their institutions for fear of exposing them.

She further said such children require direct supervision, which encourages close contact with teachers, a thing she says can accelerate the rate of the virus transmission.

In addition, health experts warn that young children suffer high incidences of respiratory infections, which would be worse in the Covid-19 era.

Source: The Monitor

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