The Ministry of Education and Sports has released a revised academic year calendar that will be followed by all educational institutions for candidates and final year students upon reopening.
The Academic Year was prematurely cut short on March 18, 2020, as a precautionary measure to control the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Since then, over 15 million learners enrolled in schools at different education levels have been at home.
The revised calendar drafted by Alex Kakooza, the Education Ministry Permanent Secretary, and shared with concerned parties affirms that primary, secondary, technical/farm schools, and community polytechnics will reopen for a second term effective October 15, this year.
According to the calendar, the second term will run until December 19, when students will break off for a 23-day holiday which will end on January 10, 2021. This means that they will have covered over 75 days (10 weeks) at schools which is close to the usual term. The third term will begin on January 11 also running for the 13 weeks ending on the last day of April 2021.
Kakooza emphasizes that as finalists and candidates return to school, lessons should start promptly focusing on syllabus completion in time so that learners are ready for their respective national examinations. He adds that boarding schools and institutions may arrange to receive learners starting on Saturday 10 October 2020 to Sunday 11 October to stagger arrivals for large enrollments and avoid crowding.
“To further reduce the potential risk of transmitting infections at school, no official visitation/ career days are allowed until further notice. There shall also be no school or inter-schools sports or co-curricular programs or competitions,” the document reads in part. He also advises that school might have fences to limit access to the schools.
Registration for Primary Seven, Senior Four, and Six candidates will take place between October 22 and November 20. Senior four students will be briefed for examination on 26 February, and thereafter sit for the final Uganda Certificate of Education-UCE examinations starting March 1 until April 6, 2021.
Their primary counterparts will undergo a briefing on March 26 and write Primary Leaving Examinations in the following week on March 30 and 31, 2021 while senior six candidates will be briefed on April 9 and start their respective examinations on April 12 to May 3.
In the same development, students at Mulago Health Tutors’ College, National Instructors College, National Teachers’ Colleges, and Primary Teachers’ Colleges will also report on October 15 spending six to seven weeks while completing their corresponding syllabus. In December this year, the students will sit for final examinations and then teachers from the several colleges will be deployed for their final teaching practice in what will be the third term.
June and December finalists in Nursing and midwifery and allied health institutions who will return much earlier on September 28 will study for 49 days before writing their examination which will be held between November 16 and 20. After the said examinations, the December cohort will go for their last semester studying from November 27 up to March 19, 2021.
Finalists in Technical institutes and schools will start their second term as and will have assessments between December 14 and 18 break off for 16 days and return for their third term on January 4, 2021. On return, they will have classes for another 9 weeks before sitting for their examination that will be held between March 9 and 19, 2021.
Kakooza says the dates indicated may be varied on an individual basis, after obtaining written permission from his office on recommendations of respective Directors of Education as the case may be. He also warns institutions from teaching during the designated holidays.
“No teaching shall take place in any institution during designated holidays without the written permission of the permanent secretary. Also, note that violation of this calendar shall invite disciplinary action against headteachers, and schools,” he warned.
However, the said calendar doesn’t apply to private and public universities save for Kyambogo University which is responsible for teacher education in PTCs and NTCs. The ministry has also issued several guidelines to offer actionable guidance for safe reopening and running of education institutions and reduce the impact of the pandemic on teaching and learning.