SCHOOLS SHOULD OPEN THIS YEAR FOR PROMOTIONAL EXAMS
The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) would like to advise the Covid 19, National Task Force, Ministry of education and Mr. Museveni to consider re-opening primary and secondary schools this year to enable students sit for promotional exams.
Schools can open as early as mid-October to complete this academic year’s syllabus and sit for promotional exams in mid-December. Topics not handled during this Covid 19 education transition period, can then be carried forward.
The FDC disagrees with Museveni’s school opening date of January 2022. The education sector has been disoriented by the lockdowns which require a transitional period to streamline it.
The proposal to study in shifts is not workable because of inadequate classrooms in both public and private schools.
The ratio of teacher to students also poses another headache. What the country needs to remember is that teachers are required not only to teach but to set tests and mark them periodically. This require a lot of time.
Teachers cannot handle two classes created by the shifts proposed by the Ministry of education. We will end up with unassessed students.
There is absolutely no way schools will handle two senior ones, two senior fives, two primary ones etc.
Promotional exams must therefore be done this year to avoid a possible stampede at the resumption of schools in January.
To meet the challenges the lockdowns have imposed to the education sector, the country needs a full time minister who is ready to be in the field identifying problems and suggesting solutions. Museveni’s wife is busy and inaccessible to handle this crisis. If a ministerial appointment, is one of the marriage gifts, Mr. Museveni can give his wife a less demanding ministry such as ministry without portfolio.
Already the government in its annual performance report, reveals that the set targets in education were not met. The report discussed recently at a retreat at the Prime Minister’s office concluded that education service delivery is poor. About 50% of UPE pupils still fail literacy after 6 years of schools. We must therefore not mess up with education. Messing up with education means dropping out. According to the government annual performance report, the number of children aged 5-17 who are engaged in child labour has increased from 27% to 28%. These figures are in the official government annual performance report and they are hiding them from the public.
Reports that vaccines are about to expire in stores are worrying but of course expected. You can imagine these vaccines are being donated to us but we are failing to administer them on time.
In our earlier briefings, we demanded for a vaccination plan. We knew that this government was incapable of rolling out a mass vaccination campaign, if we didn’t put it under maximum pressure and early enough.
But even after doing so, you wake up to reports of vaccines that about to expire. Once again, Mr. Museveni, we ask you to share your vaccination plan with the country if you have any. Our demand is that all students especially in tertiary institutions must be vaccinated at their respective institutions. Universities must now be turned into vaccination centres. We must create and deploy mobile vaccination teams throughout the country. For God’s sake, you don’t begin planning upon arrival of another donation. With millions of doses beginning to arrive, we may have many expiring, if we don’t wake up this sleeping government.
The proposal of the FDC was to even hire private clinics to participate in the vaccination campaign once the vaccines arrive. We even suggested registration of all intended beneficiaries and to advise them of the locations where they can be vaccinated. As it turned out, no plan was issued.
CONTINUED KIDNAPPING AND DISAPPEARING OF PERSONS BY THE MILITARY
The FDC condemns the continued kidnapping of persons by the security agencies especially the Chieftaincy of the Military Intelligence (CMI) and Police counter terrorism squad.
The latest victim is Makindye West MP Allan Ssewanyana who was kidnapped last week after he was released by the High Court. Four days later, his whereabouts at least according to his lawyers is unknown. This is barbaric and unacceptable.
Today, we read in the newspapers that the manager of Kasamba buses Mr. Swaleh Tinka who has been missing for 14 days has finally been found in Mbuya at the Chieftaincy of Military Police. For 14 days, he has not been taken to court in total violation of the Constitution.
We also read about the arrest of Ms Jane Ngabire of Rwandan origin picked again by CMI from Munyonyo and her family cannot locate her. She was even made to abandon her three years child in the house.
The FDC is not against arresting of any person. The due processes of the law must be respected. Persons arrested must be produced in courts of law within 48 hours and they must be accessible by their next of kin and lawyers. Civilians must not be detained in military dungeons.
And persons released by courts of law like in the case of Hon. Allan Ssewanyana, must not be kidnapped. This undermines the Judiciary and Rule of Law in the country. There must be a difference between bijambiya men in Masaka and security agencies of the state. Isn’t that what Museveni promised recently? May be because of his age, he has already forgotten.
The Kidnapping of Hon. Ssewanyana is in line with Museveni’s aspirations of denying suspects bail which he has canvased on for a very long time. Let Museveni be bold enough and change the Constitution to remove the provisions that allow Court to grant suspect bail. Alternatively he can overthrow the Courts of Law and replace them with Court Martial, a system in which he acts as a Chief Justice.
Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda