As Uganda’s Schools Reopen, Museveni’s Education Promises Ring Hollow

As Uganda’s Schools Reopen, Museveni’s Education Promises Ring Hollow
Pupils attend class at Kitante Primary School on the first day of classes after a 22-month pandemic closure, Kampala, Uganda, Jan. 10, 2022 (AP photo by Hajarah Nalwadda).

In March 2020, before the first COVID-19 case was even recorded in Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni went on national television to announce a country-wide closure of schools. Calling schools the “perfect grounds for new infections,” he said he was making the “move early to avoid the stampede.”

Most of the country’s classrooms would remain closed for 22 months, one of the longest COVID-related shutdowns in the world.

They finally reopened in January, and educators are still assessing the fallout. First-year primary school classrooms are overflowing with three-years’ worth of pupils, while secondary school campuses have been drained of students who found jobs or got married or pregnant and decided not to return. Teachers who didn’t abandon the profession for a more stable income are struggling to adapt to the two-year gap in lessons.

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