The world’s longest school closure ends; Uganda students get back to classrooms after nearly 2-year Covid-19 shutdown

Pupils of Uganda are now ready with their bags and school uniforms to get back to their schools, as the world’s longest closed schools amid the Coivd-19 are gearing up to reopen. In Uganda, almost 15 million pupils have not attended school since March 2020 when classrooms were shuttered as Covid-19 swept the world. 

According to the United Nations, the shutdown in the East African country was the longest disruption of educational institutions globally due to the coronavirus pandemic. The students have greeted their teachers via telephone and outside their schools same as what others have done during their online classes.

When news agency Reuters asked about the excitement of going to school, one of the students of Uganda said, “I am excited that I am going back to school. It has not been easy for me to keep safe at home for this long but I thank God, who has kept me safe.”

There were many students who believed that the closure of their schools for a long time would definitely be going to affect their life especially the girls, they feared they would get married soon. “I am worried as a girl. Without being in school I might be tempted to get married,” Fridah, a student feed of her fortune. 

In Uganda, Universities and higher education students had returned to school in a phased manner, but kindergarten and lower primary students which comprise six million students hadn’t entered the classroom to date, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Education Dennis Mugimba said.

Meanwhile, Child rights groups had criticized Uganda’s decision to keep schools fully or partially shuttered for 83 weeks, longer than anywhere else in the world. “We can’t let this happen again. We must keep schools open for every child, everywhere,” the UN child rights group UNICEF said on Twitter.

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However, in response to the child rights group’s criticisms, Uganda’s first lady and Minister of Education Janet Museveni said the long closure was necessary to protect children and their families as Uganda tried to curb the spread of Covid-19. As per the report by the Uganda government, the country has recorded 153,762 cases of Covid-19 and 3,339 deaths so far and these figures have been issued on January 7.