Why Ministry of Education reverted to old school academic calendar

Education Minister Janet Museveni

Education Minister Janet Museveni (PHOTO /Courtesy)

The Ministry of Education has released the 2023 academic calendar. The calendar released on Wednesday is for Secondary, Technical, and Farm schools, Pre-Primary, Primary Schools, and Community Polytechnics.

The Ministry’s Director of Basic Education, Hajji Ismael Mulindwa, says the school term will return to standard 12 weeks as opposed to the 14 that were introduced for the 2022 academic year due to the covid-19 pandemic.

After the Covid-19-induced lockdown that saw learners in Uganda stay away from school for an unprecedented two years, the Ministry of Education adopted a new calendar.

At that time, the ministry projected that they needed at least three years to harmonize the calendar and recover the lost time before returning to normal. However, one year later this has been revised.

According to the 2023 academic calendar, next year’s first term is expected to begin on February 6, 2023, running for 89 days and ending on May 5. Learners will then go for a 23-day holiday and return for a second term on May 29 which will run up to August 25.

As the calendar returns to normal, the third term will also be the shortest term as it was covering 75 days starting from September, 18 up to December 2.

Mulindwa says that the said dates don’t apply to S.1, S5, and year I for Technical/Farm Schools and Community Polytechnics due to the fact that their starting dates are subject to the release of this year’s national examination and the school selection process that usually follows.

Mulindwa also cautioned that teaching and learning should start promptly at the beginning of the school terms and that no school is allowed to cut short or prolong them without clearance from the ministry. He further guided that at the beginning of the term head teachers of boarding schools, especially those in Kampala City, Mukono, and Wakiso districts, should ensure that they stagger the starting dates for different classes over the week preceding the official opening and closing dates of the terms.

Grace Baguma, the Director National Curriculum Development Centre-NCDC, says that although the ministry has reverted to the normal calendar, schools are expected to continue teaching using the abridged curriculum.

The curriculum was introduced presumably to fast-track teaching and learning and make up for the time lost during the prolonged school closure triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Baguma stresses that by design, this curriculum should remain in school for three years.

Janet Kataha Museveni, the Minister of Education, said that the calendar can be subject to change should the country face a crisis over the spreading Ebola virus disease.

Mrs. Museveni notes that to avoid this unwarranted disturbance in the education system, the general public ought to adhere to the set standard operating procedure so that the Ebola epidemic is arrested.

The minister also appealed to parents to keenly take care of their children during the two months holiday to ensure that they don’t get in trouble and bad behavior that was witnessed during the covid19 induced lockdown.

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