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Only 15 students to be allowed per classroom

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In countries like Botswana schools have resumed under tight SOPs

The ministry of Education and Sports has drawn strategies to ensure effective implementation of specific standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the phased reopening of the educational institutions.

The reopening will mainly focus on finalists and candidate classes. The academic year was prematurely cut short on March 18, 2020, as a precautionary measure to control the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Over 15 million learners enrolled in schools at different education levels have been at home since the closedown. 

Now, as everybody awaits the president’s pronouncement on the fate of the 2020 academic year, it is already clear that having all learners back to school this year might be untenable thus focusing on how candidates can return to school. To this effect, the ministry working with the education COVID-19 taskforce has come up with several measures that must be followed in case schools are reopened.

The strategy, still under draft, proposes that the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) reviews the curriculum requirements to ease the burden of full coverage by identifying the essential skills and knowledge that must be achieved in each subject at different levels.  

“NCDC shall also review accelerated learning programmes, some of which have been in use in emergencies in the country for example in refuge schools and advise school accordingly,” the strategy proposal reads in part.  

In the same development, there will be major reviews of the daily school routines to provide for shorter and core curriculum school days with classes scheduled between 8:00 am and 1:30 pm. However, a school with huge candidate classes which cannot be accommodated in available space will have options of teaching either in shifts or an alternate day attendance schedule.  

“Where applicable, the morning shift shall end at 12: 30 pm and the afternoon start at 2:00 pm…An alternate day attendance schedule where different streams attend on alternate days as deemed appropriate in a bid to ensure that numbers are manageable,” the document states barring co-curricular activities with a break taken under the close supervision of a teacher.  

Furthermore, all schools that reopen for only candidates shall operate as day or boarding but not both. However, the document remains silent on other key issues including transportation of learners to and from school and the earlier suggested possibility of conducting COVID-19 test on learners and staff.  

But, the said measures are implemented in addition to already develop SOPs which include; availability of WASH facilities, the two-meter distance between learners, at least 10 to 15 students can be accommodated in a standard classroom for primary and secondary and tertiary institutions and ensuring good ventilation.

Others are; regular disinfection, restricted community access, supervising break periods, and scatter releasing students for breaks, lunch, and going home to limit interaction.  

Dr Kedrace Turyagyenda, the director of education standards, ministry of Education notes that as they wait for the pronouncement on whether the schools should be reopening or not, the inspection officers have already embarked at the dissemination of the SOPs and observing needs of several schools regarding the set measures.  

The inspection team, Dr Turyagyenda adds, they are also advising schools on how they will plan for the teaching of the candidates and timetable drafting among other aspects. She says the SOPs will not change and it is up to the schools to fit in.    

“For now we’re using the partial opening because all along up to this point the thinking is that if we’re to open, for now, it will be partial opening to start with and so we’re using the candidate parameter. We’re saying if candidates are to come, do you have enough teachers spread through and still teach that same class? That is what they are thinking through, how will the timetable,” said Dr Turyagyenda. 

She notes that preliminary results from several districts indicate that reopening for candidates might be possible, however, she notes that there are challenges in both public and private schools including but not limited to lack of basic sanitation facilities and space to cater for the would-be streamed learners. 

“Because all these things are really in our basic requirements. Of course, many schools don’t keep them and that has now been the challenge. If they were meeting the basic requirements even before, we would have a more easier system to run in the crisis. So if schools were meeting the basic requirements it would be much easier now for them in terms of sanitization, in terms of infrastructure.” she added. 

There are concerns pointing to the absence of finance to help schools put in place minimum requirements. However, the government has already received a grant of up to Shs 55.8 billion from the Global Partnership with Education under which they will avail allocation to all government and government-aided schools.  

Meanwhile, the ministry is also preparing to roll out the second phase of the homeschooling programme with the national curriculum development centre currently develop reading materials for the entire academic which will be given out to all learners across the country.

The said programme will be supported by broadcasted radio and TV lessons. Currently, the government has embarked on the procurement process of at least 9 million radio sets to be given to every household and 137,466 solar-powered television sets to villages across the country.

According to the timelines, distribution is expected before mid-September. Several countries like Kenya have since called for a dead academic year while others like Rwanda are still studying the situation to take decisions on whether learners will return to school this year or not.    





Source – observer.ug

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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million

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Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

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2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe

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A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.



Source – observer.ug

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News

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Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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