Uganda opens schools after two years of pandemic closure

The Ugandan authorities are opening schools that closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic after two years. The UN predicts that a third of children will not return to education. During the lockdown, many millions of young people were forced to work and get married.

– I’m glad to go back to school. It was not easy to stay safe at home for so long, but thank God I was safe, 16-year-old Rachael Nalwanga told Reuters. “I was waiting to go back to school to pursue my coveted accounting career,” she added.

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According to the United Nations (UN), the suspension of schools in Uganda was the longest disruption of an educational institution in the world. The country’s authorities expect a third of schoolchildren before the pandemic will not return to school. The Reuters Agency predicts that this could be a heavy blow to the prospects of a new generation of a country struggling with high levels of unemployment and poverty. Officials base their forecasts on the frequent phenomenon of child labor, as well as the numerous cases of teenage pregnancies and marriages.

Teenagers forced to work, enter into relationships

18-year-old Fridah Namuganza, who is a friend of Rachael, was not among the crowd of young students returning to school. Although she liked biology and chemistry lessons, she “buried” her dreams of becoming a doctor. Reuters said she had found a job to help the family.

The lockdown in Uganda left many families in even greater poverty – people doing odd jobs were left without an income. Now Fridah is concerned about her future. “If I don’t go to school, I’ll be tempted to get married,” she explained. – I work here, and my friends return to school or prepare for lessons. The thought sucks all my energy out of me. I am desperate and angry – she added.

Millions of Children in Uganda Returned to School After Close to Two Years of Closure Due to COVID-19 PandemicReuters

The Reuters agency also mentions the story of Sarah Nakafero, who “got stuck at home” after bonding with a man during the lockdown and found out she was pregnant a few weeks later. The petite 16-year-old avoids leaving her grandmother’s house with her three-month-old baby because of nosy neighbors. – People look at me when I walk by. They ask: is this baby really yours? – she told. “I feel embarrassed, I feel angry,” she added.

School closings, along with other harsh measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus, have helped Uganda keep the COVID-19 death toll low. To date, a country of nearly 46 million citizens has officially recorded 3,300 deaths from COVID-19.

UNICEF: millions of children at risk of losing their right to education

However, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) believes that the closure of schools in Uganda was too long and costly for the country’s children. “Millions of children are at risk of losing their right to education,” said UNICEF’s Ugandan representative Munir Safieldin.

UNICEF predicts Ugandan economic growth and labor productivity will decline as a result of dropping out of education due to a two-year downtime.

Main photo source: Reuters

About Banner Leon

Videogames entered his life in the late '80s, at the time of the first meeting with Super Mario Bros, and even today they make it a permanent part, after almost 30 years. Pros and defects: he manages to finish Super Mario Bros in less than 5 minutes but he has never finished Final Fight with a credit ... he's still trying.

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