HOW EBOLA LOCKDOWN AFFECTED STUDENTS, TEACHERS AND SCHOOLS

HOW EBOLA LOCKDOWN AFFECTED STUDENTS, TEACHERS AND SCHOOLS

By Goodluck Musinguzi

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni announced a lockdown in Mubende and Kassanda districts because Sudan ebola virus infections were increasing and threatened to spread throughout the whole country. The month of October is very critical in the education calendar as its the last for class work before November National Examinations.

Students and teachers in Mubende and Kassanda districts struggled to reach schools for Primary Leaving Exams, and Uganda Certificate Exams as police enforced Ebola lockdown measures. 

Teams and other partners sensitized schools after recording a positive Ebola case in one of the Mubende schools. The district, together with neighbouring Kassanda was under a 42 lockdown effective Oct.16. 

National Results are out and show a slight decline in the performance of candidates in Mubende District who sat last year’s Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) examinations but have been partly blamed on the Ebola epidemic-induced lockdown.

However, school administrators and district leaders said the two-month lockdown posed challenges for both candidates and their teachers.

At St Andrew Kaggwa Madudu Secondary School located at the former Ebola epicentre in Mubende, only two candidates scored first grade,  nine got  second grade, 19 were in third  grade and 32 students in  fourth  grade out of the 69 candidates.

 The school management said some teachers failed to get transport to the school during the lockdown and yet they had not completed the O-Level syllabus.

 Compared to the past two years, the school posted a slight decline in performance after recording three first grades in 2019 and five first grades in 2020. The Ebola epidemic almost paralysed all school activities for the third term, but one of the students, Ms Kezia Namuganyi, scored Aggregate 27 despite the challenge, the school administrators reveal.

 At Mt Zion Secondary School in Mubende, which had 160 candidates, 32 got first grade, 42 were in second grade while 86 passed in third grade.

 According to the head teacher, Mr Dickens Ssebugenyi, the results are good, considering the conditions under which candidates sat the exams.

“This is a good result. We never expected this result because of the many challenges that came with the Ebola virus disease. Our best student Ms Patience Nalukooya scored Aggregate 14 for the best eight subjects,” he said.

 At Kasenyi Senior Secondary School, a government-aided school at Mubende Municipality, 66 candidates passed in first grade out of 347 candidates.

 Mr John Nzirabakunzi, the head teacher at Kasenyi SS, said more than 90 percent of the 2022 candidates passed the exams amid challenges.

 “We were lucky that none of our candidates contracted Ebola although several were affected by its associated challenges both at home and in school,” he said.

 Mr Asaph Kaabunga, the education officer of Mubende, said the results  reveal a slight decline partly caused by both the Covid -19 and the Ebola virus lockdowns.

 Mubende District was the epicentre of the Ebola Sudan virus disease that hit nine districts in late 2022.

The Ministry of Health reported that the outbreak started in Madudu Sub-county, Mubende and then spread to districts of Kassanda, Kyegegwa, Kagadi, Bunyangabu, Wakiso, Jinja, Masaka and Kampala.  When Uganda was declared Ebola free on January 11, a total of 143 cases were confirmed and 55 deaths recorded.

Nationwide, 349,459 candidates registered for the 2022 UCE exams. Out of these, 46,667 passed in division one and 76,745 in second division while 15,756 failed the examinations.

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