The World Today for January 27, 2022


Class is Sort Of in Session


More than half of Ugandan students stopped attending school at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020. Only recently did schools reopen, ending the longest school shutdown in the world. But few experts believe the move will result in much education.

Instead, a third of Ugandan students are expected to remain in the workforce to help their impoverished families make ends meet. “The damage is extremely big,” said the executive director of the education nonprofit Uwezo Uganda, Mary Goretti Nakabugo, in an interview with the New York Times. “We may have lost a generation.”

The social consequences of closing schools for more than a year are proliferating. Unwanted pregnancies, for example, have spiked among girls who might have avoided parenthood if they had been in class, CNN wrote. Teen mothers face higher chances of difficult childbirths and fewer opportunities for educational and economic advancement later in life. An Anglican bishop has called on Catholic schools not to enroll pregnant or breastfeeding girls, for example, wrote the East African, a Kenyan newspaper.

Many schools that were shuttered during the pandemic won’t reopen. In the capital of Kampala, more than 40 schools have closed permanently. Many have been turned into bars, restaurants or hotels, the Guardian reported.

And many teachers are unlikely to return because they’ve found other jobs. Ugandan teacher Florence Nankya turned to begging after her school stopped making payments at the outset of the lockdown. She took out a loan and started a fruit cart business. Now, she’s earning a good living and has reservations about returning to class, according to the Nile Post News, a local newspaper, via

Education is not the only sector where Covid-19 restrictions might be doing more harm than good in the landlocked East African country.

Virus testing fees for truckers caused gridlock on Uganda’s border with Kenya recently, the Associated Press reported. Truckers insisted they shouldn’t be forced to take the tests if they could prove they had tested negative in Kenya. Because landlocked Uganda has virtually no fuel sources of its own, shortages occurred as a result.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s government had to reverse its decision to require passengers to show proof of vaccination to board public transport after widespread criticism of the order and vows of defiance, added Deutsche Welle.

The president’s critics claimed that he could have done more to avert these disasters, the Associated Press reported. It’s hard to argue they’re wrong. An authoritarian who has been in office since 1986, Museveni appointed his wife as education minister.

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