Students, Teachers Accepted to Use Public Transport Following SOPs

  • by Rodney Mponye
  • October 7, 2020
President Yoweri Museveni has given an all-clear to teachers and learners to use public transport so long as they observe the recommended coronavirus disease (COVID-19) standard operating procedures.As part of the guidelines for reopening schools, the ministry of Education and Sports recently barred teachers and learners from using public transport including taxis, vans, and bodabodas when schools reopen for finalists and exam students on October 15.

The ministry advised parents without private cars to enroll their children in schools nearest to their homes in the meantime to mitigate health risks, avoid unnecessary costs, and inconveniences of long-distance travel to schools. Even schools vans were limited to a five-kilometer radius.

Museveni however has now expressed divergent views on the matter. Museveni says that if the set procedures in communities, public transport, and schools are observed, there is no reason as to why learners and teachers cannot use them.

“Even you teachers, when you’re coming from where you’re staying, don’t agree to sit in a vehicle which is crowded. And if they give you problems, think of how you can improvise because these are just candidate classes, not the whole school. For instance, like for me, I have been in quarantine now for 7 months here. I don’t leave from here. So if for some reason the teachers who are not so many in the school, can you camp near the school because some of the school buildings are not being used now. Why can’t the teachers if you fear to go and come back, why can’t you use those empty classrooms and sleep near the school and teach?” Museveni said.

The president made the remarks during the World Teachers Day celebrations held at State House in response to concerns raised by Filbert Baguma, the general secretary Uganda National Teacher Association (Unatu) who wondered how government expected teachers who don’t have staff quarters to operate without public transport.The president advised parents and the community to ensure that public transporters observe the SOPs to the dot for the good of their learners and the entire community. Museveni also challenged teachers that they can as well look at other possible alternatives either by pitching camp at schools given the fact that some of the classrooms will not be in use or find nearby places where they can board.

Meanwhile, Museveni also suggested the creation of a unified salaries’ board to ensure equity in the allocation of salaries by teachers to resolve the salary enhancement woes that come up every year. He also argues that this will also benefit other government employees.