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Universities to suspend evening lectures



Kyambogo expects 11,943 finalists to start lectures on October 19.As Ugandans prepare for the re-opening of education institutions for candidates and final year students in October, several universities have suspended evening classes, in order to allow students to beat curfew time.According to Kyambogo University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Eli Katunguka, the university has always had three sessions of examinations, starting from 8.00 am to 7.00 pm.However, he said the current circumstances dictate having only two examination sessions, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon, in order to cater for curfew time.”We have developed a time table that will limit teaching students in the evening, when universities reopen,” Katunguka told a press conference at the university main campus in Kampala.Since it is only final-year students who will report at the university, Katunguka explained that students will be taught in the morning and afternoon in order to allow them to go home early. Kyambogo expects 11,943 finalists to start lectures on October 19. Teaching will take four weeks, after which exams will be administered for two weeks, beginning November 16.President Yoweri Museveni ordered the closure of educational institutions, alongside places of worship, in March this year, among the numerous control measures against COVID-19.An estimated 15 million learners in 73,240 institutions and 548,192 teachers were affected.Following the phased lifting of the partial lockdown, Museveni recently extended curfew time from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, to give citizens ample time to reach their residential areas. Last week, the President also okayed academic institutions to re-open for candidates and finalists, starting October 15.Other universities that confirmed the suspension of evening lectures due to the curfew include Clarke, Kampala and Uganda Christian University.”Students who have been studying under the evening programme will be shifted to the weekend programme, so that they are not disturbed by the curfew,” Julius Ssekatawa, the public relations officer of Kampala University, said. Ssekatawa said the university will have only the weekend programme and the regular programme, which will cater for day students.To fulfil the standard operating procedures issued by the Ministry of Health, Kampala University has encouraged students to buy their own masks.According to Frank Obonyo, the communications officer at Uganda Christian University, only 20% of the finalists will reside at the university since 80% of the students are studying online.”We are working with an internet service provider to log on students so that they can access university Wi-Fi wherever they are. Since all our students have e-learning accounts, students access exams on their e-learning platforms,” Obonyo explained.However, for students who cannot log in, Obonyo said their class representatives send their exams via email.According to Peter Odoki, the spokesperson of Makerere University Business School, since evening programmes end at 9:30 pm, the modality of evening programmes is still being worked out. Odoki said they plan to have temperature guns and sanitisers at all access points of the campus.Rose Clarke Nanyonga, the vice-chancellor of Clarke International University, said: “Until curfew time is adjusted, we are not able to run classes in the evening. Majority of the evening students are going to be integrated into the day schedule.”Since Victoria University does not have evening classes, Bill Nkeeto, the acting vice-chancellor, said the university will continue with the online classes. Rehema Kantono, the spokesperson of the Islamic University in Uganda, said for evening students, there are discussions to have the end time-shifted from 10:00 pm to 8:00 pm.To implement the COVID-19 prevention guidelines, Kantono said they have put in place temperature guns at every hostel, in addition to asking students to report with at least four face masks. They will also screen all students before they enter the university, she said.Though most universities are not in position to conduct day and evening lectures because of curfew restrictions, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the vice-chancellor of Makerere University said: “We are ready for all classes, day and evening.”

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