Nationwide School Closure Scheduled for Upcoming Census


Schools and higher education institutions across Uganda will temporarily close their doors to facilitate the national population census. This directive, issued by the Ministry of Education, mandates a halt in educational activities from May 9 to May 20, ensuring that students are available to participate in this crucial demographic exercise.

The communication from Dr. Jane Egau Okou, on behalf of the ministry's higher, technical, vocational education, and training directorate, was released on November 8, 2023. It instructs educational leaders to organize the temporary release of learners so they can be at home for both the census night scheduled from May 9 to 10 and the subsequent field enumeration running until May 20.

The decision has elicited responses from key figures in Uganda's educational landscape, including Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe of Makerere University and Prof. Eli Katunguka of Kyambogo University. Nawangwe has confirmed the university's compliance with the directive, indicating adjustments to the academic calendar will be made. However, Katunguka has expressed concerns over the timing, which coincides with Kyambogo University's end-of-semester exams.

Despite the potential disruptions, the directive has been met with an understanding of its importance for national development. The census, led by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (Ubos), is poised to play a critical role in shaping government policies, electoral preparations, and development plans such as the Parish Development Model (PDM) and the National Development Plans (NDPS).

This nationwide school closure, though challenging for some institutions like Kyambogo University that received the directive late, highlights the collective effort required to conduct a comprehensive census. The Ministry of Education, with endorsements from educational stakeholders, is navigating these challenges to ensure that the census can proceed smoothly, reflecting a prioritization of national needs over the regular academic schedule.

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