On the 16th of November 2022, the Education Ministry of Uganda released the 2023 academic calendar for Secondary, Technical, and Farm schools, Pre-Primary, Primary Schools, and Community Polytechnics.
“The school term will return to standard 12 weeks as opposed to the 14 that were introduced for the 2022 academic year due to the covid-19 pandemic”, said Hajji Ismael Mulidwa Ministry’s Director of Basic Education.
After the Covid-19 lockdown, many students in Uganda stayed home for over two years the Ministry of Education adopted a new calendar.
Furthermore, the ministry projected that they needed at least three years to harmonize the calendar and recover the lost time before returning to normal.
According to the 2023 academic calendar, next year’s first term is expected to begin on February 6, 2023, running for 89 days and ending on May 5. Learners will then go for a 23-day holiday and return for a second term on May 29 which will run up to August 25. The third term will also be the shortest as it covers 75 days starting from September 18 up to December 2nd.
Due to the fact that their starting dates are subject to the release of this year’s national examination and the school selection process that usually follows,
Mulindwa says that the said dates don’t apply to S.1, S5, and year I for Technical/Farm Schools and Community Polytechnics.
He added that they have also cautioned that teaching and learning should start promptly at the beginning of the school terms and that no school is allowed to cut short or prolong them without clearance from the ministry. He further guided that at the beginning of the term head teachers of boarding schools, especially those in Kampala City, Mukono, and Wakiso districts, should ensure that they stagger the starting dates for different classes over the week preceding the official opening and closing dates of the terms.
The Director National Curriculum Development Centre-NCDC, Grace Baguma, says that although the ministry has reverted to the normal calendar, schools are expected to continue teaching using the abridged curriculum.
The curriculum was introduced presumably to fast-track teaching and learning and make up for the time lost during the prolonged school closure triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Baguma stresses that by design, this curriculum should remain in school for three years.
In her lovely words, Janet Kataha Museveni, the Minister of Education, said that the calendar can be subject to change should the country face a crisis over the spreading Ebola virus disease.
The minister continued and noted that to avoid this unwarranted disturbance in the education system, the general public ought to adhere to the set standard operating procedure so that the Ebola epidemic is stopped.
She also appealed to parents to keenly take care of their children during the two months holiday to ensure that they don’t get in trouble and bad behaviour that was witnessed during the covid19 induced lockdown.