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June 13, 2024
Kampala Daily
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Full List: Govt issues stringent guidelines for boarding schools

The Ministry of Education and Sports has set strict guidelines for the management and organization of boarding schools and institutions across the country.

In a circular to all principals of institutions, head teachers of government and private secondary schools, head teachers of government and private primary schools, and proprietors of private secondary and primary schools, the Ministry Permanent Secretary, Ketty Lamaro, said that despite the several communications on the subject, the inspection and monitoring reports still find that most institutions and schools have continued to operate illegally or below the expected standards, which has led to both loss of property and lives in addition to compromising health and sanitation.

“In view of the above, Guidelines for Operating and Management of Boarding Facilities in Schools and Institutions have been reviewed to take into consideration aspects of safety and security. The purpose of this circular, therefore, is to inform you that the Ministry of Education and Sports will carry out an inspection of boarding facilities during the second term, and appropriate actions will be taken against those operating below the required standards,” the circular reads.

FULL LIST OF GUIDELINES

All boarding private schools are required to have a valid registration certificate from the Ministry of Education and Sports.

Schools must have written permission from the Ministry from the Ministry to operate boarding facilities, indicating the capacity, that is, the number of students to occupy a given boarding facility.

Schools must have proof of ownership, lease, or tenancy agreement for the school premises drawn by an advocate or lawyer for schools in rental places.

Schools must also hold occupancy permits for every dormitory, approved building plans, up-to-date daily dormitory registers, safety and security guidelines issued by the IGP, food safety guidelines, minutes of a meeting by SMC/BOGs with a clear resolution on the need for a boarding facility, specific rules and regulations for boarding students, and a and a copy of the BRMS.

Regarding safety and security, schools must have functional safety and security committees, school-based policies on safety and security, lightning arrestors, firefighting equipment like fire extinguishers, water hydrants, sand (refer to BRMS) at least within the dormitories, and CCTV cameras.

The school must be fenced with controlled access and must have a book for registering people who enter and exit the school.

The school must also have contacts for the RDC/RCC, DPC, DEO, DIS, police emergency line, and DHO displayed.

The school must conduct regular fire drills (at least once a term).

Regarding facilities and infrastructure, dormitory premises have separate locations for each sex and separate rooms for each age group with appropriate single or double decked beds only. No wooden beds are allowed.

Dormitories must have emergency exits in each dormitory and clearly marked laundry/washing areas and drying lanes; adequate ventilation and safe lighting; adequate dormitory latrines and toilets within the boarding facility; secure fencing and controlled access; smoke detectors in each room; and user-friendly facilities for SNE such as ramps and toilets.

Dormitories must have provision for hanging clothes, proper electrical wiring with regular power audits, and appropriate space to keep suitcases and metallic boxes of students.

All storied buildings must have emergency exits; no sockets inside the dormitories are allowed; and windows must have no burglars.

Inside the dormitory, adequate space between beds has been emphasized.

The Ministry has also ordered the use of water-based paint in the dormitories.

Regarding the kitchen, the Ministry has directed that the school must have an appropriate kitchen with utensils’ drying racks, appropriate and adequate food storage facilities, appropriate food covers (not polythene or plastic), a displayed menu (evidence of a balanced meal), and school-specific guidelines on food handling.

On the matter of food stores, the Ministry has ordered that they be separate from all other stores.

The school must have adequate food that can last for at least a month, and food racks/shelves (food should not be on the floor).

The school must also have an up-to-date inventory and proper food store records.

Regarding the dining hall and eating area, the school must have a spacious and furnished dining area with appropriate furniture and safe drinking water.

The school must also have adequate toilets and pit latrines at a ratio of 1:40 with shutters, curtain walls, hand washing facilities with soap, and urinals for boys.

Bathrooms must have a proper drainage system with a functional soak pit and must offer privacy and partitioning with curtains or doors.

On matters of waste management, schools must have rubbish pits, dustbins, channels for waste water draining into soak pits, and functional incinerators.

Schools must also have a sick bay operated by a qualified health worker who is registered by the nursing council.

The sick bay must have a disposal system, a well-documented referral system, basic drugs stocked, an appropriate storage facility for drugs, and a and a separate space according to sex (during holidays).

Regarding human resources, schools have been ordered to have a specific senior member of the administration in charge of the dormitories and residents at school.

The minimum academic qualification for a matron is primary seven, and they should be regularly exposed to training on child welfare, protection, and rights.

The minimum age of a matron or warden is 30 years.

Matrons are to be examined medically every six months.

There must be a resident matron or warden within the dormitories.

Schools must have adequate cooks with appropriate uniforms (head gear, apron, and appropriate shoes), qualified health workers, and cleaners with uniforms.

School cooks must undergo a medical examination every six months.

Schools must have guards in place on 24-hour surveillance and working in pairs.

Guards with basic security knowledge should be deployed in the dormitories.

There must be regular capacity building for all non-teaching staff on safety and security.

Regarding support systems, schools have been directed to have psychosocial support programs.

Life skills, for instance, prevention of self-harm and management of peer bullying and adult abuse.

Boarding schools have also been ordered to promote awareness of harmful practices, spiritual and moral care, and personal security.

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