GEMS Cambridge International School (CIK) has become the first education institution to officially acknowledge that it has lost the battle to COVID, and will cease operations in Uganda.
The School’s administrator made the announcement in a statement to the public saying the pandemic has adversely affected their enrolment which has rendered them unable to sustain operations.
Riz Ahmed ,the Chief Executive Officer, GEMS Africa, said they have no option but to close by the end of this year, I.e December 21, 2020.
“During this period, we have continuously looked to raise the quality of education and opportunities for our students and we feel very fortunate to have educated hundreds of students over the past seven years,”he said
Ahmed however, said they can’t move on with the normal programmes since the pandemic is continuing to affect families, businesses and whole industries around the world and their institution is no exception.
“The pandemic and the resulting uncertainties have proved exceptionally testing, and our enrollment numbers have been severely impacted as well as our ability to sustain our operations, despite our best efforts,”he said.
As a result of these circumstances, Ahmed said they have been forced to make some very difficult decisions.
“It is with great sadness that I am writing to advise you that CIK will close after the first term of the new academic year, with 31 December 2020 as a tentative closure date,”he noted in a statement.
“This decision has been an incredibly hard one to make and comes as a last resort. Over the summer period, we have been assessing the impact of the pandemic whilst exploring options with our regulators,”he added.
He said the decision made may cause significant disruption to parents and the students at large but the school will do whatever it takes to lessen the impact and ensure the upcoming transition is as smooth and seamless as possible.
“We welcome our students to remain with us through term 1 with the option of enrolling in the remote learning offering at Hillcrest International School in Nairobi, Kenya either now or at the start of term 2,” he said.
Ahmed urged his staff to continue working and serving the school through until its closure date.
“For the remainder of your employment and during your notice period, you will be paid at the full rate of your salary, as per your employment contract,”he noted.
News of the closure of GEMS, one of the most prominent international schools in Uganda, will likely send shock waves in the education fraternity as a reality check on the impact of the disease on the sector.
But it is hardly the last, as the impact of the pandemic continues to unfold across the economy.
A number of private schools have reportedly been been, closed due to rent arrears, others have been taken over by money lenders, and some have been put up for sale.