Unlike in Uganda where schools remain closed because of the second wave of the deadly COVID-19, schools in Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan and Rwanda have resumed normal lessons.
This has since prompted many of the foreign students to return to their home countries to continue with their studies.
It’s against this background that several Ugandan private schools owners have expressed concern that the country will lose its reputation as a country of choice for international education.
Moses Onyango, the Head teacher of Zana Mixed Secondary School, says they have lost 50 foreign students since the 2020 lockdown.
He says that 42 of the 50 students left the school during the second lockdown. Onyango says the departure of the students is a big loss.
“We had on average 30 international students in each class. We are worried of losing more students if the government doesn’t reopen schools very soon,” he said.
Lawrence Ssemujju, the Deputy Head Teacher of City Hill secondary school also says that they have so far lost five students from South Sudan.
He notes that the resumption of studies in the neighbouring countries is making it hard for foreign students to continue waiting for the reopening in Uganda despite the fact that they cherish Ugandan education.
‘’It is reasonable for the students from the Republic of South Sudan, because they start studies when they are mature,” he said.
Patrick Nyonyintono, the Director of Kann High school, says that although he has not had a huge population of foreign learners, losing out on the few he has is regrettable.
He explains that 11 of the 42 students at his school from South Sudan have communicated their decision to enroll back home in South Sudan.
Mamuch Deng Nyang, the leader of international students at Makerere University confirms the development saying that many foreign students are on the verge of leaving Uganda to continue with their education elsewhere.
‘’When it comes to higher institutions of learning, the situation is still fine but for the lower levels of learning, things are different. Students have run out of patience hence going back home to continue with their studies,” Mamuch said.
Meanwhile, Education Consultant and retired education civil servant Fagil Mande discourages schools administrators from getting worried about departing foreign students. He encourages schools to concentrate on offering quality education especially when it comes to skills, noting that this will force the students to return.
“It’s just a matter of consistency and working towards ensuring quality education, with just a matter of time they will return in yarn for that quality education,” he said.
Foreign students are one of the key sources of income for Ugandan students. Private schools cherish them because their parents usually pay upfront and don’t cry out for fees deductions like their Uganda counterparts.
Let’s focus on discovering children’s’ inner worth and building them.