For ⅔ of our students, January 10, 2022 marked the first time back to any kind of school since March of 2020, when students were sent home after only a month of school. Without access to remote learning, these students were out of school for the past two years. BOHC candidate students taking exams– those in Senior 4 and Senior 6– had a little school, but their class-time was very interrupted:
- March 2020: all students were sent home after only a month of attending school.
- October 2020: BOH was finally able to reopen but only for “candidate” classes, levels S-4 and S-6 students,to prepare to take national exams.
- October 2020 – February 2021: All faculty were needed for this reopening, which meant sustaining all staff salaries with 1/3 of the tuition income. Fitting the entire year’s learning into five months was challenging!
- February – April 2021: Candidate students were able to take national exams.
- Early June 2021: The second shutdown began, and BOH closed again to all students.
- October – December 2021: Donor generosity made remote learning possible for the candidate students. Thank you!!
- January 2022: Schools across the country resumed to full reopening on January 10, 2022 and Uganda’s economy was fully re-opened on January 24, 2022.
After so long out of school, many students have become “lost learners”. Uganda’s Ministry of Education estimates that fully 30% of learners did not return to their classrooms in 2022. BOH is currently only at 72% enrollment. Many former students now work to provide extra income to their families during the recession. Other students are married and/or pregnant. Nationwide, teenage pregnancy went from 1 in 4 young women to 1 in 3. Parents are also finding it increasingly difficult to pay tuition, as inflation is high, and commodities are extremely expensive. Basics like sugar, soap, cooking oil and fuel have nearly doubled in price. All of this will pose a challenge as BOH seeks to increase enrollment!
Impact on Campus Today
For the students who have been home for a long time, the transition to the disciplined schedule of a typical school day has been a challenge. The first few months of the school year have been spent settling the students; only now do BOH teachers report that students are at last able to focus and study properly.
Though the pandemic has been challenging, the BOH community is delighting in being back together, and enjoying learning very much. With the economy open and vaccines increasingly available, the mood in the country is positive. Despite many difficulties still to overcome, hope runs high. Please pray for BOH students and their families, as well as school faculty and staff.