Experts have expressed fear that the effect of Covid-19 will paralyze private education institutions since most of them are operating on loans.
This was revealed during the high level policy dialogue on National Budget under the theme “fiscal responses to COVID19 economic measures.”
Rev Canon Dr. John Ssenyonyi,the vice chancellor of Uganda Christian University who represented the higher private education institutions said the outbreak of the pandemic had crippled most of private education institutions to the extent that some may not be able to re-open.
He noted that in most cases private institutions are always neglected when it comes to businesses whereby many people don’t understand the value of education as an investment.
“If you don’t educate economists and if you don’t invest in education,then you are actually not doing enough for the country. Education is a long term investment and quite often we think we want to focus on things which bring money quickly,”he noted.
“Most private institutions as we talk about other businesses are quite often forgotten that these are also businesses. They are going to be paralyzed and it’s going to be a difficult time.”
He said the most critical thing at this point in time is for the government to give these institutions tax holidays so that they are able to stand on their feet.
“Many of these private education institutions are actually running on loans. We need tax holidays at least for one year and some are saying for two years. The truth of the matter is that universities are going to close. Some of these institutions have not even paid staff salaries since December,” he said.
He said it’s also important for the universities to understand that the traditional methodology used to teach students are no longer applicable during this era.
“All universities are internationally going online and instead in Uganda we have been told you don’t go online.I think what Covid-19 has done is to expose fragile traditional methodologies,” he said.