GEMS International School succumbs to COVID-19 lockdown

GEMS Cambridge International School

GEMS Cambridge International School

The Gems Cambridge International School in Kampala is yet another non-medical causality of the COVID-19 lockdown after its management announced that they will close shop at the end of this year.

The school, which has been rendering services to the education sector since 2013 sees no future as their ability to sustain operations have been severely impacted by the lockdown, coupled with lower than expected growth in the student enrollment. Riz Ahmed, the chief executive officer of Gems Africa, says that the operations in Uganda will end on December 31.

“As a result of these circumstances, we have been forced to make some very difficult decisions, and 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,” Riz said in a letter to parents and teachers.

The elite school which boasts of providing quality education and raising opportunities for hundreds of students has informed the parents that their children can continue learning through term one with the option of enrolling in the remote learning offering at Hillcrest International School in Nairobi, Kenya.

Besides parents and students, the closure will as well affect the staff who will soon join the thousands who have lost their jobs during the pandemic times and lockdown. However, Riz notes that they will fully be paid as per their contracts.

“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,” the letter adds.

Gems Cambridge is just one of the many schools that will not be able to reopen when the lockdown on schools is lifted. Many other schools around Kampala and the country at large are still sceptical about their future, yet others have already been sold off and some proprietors have redesigned their infrastructure into rentals and business buildings.

There has been a call to save the private schools which are currently undergoing financial crisis by offering them stimulus packages in the form of grants, loans, and tax waives. School proprietors have also advised the government to reopen schools as the best means to ensure that they keep in business.

© 2016 Observer Media Ltd