Covid-19 Crisis: GEMS Cambridge International School Closed

The prominent GEMS Cambridge International School, Kampala (CIK), is closing due to Covid-19 Crisis.

The school, which attracts kids of Kampala’s wealthy elite, said it was unable to continue operating in the country due to the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“… the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to affect families, businesses and whole industries around the world – and our school is no exception. The pandemic and the resulting uncertainties have proved exceptionally testing, and our enrolment numbers have been severely impacted as well as our ability to sustain our operations, despite our best efforts,” said Riz Ahmed, Chief Executive Officer, GEMS Africa, in a letter to parents this Tuesday.

“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,” he added.

The development underlines the impact of the the novel virus on Uganda’s economy.

Many parents have been struggling to raise large sums of money in school fees for their kids at GEMS with some being dragged to courts to recover unpaid dues.

Depending on the grade (from kindergarten to secondary level) annual fees at GEMS range from 6,000 USD to 17,500 USD.

An application fee of 350 USD also applies.

The closure of the school means parents/guardians of students looking elsewhere for Cambridge education.

A Cambridge education prepares students for life, helping them develop an informed curiosity and a lasting passion for learning. Cambridge Schools say they can shape a curriculum around how they want their students to learn, helping them discover new abilities and a wider world.

Cambridge students are widely accepted in top study destinations worldwide, such as the US, UK and Australia, as well as in many other countries.

Riz said the decision to close the Uganda branch 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. We have communicated this at the earliest possible time after exhausting all options. We know it will cause disruption to you and your family, and we will do whatever we can to lessen the impact and ensure the upcoming transition is as smooth and seamless as possible,” he said.

Affected students have been asked to remain with the school through Term 1.

“Alternatively, we are making available the option of enrolling at Hillcrest International Schools, Nairobi, Kenya, either at the beginning of term 1 in September 2020 through remote learning or for term 2 in January 2021 through remote learning or physical attendance at the school premises. Years 7 to 13 students will be offered boarding options when the physical school premises reopen in Kenya; this is expected to be at the start of term 2 in January 2021,” said Riz.

GEMS Cambridge has been operational in Uganda since 2013.

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