Kampala Teachers wishing to conduct lessons during holidays can now do so, but after seeking clearance from the Education Ministry, an official has said. We are advising teachers who are willing to carry out holiday teaching to come to the ministry and seek permission from the permanent secretary and director of the Education Standards Agency, Mr Aggrey Kibenge, the ministrys spokesperson, told Daily Monitor yesterday. The announcement, made a few days to the end of the first academic term this Friday, will give relief to some schools that had taken to covert means of conducting holiday classes. The ministry has previously banned holiday classes, with Minister Namirembe Bitamazire threatening to revoke licences of schools found breaking the rule. She blamed schools for mismanaging official time and trying to make up for lost hours during holidays. But Mr Kibenge said the straight beneficiaries in the new arrangement would be schools that are used as marking centres for national examinations. Because they have to host examiners, most of the centre-schools close early, especially in third term. The spokesperson added that schools affected by disasters like the Bududa landslides would also get the greenlight to hold classes. For those that do not fall in these categories but wish to hold classes, they must seek permission with strong reasons for doing so, he clarified. Punishment threat Those teachers and head teachers who will contravene the policy will certainly face the music, he said. ESA will monitor all schools during the holiday and ensure that no school operates outside the ministrys guidelines. The spokesperson also urged parents to ensure their children are not taught in insecure and unhealthy environs. Education experts argue that denying learners rest during holidays might in the long run affect their concentration and performance. Proponents of holiday learning, however, point to wide syllabi and cut-throat competition, calling for excellent grades to gain admission to tertiary institutions. Mr Fagil Mandy, an education expert, says the policy is welcome for schools that were affected by disasters. If the school was involved in disturbances like the Bududa incident, I would see that as an exception and can conduct holiday coaching , said Mr Mandy. But there were mixed reactions from school heads and teachers over the proposal. The students after studying for the whole term at least need a rest and one month I think is not so long, said Mr Bruhan Mugerwa, head teacher, Kawempe Muslim. But Mr Remmy Mauso, the Hilton High School director of studies, said the idea is good. It will help us finish the syllabus on time, he said. In 2008, the government temporarily closed 11 schools in various districts and sent students home for defying a standing policy that bars holiday teaching. The second school term begins on May 24.