Busoga schools defy Museveni on lunch fees
Posted Saturday, December 28 2013 at 02:00
Defying presidential order. Officials in the district resolved that parents who do not pay money for their children’s meals be charged with child neglect.
Policy makers and implementers in Jinja District have resolved to ignore President Museveni’s directive to schools under the Universal Primary Education (UPE) not to levy meal charges.
During the launch of the Busoga Women Leaders’ Association in Budondo Sub-county on December 8, President Museveni ordered for an investigation into reports that schools were forcing parents to pay for pupils’ meals at school. He called for severe action against the culprits, saying he introduced UPE for the poor to access education.
However, during a meeting by the Uganda Network for Empowerment of the Marginalised Child and Youth (Nemacy-UGANDA) on Monday, the participants voted to ignore Mr Museveni’s directive.
Spurred by Butagaya Sub-county chairperson Abdallah Suuta, the group which comprised Inspectors of schools, education officers, sub-county chiefs, teachers’ representatives and representatives from civil society organisations, argued that failure by parents to pay for their children’s meals is one of the causes of poor performance in UPE schools.
“When Nemacy-Uganda carried out a survey under its programme of ‘Improving basic access to primary education’, it was discovered that schools which do not feed pupils perform poorly. We, therefore, must compel parents to pay for the meals,” Mr Suuta told the meeting. He said his council had already resolved that parents pay Shs4,000 and contribute four kilogrammes of maize towards each child’s feeding.
The meeting endorsed a proposal that rather than arrest school leaders who levy feeding charges, parents who do not provide for their children’s meals be charged with child neglect.
The chief executive officer, Nemancy, Mr Felix Willy Ngobi, advised stakeholders to think of introducing projects that would enable schools produce food to feed their pupils.