The government has warned head teachers against defying its policy of automatic promotion of students, saying they risk disciplinary action.
The warning was sounded at a two-day Senior Five selection exercise as news filtered through of the death of a Senior Three student at Trinity College Nabbingo.
It was reported that Mariam Kamwaka, committed suicide after she was advised to repeat S3 because she had failed to attain the required aggregate to be promoted to S4.
It is understood that parents were invited to the school last week, and after a two-hour discussion, it was agreed that the student repeats S3 in order to improve her grades.
However, it is alleged this did not go down well with the student who was later found hanging by the mattress string in one of the school dormitories on Thursday morning.
Mr Francis Agula, commissioner secondary education Ministry of Education, told school administrators their actions were causing a lot of problems some of which are now starting to show up.
He insisted forcing a child to remain in a class doesn’t only waste the parents’ resources but also the government.
“I sound a warning again to you head teachers. Register all your S4 candidates. You cannot have this child from S1 up to now and you begin telling them that they cannot meet the school standard.”
“That is wrong and a waste of government and parents’ resources. We are going to establish the truth. This won’t be tolerated,” Mr Agula said.
Dr Yusuf Nsubuga, the ministry’s director of basic education, did not have kind words either.
He said some head teachers were acting unprofessionally and are irrelevant to those they lead as students can no longer trust them.
“Some of you are behaving as if you are not parents. You don’t have skills in counseling. You are becoming irrelevant and unhelpful to students. When some students come to you and tell you what they are going through, you share it on assembly the next day. The students then become frustrated. That is why they don’t come to you. The death of this young girl could have been avoided,” Dr Nsubuga lamented.
“There are many children whose parents have separated. I don’t know what was going wrong with this young girl but there is a lot of frustrations in our community. If you don’t have a permanent councilor, I implore you to hire one for at least two days a week.”
A total of 124,334 students were placed in A-level schools, technical and teachers’ training colleges.
Education minister Jessica Alupo said the government is working hard to see that the mind-set of teachers changes who will then guide learners towards choosing subjects that are relevant in the job market.