Buliisa struggles to offer quality education
Posted Friday, September 27 2013 at 01:00
Buliisa- Classes were going on well at Kijangi Primary School until it started raining.
Lessons for the P3 class which are conducted under a tree ended prematurely as teachers and pupils ran in disarray to seek shelter in other classrooms.
The government-aided school has six classrooms out of the required seven, the schools’ Parents Teachers Association (PTA) chairperson, Mr Wilbert Mbihya, said.
The P3 class lessons used to be conducted in a two-classroom block whose roof was blown away in 2010 when a heavy hailstorm hit the school.
Whenever it rains, lessons in P3 and P2 classes come to a halt. P2 is affected because the class normally accommodates the P3 pupils when lessons are interrupted. This is not the only school affected by inadequate and poor facilities in the district.
Various schools lack safe drinking water, adequate toilets and other sanitary facilities partly due to the inadequate funding to the education sector.
Partly influenced by the poor teaching and learning environment, some pupils have dropped out of school and opted to get married, go fishing, work in farms or engage in trade.
The Buliisa District chairperson, Mr Fred Lukumu, acknowledges that the education sector has some challenges but said that there are efforts being made to address them. He said parents, development partners and other stakeholders are being mobilised to support the education sector.
World Vision Uganda, an international humanitarian agency, has constructed some classes, offices, provided water and scholastic materials to schools in the sub-counties where it operates.
Out of the Shs2,919,127 that was budgeted for in the education sector in the 2012/2013 Financial Year, the district had spent Shs1,374,606 by June 30, 2013.
The district has budgeted for Shs3,181,105 for the education sector in the 2013/2014 Financial Year.
Whereas they joined the ongoing nationwide strike demanding the 20 per cent salary increment promised by government, teachers in Buliisa District want government to address other challenges which they are facing like offering accommodation in schools to reduce the distances they travel to report for duty daily.
The Bunyoro Affairs minister, Mr Ernest Kiiza, who met the striking teachers in the district, highlighted the value of education in the country’s development.
“Government has set up required structures in schools and more will be constructed in this financial year,” the minister assured teachers and political leaders of the district.
The teachers also complained about irregularities on the government payroll saying many of them are unfairly and irregularly deleted from the payroll which makes them to miss their monthly salaries.
Others alleged that they get partial salary payments out of what they are entitled to.
“Government understands the challenges you are going through. Renew your commitment towards work as government works on your plight,” Mr Kiiza said.
He said as part of the efforts to avail finances to teachers, government has injected Shs5 billion in a Sacco which teachers in the entire country can access for credit and invest in income generating projects.
Other educationists challenged government to consider providing meals to teachers at school as a motivation.
“If we mobilise parents and district leaders support this initiative, we can provide lunch and breakfast for our teachers,” the Buliisa County MP, Mr Stephen Mukitale, said.