Fate of street children is not our job — Janet

Wednesday May 15 2019

A street child on Yusuf Lule Road in

A street child on Yusuf Lule Road in Kampala last week. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA 


Kampala- The Ministry of Education and Sports has said the mandate of removing children from streets lies with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development before they are received in schools.

Ms Janet Museveni, the minister of Education, made the remarks on Monday during the National Resistance Movement (NRM) manifesto week where she shared her ministry’s achievements in the education sector and the setbacks.

In a question-and-answer session with journalists, she said there was not any interventions outlined for children on the streets because it is outside her ministry’s mandate.

“That one is not with us. Most of you know that street children lie with the Ministry of Gender. It is not under our mandate to deal with street children, unfortunately. That is why I didn’t say anything about it,” Ms Museveni, who also is the First Lady, said.

Last week, Bbosa Kizito, the manager for Loans and Scholarships at the Higher Education Students’ Financing Board, told employers that there is need for their intervention in recovery of loans from the beneficiaries.

The board is targeting employers to help government recover the loans from the students who benefited.
He said from their data, 38.6 per cent of students who received government loans are from western Uganda, followed by 26.1 per cent from eastern while central took third position with 24.8 per. The northern region students accounted for 10.5 per cent of the loan beneficiaries.

The government loans are meant for science students.
“We want all children in all corners of the country to get higher education, skills and make a contribution to the economy. We are doing badly on gender ratios. There are fewer girls doing sciences. Parents encourage your daughters to enrol for sciences so that we lend them the money,” Mr Kizito appealed.

He added: “Regionally, we are not doing well. Do something to the north. Tell them to go to school because we consider those who have applied. In central, most boys have gone to ride boda-bodas and most girls got married. The western people are sending children to school and enjoying. The community should get concerned and ask those children in the market why they are there when they are of school-going age. In our time, everyone was your parent. Today, they look on. Recently, we were in Karamoja, I saw the Karimojong old and young on the streets begging. It is a whole generation wasted. Why are those children on the streets? Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) should do something.”

However, Ms Harriet Mudondo, the KCCA director in-charge of Gender, Community Services and Production, yesterday said their challenge is that every time they remove the street children, there are new recruits that are brought back.

“We rescue children from the streets regularly. On average, 100 children are rescued at every operation. The challenge is that they keep coming back from Karamoja, Mbale and Jinja. When you remove them today, the next morning you find new ones,” Ms Mulondo said.
The ministry of Education permanent secretary, Mr Alex Kakooza, said the public schools are ready to receive them once the children have been removed from the streets.

“The mandate of making sure children get off the streets is the mandate of ministry of Gender. Our job is to make sure the schools are ready to receive them. When they are still on the streets, they fall outside our responsibility. Our schools are waiting for them when Gender [ministry] has taken them off the street,” Mr Kakooza said during the NRM manifesto week.