Kasese District leaders have appealed to the government to have their schools included on the list of hard-to-reach areas so that their teachers can benefit from the risk allowance.
According to the leaders, most parts of the district are largely mountainous with many lakes and rivers, making access to social services such as schools and hospitals difficult.
This, they said, also complicates the plight of the teachers who have to access these places by foot.
While pouring out their grievances to State minister for Higher Education John Chrysostom Muyingo last week, the leaders said the extra allowance would address the teachers’ accommodation and transport needs.
Kasese Deputy Resident District Commissioner Joshua Masereka and the district education officer, Mr George Mayinja, told the minister that most schools are in a sorry state and need special consideration from the government if they are compete with others across the country.
Mr Nason Kinyambururuma, a teacher at Mahango Primary School in Mahango Sub-county, told the minister that he used to spend Shs20,000 on transport to reachschool from his home in Kiteso Village, Kasese Municipality.
Mr Kinyambururu said because of high transport fares, he would sometimes abscond from duty and this was affecting the syllabus coverage of his Primary Five and Primary Six classes.
He explained that staff quarters at the school were all occupied and he could not afford rent.
“Because of long distances, sometimes I would reach school when I am tired and very late,” Mr Jeremiah Muhindo, who teaches at Kyamiza Primary School in Muhokya Sub-county, told the minister.
Mr Muhindo said since school has no staff quarters, he had to walk a distance of 15kms to school.
Dr Muyingo and a team of officials from the ministry were in Kasese to assess the impact of floods on schools in the area. The team also sought to establish why the district has performed poorly in academics in the last five years.
Dr Muyingo promised to address the issue of teachers’ allowances when he meets other stakeholders in the ministry. He also said the government will rebuild all schools destroyed by floods before schools reopen.
“I have tried to access where these schools are; personally I feel that if there is any area to be considered to get hard-to-reach allowance, Kasese qualifies very well. I am going to include it in my report and persuade whoever is responsible to consider,” the minister added.
Kasese is vast and there are proposals from the leaders to split into five districts.
The biggest area is covered by rivers, Mt Rwenzori, three water bodies (lakes George, Edward and Kazinga channel) and three national parks (Queen Elizabeth, Mount Rwenzori and Kibale). The highlands such as Mahango, Kitholhu, Kilembe and Karusandara are usually slippery due to floods, making it very hard for public transport.