Provide safeguards to avoid tragic accidents in schools

Monday August 5 2019

A Primary Two pupil of  Sir Apollo Kaggwa

A five year old pupil of Sir Apollo Kaggwa Primary School, Nakasero on Lumumba Avenue, died after a suspected fall last week. PHOTO BY MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI.  

By Editor

Of recent, there have been incidents of pupils dying in freak accidents at different schools. The latest is the incident that happened last week at Sir Apollo Kaggwa Primary School in Nakasero, Kampala, where a pupil in Top Class died.

There have been conflicting narratives for the cause of death. The school management claims that the pupil knocked a table and it hit him.

But five of seven children, who witnessed the incident, told the police detectives that someone pushed a three-legged table that hit him.

The deceased’s mother said her second child, who is in Middle Class at the same school, told them that his elder brother was pushed and tumbled down the stairs of a storeyed building.

Last month, it was reported that a Primary Five pupil of Budo Junior School died in a swimming pool and another pupil in a Kampala school died after she fell from a storeyed building.

In June 2015, two teachers of Acorn International School in Kampala were sentenced to two years and four months in jail over acting in a negligent manner after a toddler under their care died in a swimming pool.

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These incidents should be an eye opener about safety of the learners while in school, which might need to be re-evaluated and it begs for some questions too.

One, should schools have storeyed buildings, especially when the learners are in the lower classes?
Two, what safeguards do schools have to protect the children from the likely accidents as a result of falling off the upper floors?

And three, do school inspectors ensure that certain minimum standards regarding safety are in place?
The likelihood of a child falling off a storeyed building is high given that they play, and many times run up and down.

We ask the school inspectors to pay attention to safety measures schools with storeyed buildings have put in place to guard against accidents just as teachers should also do proper supervision when children are playing and also while out on school organised tours.

It’s disheartening and heartrending for a parent to lose a child he dropped at school in the morning and left in the custody of the teachers.

Given that the numbers in a school may be overwhelming, it is the same reason that school managers should ensure that children entrusted in their custody are safe all the time.

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