Mbale SS staff live in dilapidated houses

One of the staff quarters of Mbale Secondary School on Nabigyo Lane, Northern City Division in MBale City.  PHOTO/ Yahudu Kitunzi

What you need to know:

  • The head teacher, Mr Moses Buyera, said on Monday that teachers are staying in the condemned houses.

Mbale Secondary School, one of the traditional education institutions in eastern Uganda, is struggling with dilapidated staff houses, lack of enough laboratories and teachers.
The school, founded in 1954 by the colonial government for the Asian community, is science-based with a student population of about 4,600 students.
The head teacher, Mr Moses Buyera, said on Monday that teachers are staying in the condemned houses.
“The school is overwhelmed by challenges of inadequate staff houses as most of them were condemned in 2008 and should have been demolished by now,” Mr Buyera said, adding that the school has no capacity to renovate the dilapidated houses.
Mr Buyera further said some of the houses, which were given to school staff in Indian quarters in 1972 when Asians left the country, have been grabbed.

“From 2004 and onwards, some of the leases expired and some people connived with officials in the Ministry of Lands to grab some of the houses,” Mr Buyera said.
The school has 205 teachers and only 40 of them are accommodated while others are sharing. Of 205,  a total of 110 teachers are on payroll while 95 teachers are not.
The school in the 2021 Uganda Certificate of Education examinations registered 108 students in Division One while two students scored 20 points in Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education examinations.
Mr Buyera said the government should invest more in the school to cause social transformation.
“The existing laboratories and a library are small and yet we are a science-based school. We need more facilities,” he said.
Ms Agnes Akello, an old girl of the school, said the government should support the school, saying it has grown into an academic giant.

“Some of the existing permanent structures were built by the Indians and some by parents through lobbying. Government should play a part as well,” Ms Akello said.
Mr Steven Masiga, the director of Makerere University Mbale Centre, said the school has produced leaders, who have caused economic development yet it has been abandoned.
Mr Edward Mashate, an old student and expert on tourism and climate change, said the school was built to deliver quality in science teaching.
“It became one of the leading secondary schools in providing education to Asian and senior civil servant families in the early 1960s and has struggled to preserve its performance,” Mr Mashate said.
Mr James Kutosi, the spokesperson of Mbale City, said staff houses were condemned by the city authorities.
“The houses should be rehabilitated because they are not in good condition. Alternatively, they should demolish the buildings for safety reasons and reconstruct better ones,” Mr Kutosi said.

Other city officials such as Mr Abdullah Magambo, the deputy speaker of Mbale City, said teachers deserve better accommodations and welfare.
“The government is paying teachers peanuts on top of denying them accommodation,” Mr Magambo said.
A teacher who spoke to this publication on conditions of anonymity because he’s not authorised to talk to the media, said they have written to the Ministry of Education several times about their plight but they have not received any positive response.
“Even some officials from the ministry visited the dilapidated houses to assess the situation but nothing has been done,” he said.

Mr Phillip Agama, a teacher at Namakwekwe Primary School, said the school’s academic performance started to improve between 2008 and 2017 after Mr Sam Kuloba, now Commissioner for Secondary Education, was posted as headmaster.
“The previous years, Mbale SS was performing poorly because of many factors ranging from the administration, poor motivation of teachers, and indiscipline, among the students,” he said.
However, Mr Kuloba said the government has plans to renovate, rehabilitate and expand traditional schools in the country.
“We are going to renovate traditional schools in the country and Mbale SS is among them,” Mr Kuloba said. 

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