Bukedea school where six classes share open room

Teachers at Acomai Primary School conduct lessons on September 23, 2022. PHOTO/ SIMON PETER EMWAMU

What you need to know:

  • The school has been operating in the makeshift structure for more than 10 years.

A makeshift structure that houses six classes at Acomai Primary School, six teachers take turns to teach about 150 pupils of the government-aided Acomai Primary School, which is located about 40 kilometres north of Bukedea District headquarters.

Hardly a metre separates the classes, meaning noise from one class interferes with the other. This is the study environment teachers and pupils here have endured for 10 years. 

During the wet season, floods from River Sironko often complicate accessibility to Acomai as well as Tajar Primary School for both learners and teachers. Both schools are located in Kamutur Sub-county. 

Some learners fish at the bridge that connects to Tajar Primary School. PHOTO/ SIMON PETER EMWAMU

Mr Samuel Okere, the deputy head teacher of Acomai Primary School, told this newspaper in an interview last Friday that the school has operated under this structure since its inception in 2012, when it was opened to cater for families displaced by cattle rustlers. 

Mr Okere said the previous three weeks presented the biggest challenge as they had to close the school because of flood waters.

“As we speak now, the pit latrine is still filled up with water, but since it is the only one we have, that is where we run for help,” he said.

Mr Okere said of the seven teachers they have, four of them commute from the neighbouring Bulambuli District where they could find suitable accommodation. 

“The other three operate from Kolir Town Council, which is even harder to reach because of the pathetic road, which is often water logged,” he explained. The head teacher said like the children, the teaching staff go without meals throughout the day.

Also, the school’s only borehole broke down seven years ago. “Every teacher has to carry his drinking water from home,” he said. 

“We don’t wish to operate under such conditions. Last year, we were promised houses by the Speaker of Parliament but because of the unpredictability of the water flow, work has not taken shape,” he added. 
Mr Charles Olupot, another teacher, said when there is a downpour, lessons are postponed.

He asked the government to construct one more classroom block and more staff quarters.
“We commute every day from Bulambuli, and Kolir to teach here. The nearest distance is eight kilometres. By the time you reach here, you are exhausted,” Mr Olupot said.

At Tajar Primary School, the four classroom blocks have developed cracks as a result of continuous flooding during the wet season. 

Mr Simon Okere at the school borehole. PHOTO/ SIMON PETER EMWAMU

Mr James Okello, a teacher, said whenever it threatens to rain, they suspend lessons and send the children home. 

“Those classroom blocks have cracks, we can’t risk people’s children to take shelter in there,” he said. 
Mr John Ojakol, the secretary for education at Kamutur, said of the seven schools in the entire sub-county, four do not have teacher accommodation.

The district chairperson, Mr Moses Olemukan, said the issue of Kamutur roads, especially those leading to the Acomai, Tajar and Amujeju, need a bigger intervention from Office of Prime Minister because the district budget is small. 

Mr Olemukan also said the two schools need a big investment infrastructure, such as setting up teachers’ houses and better classrooms.