Floods force closure of six schools in Ntoroko

Masaka primary school in Ntoroko District is one of the schools submerged by floods. Photos | ALEX ASHABA

What you need to know:

  • The Ntoroko District Education Officer, Mr Masereka Mubaraka, said these primary schools will remain closed until the flood waters recede.

The authorities in Ntoroko District have been prompted to temporarily close six primary schools, leaving over 1,000 stranded.

This was after floods took a toll on the schools namely; Masaka, Budiba, Masojo, and Bwizibwera in Butungama sub-county, as well as Kiraga and Haibale in Rwebisengo sub-county.

The Ntoroko District Education Officer, Mr Masereka Mubaraka, said these primary schools will remain closed until the flood waters recede.

"The learning situation in Ntoroko is in a dire state. We have had to close a total of six primary schools due to severe flooding, rendering them inaccessible. Our current plan is to explore the possibility of finding an alternative location where we can set up tents for the pupils to do their end-of-year exams,” he said.

The closure comes at a time when schools across the country were expected to close for the third term on December 1st.

Mr Masereka expressed concerns about the potential closure of other primary schools in the Kanara sub-county, such as Rwangara and Kachwakumu, as these institutions are also on the brink of submersion due to rising water levels from Lake Albert.

People using the boat in Butungama sub-county, Ntoroko district on Tuesday after floods hit the area. Five schools have been closed. Photo | ALEX ASHABA

"We need support from the government and other development partners to formulate effective plans for the district, ensuring that our pupils can return to school next year when schools reopen for the first term,” He said.

Since October 2019, persistent floods from Lake Albert have displaced communities. For instance, Umoja Primary School has been particularly affected, with pupils since the reopening of schools after Covid-19 are still studying in a makeshift tent provided by UNICEF as the school buildings remain submerged.

Mr Alex Kigenge, the Headteacher of Masojo Primary School said: "After the PLE, our initial decision was to close the classes for lower pupils in P1 and P2. We then proceeded with the upper classes. However, as the situation persisted, parents and stakeholders collectively requested the school administration to close the school. We brought this matter to the attention of the District Education Officer (DEO), who approved our request."

Mr Paul Asiimwe, the Headteacher of Rwangara Primary School, mentioned that last week, the school concluded the end-of-third-term exams, prompting the decision to send all pupils home due to the imminent threat of floods submerging the entire school.

The Chairman of Ntoroko District, Mr William Kasoro stated that approximately 15,000 people in five sub-counties; Butungama, Rwebisngo, Kanara, Bweramule, and Kanara town council—have been displacement by the floods.

"As a district, we couldn't afford to wait until we registered casualties, particularly among pupils commuting to school amid the floods. For instance, immediately after the PLE, Masaka Primary School was closed as water inundated the classrooms," he said.