Kabale government school in ruins

Pupils of Murungu Public Primary School enjoy break time on September 25, 2023. PHOTO | ROBERT MUHEREZA

What you need to know:

  • The school currently has an enrolment of about 230 pupils with only five teachers on the government payroll, including the head teacher.

Murungu Public Primary School, a government-aided school in Rubaya Sub-county, Kabale District, is on the verge of collapse with acute shortage of teachers. 

The semi-permanent buildings were constructed by the parents using mud and wattle 23 years ago and are no longer fit for learners’ use.

The few available teachers are struggling to offer quality services to the pupils as most of the classroom blocks are dilapidated and fitted with few twin desks.

Murungu Public primary School is on Murungu hill off Murungu-Musamba Road and it is adjacent to Lake Bunyonyi in Murungu Village in Rubaya Sub-county, which is approximately 40K/m from Kabale District headquarters.

It currently has an enrolment of about 230 pupils with only five teachers on the government payroll, including the head teacher.

Mr Titus Keinika, the head teacher, and the chairman of the school management committee, Mr Innocent Turyatunga, in an interview with the Daily Monitor yesterday, said the school was constructed in 1999 through fundraising from the parents.

Learners were trekking for more than four kilometres to access the nearest primary schools of Musamba, Kitooma and Kabirago as they risked their lives to cross Lake Bunyonyi in dugout canoes.

“Parents raised money to buy a five-acre piece of land on top of Murungu hill. Their objective was to bring education services nearer to the pupils. Using mud and wattle, the parents constructed six classrooms before they employed private teachers,” the chairman of the school management committee, Mr Innocent Turyatunga, said.

“Because the cost of paying the private teachers and running the school activities was high and the desire to have permanent buildings was growing to march with the growing school population, in 2000, the parents lobbied Kabale District Council to consider taking it up as a government school, an idea that was fulfilled in the same year,” he said.

The government later took over the school and teachers were put on payroll.

“Ever since the school was taken over by the government, no single classroom block has been constructed. When we raised the red flag about the poor infrastructure, the government constructed a five-stance pit-latrine for the pupils and the head teacher’s house, whose sitting room acts as a staff room. Both teachers and the pupils use the same pit-latrine. Our school requires immediate rehabilitation,” Mr Turyatunga added.

The chairman of the Parents Teachers Association, Mr Robert Kamugisha, said they mobilised parents to construct four-permanent classrooms.

“Due to financial constraints, the parents failed to complete these classrooms that are now on the wall plate. Recently, Kabale District local government managed to provide 40 iron sheets that roofed only two classrooms. Given the heavy rains, some classrooms might be washed away. We need about 70 pieces of iron sheets to prepare for this,” Mr Kamugisha said.

During the second term holidays, the walls of the structure that accommodates Primary One and Primary Two pupils collapsed due to heavy rains.

Mr Keinika said there is need to increase the number of teachers from five to at least 10 to cater for the planned Primary Seven class and the nursery section.

He named other challenges they are facing that include lack of clean water for drinking and solar lighting system to facilitate teaching because during the rainy seasons, they experience darkness. 

Others include shortage of staff houses as teachers stay in their homes that are far away from the school premises, lack of latrine facility for teachers, lack of a playground where co-curricular activities can be conducted and limited classrooms and twin desks.

Mid this month, Kabale District Council passed a resolution to construct a four-classroom-block at Murungu Public Primary School and other developments that will be funded during the Financial Year 2024/2025 after the district councillor for Rubaya Sub-county, Mr Kenneth Twijikye, presented the sorry state of the school.