Police probe death of student over subject combination row 

Kampala Metropolitan Police Deputy Spokesperson Luke Owoyesigire.

What you need to know:

  • The father, however, says school should be held responsible for the death of the student.

Police are investigating circumstances under which a student of Wampeewo Ntakke Secondary School in Kasangati Town Council, Wakiso District, allegedly died by suicide.

According to police investigations so far,  the student, 19, was allegedly forced to switch from Mathematics, Economics, and Geography/ICT, (MEG/ICT), her preferred subject combination, to Biology, Chemistry, and Mathematics (BCM) as allegedly advised by the mother.
Her family, however, suspects foul play since her body was found outside the school premises yet she was admitted to the boarding section.

Kampala Metropolitan Deputy Police Spokesperson Luke Owoyesigire, in a statement issued yesterday, said investigations indicate that on the evening of June 7, the student allegedly escaped from the school through the main gate. The school has about 1,500 students in the day section.
Her body was, however, found on a tree in Kyanja in Walufumbe Zone II on June 8. She was allegedly in her school uniform.
“The deceased was a Senior Five student in stream “B” doing Biology, Chemistry, and Mathematics (BCM/ICT) and wanted to change combination... which the mother never liked,” Mr Owoyesigyire said.

Police said the student allegedly contacted the school counsellor, Mr Charles Zziwa, for further guidance. Mr Zziwa allegedly referred her to the deputy head teacher’s office, which  summoned the mother to the school on the morning of June 7.
 However, the duo allegedly failed to agree, according to police, prompting the student to escape from the school after her mother left. 

We were unable to speak to the mother by press time.
In an interview with NTV, however, the student’s father, Mr Peter Kisitu, claimed his daughter’s body had wounds on the back and that the school should be held responsible.
“And besides, no representative from the school attended her burial or even offered assistance for her burial. The school should be questioned,” he said.
Mr Kisitu did not speak about the subject combination allegation.

Subject combinations offered at the Advanced Level determine a student’s career path.  BCM would enable one study medicine at university, among others. 
The Monitor  was yesterday not allowed access to the school premises.
A lady who operates a shop near the school, who preferred anonymity to speak freely, however,  said they heard from the school teachers that the subject combination was not in the student’s capabilities.

 “The mother wanted her to become a doctor but the daughter wanted something else,” the woman said. 
  Mr Mike Ssekago, the head teacher, declined to comment on the issue saying he was still held up at the police station sorting out some issues.

Ms Juliet Muzoora Atuhairwe, the Commissioner for Government Secondary Education, said a subject combination should be based on a learner’s ability, interests, and prospects.
“They [parents and guardians] can support them but they should not force them to do what they want against their ...interests,”  she said.

Dr Dennis Mugimba, the Ministry of Education spokesperson, called for career guidance and counselling.
“A critical part of a journey is the parent or the guardian. They know a little more about the child’s abilities that the school may not appreciate,” Dr Mugimba said.

He added:“Subject combination is a choice for the learner and their parents. And this shows the importance of a supportive learning environment in a student’s learning process.” 
Mr Fredrick Kiyingi, the Wakiso District education officer, said schools should start sessions to educate parents on subject combinations.