With the national examinations for candidate classes starting next week, there are concerns in Bugiri District that some students have been recruited into the Police Force as constables.
According to a timetable released by Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb), briefings for Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) was to be conducted yesterday, with the exams starting on March 1, Senior Six students will be briefed on April 9 and begin exams on April 12. Those sitting Primary Leaving Examinations will be briefed on March 26, and start exams on March 30.
However, Mr Ali Bukenya, the head teacher of Bukooli College in Bugiri District, told Saturday Monitor on Wednesday that some of his students from candidate classes were recruited into the Police as Special Police Constables (SPCs).
“We always see them in police uniform which I think will affect our performance because we expected some of these students to get first grades,” he said.
Schools were in March last year closed as one of the measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Government, however, later relented and opened candidate classes and morecently, semi-candidate classes which are expected to report on Monday.
Last October, police recruited 50,000 (SPCs) for the 2021 General Election, with Mr Fred Enanga, the police spokesperson, saying they would support the Force in keeping law and order and would be disbanded after the elections which ended on February 3.
Mr James Mubi, the Busoga East Police Spokesperson, however, said they recruited and trained successful candidates before elections when there was no schooling.
“I am surprised with what the head teacher is saying; why is he mixing up things? Did we go to school to pick up students from dormitories to join as SPCs? There was a clear process countrywide. Age limit was 18 to 40 years, so whether the person was in university but was 18 to 40 years, applied and we considered him or her, what is wrong with that?” Mr Mubi said.
He added: “The selection criteria was very open; so you can’t say, ‘I see some of my students in police uniform’. And by then the students were not even studying, by the way. Let the head teacher call back his or her students he is interested in. For us we aren’t holding anybody.”
Schools operating at losses
Meanwhile, secondary school head teachers in Bugiri District say they are operating at a loss during the current (last) term for candidate classes after the government reduced the Universal Secondary Education (USE) grants from Shs14m to Shs9m per quarter.
Mr Ismael Luwangula, the head teacher of Nalubaale Senior Secondary School in Nankoma, said his and most schools are facing challenges, including shortage of funds, poor attendance of students and failure by the parents to pay school fees.
“We are operating at a loss having borrowed some of the school items and are yet to clear the debts. We are appealing to the government to add us more funds to ensure better service delivery,” he said.