Town council’s only UPE school struggles to deliver

Pupils attend lessons inside a classroom at Kachungwa Primary School in Kasensero Landing Site, Kyotera District, last month. Local leaders are struggling to run the only primary school offering free education in the area. PHOTO/ANTONIO KALYANGO

What you need to know:

  • Shortage of qualified teachers and decent facilities is hampering the delivery of quality education in Kasensero, Kyotera District.

Solomon Kintu is a Primary Three pupil at Kachungwa Nursery and Primary School in Kasensero Town Council, Kyotera District.
When Kintu passes his final exams this term and joins Primary Four, chances are high that he will not continue with his studies since the school doesn’t have a Primary Four class.
Kintu and other pupils will have to enroll in other schools, which are located 6kms away.

Leaders in Kasensero Town Council told Daily Monitor that they are struggling to run the only primary school offering free Universal Primary Education in the area.
Mr Peter Mugerwa, the school head teacher, said they established the school to help children from less privileged families to attain education, but lack of funds is partly failing their dream. 
The school currently has an enrolment of 80 pupils.

 “We have had several engagements with leaders on how the government can intervene and build on what is available to have a fully-fledged public school, but we are not getting any assistance. When pupils complete Primary Three here, instead of continuing with their studies, many instead join fishing,” he said in an interview on October 16. 
Mr Mugerwa said a shortage of qualified teachers and decent facilities have both complicated the delivery of quality education.

“Our classrooms are in makeshift structures and they leak whenever it rains. We charge very little fees from parents, which enable us to buy scholastic materials and pay teachers’ salaries,” he said.
Mr Joseph Kimera, a councillor representing Kasensero Town Council, said the area has continued to grapple with poor service delivery even after being elevated to a town council.

“We are still relying on Kyebe Sub-county for almost everything. We lack a primary school which can enroll pupils up to Primary Seven and there is also no secondary school in the entire town council. The nearby school is in Nazareth Parish, which is five miles away,” he added. 
 Mr Geoffrey Lutaaya, the Member of Parliament for the Kakuuto Constituency, where Kasensero falls, said the poor education system in the area is the reason the constituency continues to lag behind in terms of development.

“We would like to see every child at school, but currently it’s not possible, they could have enrolled in private schools in other parts of the district, but many parents cannot afford the tuition fees since their sole economic activity - fishing got crippled when the army chased them from the lake,” he said.
 He asked President Museveni to fulfill his promises to the people of Kasensero. 

“It is an obligation of the State to offer basic education to its citizens and our work is to remind them so that they wake up and act. I pledge to follow up on this matter,” he said. 
Mr Lawrence Ssekyondwa, the district education officer, told this newspaper that they have informed the Ministry of Education about existing gaps in the education sector. 

“We acknowledge such gaps as the district, but some concerns are beyond our control. We are still waiting for a response from the government concerning the education plight in Kasensero Town Council,” he said. 
The National Education Policy provides for at least one UPE school per parish and one Universal Secondary School in every Sub-county or town council.
Kasensero, which was elevated to a town council in 2018, lacked a single government school until some individuals led by Mr Mugerwa established one structure to offer free education to children from poor families.

Kachungwa Nursery and Primary School in Kachungwa Ward started as a missionary school under a Pentecostal Church with a nursery section and Primary One up to Five, but in the aftermath of Covid-19, the administration was unable to meet the requirements and decided to struck off two classes. The school currently operates three lower primary