Twelve Primary Schools in Nakaseke District are struggling to operate without funding from the Ministry of Education and Sports for four years.
The affected schools are Bwerampindi, Mityomere, Ngando, Lukumbi, Kagongi, Kimotozi, Natigi, Bulyamusenyu Butalangu, Keshande, Sakabusolo, and Kirangazi primary schools.
They were constructed by Save the Children and Building for Tomorrow, Non-Government Organizations to extend education services in hard-to-reach areas in the district. They were handed to Nakaseke district in 2018 which also applied for codes and subsequently teachers to teach learners in the schools.
However, a report from the District Education department indicates that to date the Ministry of Education is yet to approve the district’s request.
The report further indicates that the slow process has worsened staff shortage in existing schools since the district had to transfer some teachers to work in the community schools till they are coded.
Samuel Bunkeddeko the Chairperson of Sakabusolo Primary School says that the district transferred three teachers to the school until it is coded by the government to make more deployments but they are not facilitated to teach the learners.
” We asked the parents to pay 30,000 shillings for lunch per pupil and cater for salaries of private teachers but this has almost failed over poor response due to poverty in communities,” Bunkeddeko said.
Sakabusolo has so far enrolled 150 pupils and it operates up to the primary five class.
Lydia Nakanwagi the headteacher of Sakabusolo Primary School says that she recruited about four more private teachers to help in teaching learners but sometimes she fails to pay their salaries over low collections from parents.
Nakanwagi adds that she has also failed to get enough recommended textbooks to teach learners which may affect performance at the end of year exams.
In other schools, headteachers who preferred anonymity said that they would rather return to teach at their old duty stations and the new schools close until they get codes.
“Am here trying to work but we have no materials. Sometimes I dig into my own pocket to pay private teachers and buy textbooks. Am tired of working in this school” a headteacher said.
Stephen Batanudde the Nakaseke District Education Officer says that recently more additional information about the schools was sent to Ministry on request and there is a hope that some could be coded so that they can access funding.
Joyce Kaducu Moriku, the State Minister of Primary Education told us that the slow process of coding is always due to inadequate funding needed to facilitate schools.
“We always go slow because we have criteria to follow before coding a school and as well we need funds to run them after being taken over by the government. We need to establish whether schools have structures, land, and pupils among others, ” Kaducu said.
She however promised to follow up on the matter with the commissioner in charge to see whether the Nakaseke schools meet the minimum requirements before they can be considered.
There are currently 940 teachers who are supposed to teach in the 114 government-coded primary schools in the district.
On average each school operates with only eight teachers over teacher shortage notwithstanding those on over sick leave, and maternity among other issues.
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