Religious Leaders, Heads of Schools decry  poor infrastructure, plead for Gov’t Support

Religious Leaders, Heads of Schools decry  poor infrastructure, plead for Gov’t Support

By Our Reporter 

Mbarara – Diocesan education coordinators (DEC) from the the 37 Dioceses of Uganda alongside heads of schools under the foundation of Ankole Diocese have pleaded for government support to improve the status of poor schools.

The diocesan education coordinators who camped in the diocese for about three days on a benchmarking trip or mission specifically to monitor and inspect education services in the area.

During the inspections, it was realised that some of the schools in the diocese are doing better as far as academic performance is concerned.

However it was also found that there is lack of government support whereby some of the schools have not got enough structure to accommodate the population of the school learners and the staff.

A team that was headed by Rev. Dr. Grace Paul Kakooza, the Director of Church of Uganda Education Services was able to move around Ankole Diocese where they monitored and inspected about six schools that included three secondary schools, two primary schools and one Farm Institute.

Among the schools that were visited included Mbarara High School, Mbarara Junior Primary School, Kashaka Girls SS, Kakigani Primary School, Rwampara Farm School, and Katanoga Secondary School in Isngiro District. All these are under Ankole Diocese Foundation and government aided schools.

According to Rev. Dr. Kakooza, he said that they have come to Ankole Diocese as a team of education coordinators from all the 37 dioceses that make the province of the Church of Uganda.

That they have come on a benchmarking trip which they planned during their annual retreat in Luwero this year. He said that Ankole Diocese is a model diocese particularly in the area of education.

“When we viewed our strategy mandate we realised that we need to do something especially on our agenda to develop model schools and in the area of of supervision and inspection of schools, so Ankole Diocese has had a good testimony and we came here to see how things are done and how they sponsor their inspectorate department and how they have been about to nature model schools.

That’s why we have come here to draw lessons and to see how we can adopt the areas of learning in our different context from the diocese that everybody is coming from” said Rev. Dr. Kakuru.

However, some of the schools that were visited for example Kakigani Primary School, Katanoga SS, Kashaka Girls and Rwampara Farm School were lamenting on how government has not fully supported them.

Jolly Natukunda, the head teacher Kashaka Girls raised her concern accusing the government that it has not been able to put any infrastructural development on the place.

On behalf of the school and parents, she pleaded to government to at least consider and put one extra block particularly Science block of the school because they have difficulties in teaching girls science especially in this world of science era.

She added that Kashaka girls had been partly supported by the Ankole Diocese and parents. That every structure at the school is the effort of parents yet the school is also considered as government aided.

Naboth Nuwamanya, the Principal Rwampara Farm School also revealed that there is still little support from government considering the challenge of poor infrastructure in technical and farm schools.

He pleaded that there is need for  government to facilitate infrastructural development, training materials and making education free and compulsory in technical and farm institutes so that all dropouts are stopped to enhance these schools produce graduates who are competent, competitive and confident to fit in the world of work.

Rev. Draonzi Caleb, the Education Coordinator Arua Diocese said that it’s good the government has tried to fund and put some money to support UPE and USE but the problem is that funding is not enough. That if parents were not to make pay extra money, there would a problem in running the schools.

He also criticized politicians who always politicise the issue and discourage parents from paying the fees in USE and UPE schools when even government itself has not raised enough money.

Rev. Alfred Tumushabe, the area Archdeacon of Kaberebere, and the vice chairman of the Board Katanoga SS revealed that the school has been in existence for about nine years but it has never got any support from government apart from the grant of three years ago of paying the teachers.

There is no electricity to support improvement of the school as far as academic performance is concerned.

Bishop Sheldon Mwesigwa of Ankole Diocese trashed the complaints from parents and the heads of schools towards pleading for government support.

He said that parents and the teachers do not have to wait for the government support, that they must put their efforts first for the benefit of the children.

Dr. Mwesigwa added that people have to be sensitised, to change the mindset, people to know that education is a very valuable commodity that is needed to put effort in.

That many of the parents, Head Teachers and Teachers have all relaxed on education.

“I must tell you that the government is often very far from where activities of education are taking place.

Therefore if you are a Parish Priest, you are a lay leader the school is next to you, if things are going wrong you have to know, please be concerned about the education of the young people in their communities.

It may not be millions, its just whatever little it will be, it will make the difference in the life of the teacher, in the life of the school because we’ve noticed that UPE and USE and even when government supports, there are some things they don’t support, so let’s take the opportunity as parents to support schools and that way it will bring about some good results,” said Bishop Mwesigwa.

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