Education Ministry halts transfer of Mbale School head

Commissioner Special needs (Ministry of Education), Sarah Bugoosi (left) and the Minister of State for Higher Education, Chrysostom Muyingo, appearing before the Committee on Education on Wednesday 30 August 2023

Kampala, (UG): The Ministry of Education and Sports has stopped the controversial transfer of the head teacher of the Mbale School for the deaf.

The Ministry recently posted Dismus Wandulu to the school of the deaf, removing Sister Rose Nelima, despite ongoing investigations by the Committee on Education and State House Anti-corruption Unit.

The LCIII Chairperson, Busoba Sub County in Mbale district, Obed Mwiri petitioned Parliament, seeking a halt of the transfers, alleging political influence from the Commissioner of Special Needs at the Ministry of Education, Sarah Bugoosi.

The Minister of State for Higher Education, Chrysostom Muyingo, together with the Commissioner of Business Technical and Vocational Training, Safinah Museene and Bugoosi appeared before the Committee on Education to respond to the petition on Wednesday, 30 August 2023.

Museene said that Wandulu was among those vetted and found capable of heading the school, but added that his transfer will be halted until the investigations are concluded.

“It is unfortunate that the transfer letter came in during investigations. We can halt the transfer until investigations are complete,” said Museene.

Muyingo said that the Ministry will investigate allegations against the Commissioner, who is accused of fuelling conflicts between deaf students and those who hear.

“I am happy that the transfers have been halted. We shall wait for the committee’s report because it will help us to put our house in order,” said Muyingo.

He added that the Ministry engaged other stakeholders, including the Equal Opportunities Commission and preliminary findings indicate that there were traces of bad blood between the school administration, the Board of Governors of the school and other Ministry officials.

“The Commissioner, Special Needs Education and the former Chairperson Board of Governors were the ones fuelling disputes in the school,” Muyingo said.

Lawmakers agreed with the EOC’s findings and called for the investigation of the Commissioner.

Hon. Richard Wanda (NRM, Bungokho Central) pointed out that the removal of the former head teacher casts doubts on the Ministry’s commitment to the continuity of the school, saying that during her tenure, the school made progress.

“The Nun was headhunted because of her experience. Why transfer someone who is well-experienced and replace with someone who is not experienced? The Nun has attracted more funders and that is why interests are now growing,” Wanda said.

Hon. Charles Onen (Indep., Laro-Pece Division) asked the Minister to remove Commissioner Bugoosi from the Ministry since she has been implicated in causing the conflicts.

“Investigations into the matter started but the Commissioner is still making transfers. I propose these transfers should be cancelled,” said Onen.

The Commissioner however denied the accusations, saying that she is implementing decisions undertaken by the Ministry.

“I do not have any friction with the school. I have visited the school many times and I have not caused any commotion,” said Bugoosi.

Mbale School for the deaf is a special needs government-aided school located in Bunambutye Parish, Busoba Sub County, Mbale district. It was started in 2008 as a Presidential initiative to provide secondary education mainly for students with hearing impairments.

The school has faced a number of challenges arising from management and administrative disagreements, since 2020, with allegations that the Commissioner was fuelling the conflicts.

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