Rakai, (UG): The Minister of Education and Sports, First Lady Janet K Museveni has revealed that the government is not ready to take up the responsibility of sustaining students in boarding schools.
Despite the repeated requests by parents and community leaders for the government to build dormitories in government-aided and founded schools as a remedy to girl-children dropout, Janet Museveni indicates that the government cannot afford to meet the cost implications that come with managing boarding sections.
Speaking on Saturday at the launch of the founders’ day of Samson Kalibbala Memorial Seed Secondary School in Lwamaggwa Sub-county, Rakai district, Mrs Museveni said the government is yet to take full responsibility for meeting the cost of students’ social welfare in addition to education it undertook under the universal education policy.
“Boarding sections bring back the stayed responsibilities of sustainability which the government cannot afford apparently,” she stated. “At the Ministry of Education, we have been struggling with parents to provide lunch to students while at school, but it is unfortunate that some children still do not get these meals, and we would want to see this in boarding sections once introduced.”
She explained that the government operates on the policy of having public Primary and Secondary schools at the Parish and Sub-county levels respectively, which allows for deliberate sharing of responsibilities of taking care of the children with parents as opposed to relinquishing them solely to the government, which already has other competing pressing demands.
The Minister was responding to requests by the school Board of Governors that wanted the government to build dormitories at school, to save especially the female students from the burden of walking long distances, something that destructs their learning.
Ali Mazzi the Chairperson Board of Governors of Samson Kalibbala Memorial Seed Secondary schools, argued that despite the great infrastructure and human resource improvements, the school still suffers high dropout rates of girl children, who become victims of early marriages and pregnancies, owing to the risks of walking land distances.
In the circumstances, the Education minister noted that it requires communities to make formal commitments to taking care of the social needs of the children at school if they are to push the Ministry of Education to consider reviews in the current policy.
In the meantime, she challenges parents and community leaders to raise up against all habits that distract students from completing their education, as a way to improve the quality of their lives.
Beti Olive Namisango Kamya, the Inspector General of Government and the Chairperson of the Foundation Body of Samson Kalibbala Seed Secondary School appreciated the government for aiding the school, which immortalizes the dream of her late father who aspired to give education to the community.
Notably in 2015, they handed the school to the government to start running and accordingly, it enlisted to benefit from the Uganda Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers-UgFift program funded by the World Bank.
According to Kamya, the school has since received 2.10 billion shillings for infrastructural development, which has boosted increased enrollment and academic performance.
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