UGANDA, Kasese | Real Muloodi News | Dilapidated structures in Kasese District are endangering the lives of pupils in schools founded by the Church and taken over by the government
Teachers say the conditions of some schools in Kasese District are deplorable. Not only are the structures dilapidated, these schools lack adequate space, infrastructure, and staffing, leading to pupils’ underperformance.
Harukungu Primary School in Isango Sub-County in Bukonzo West County has only two classrooms, woefully inadequate for the 434 pupils at attend there from Primary One to Primary Seven.
The School headteacher, Mr John Baluku, said that Primary One, Two, and Three pupils conduct their lessons from All Saints Harukungu Church since the school is located on the church compound. The lessons for the three different classes are conducted under one roof, leading to pupils’ loss of concentration.
Further, the school’s only latrine is shared between the 434 pupils and the teachers.
“The school has one latrine with eight stalls which we share with teachers and because we don’t use padlocks, we find ourselves fighting for space, especially after lunch hours. But others ease themselves in the bush,” said Melvin Asimawe, a Primary Six pupil.
Kisabu Primary School is another school in Kitholhu Sub-County that has been left with dilapidated semi-permanent structures after some of its structures were destroyed by floods in 2020.
The school has 315 pupils with only one permanent classroom block that accommodates two classes and the office of the headteacher.
Tarpaulins were provided by Save the Children to put up makeshift classrooms, however these have now deteriorated.
“We appreciate Save the Children (a Non-governmental organisation) that provided us with tarpaulins to put up makeshift classrooms. But they are now worn out and in a sorry state to accommodate pupils,” said Mr Josephat Muhindo Kamukade, the headteacher.
Furthermore, the teachers and parents at Kisabu Primary School add that the learners are underperforming because of understaffing.
St John’s Kamasasa Primary School in Karambi Sub-County has dusty classes that expose learners to jiggers. The community school has more than 300 pupils.
The school has a permanent classroom block with five rooms and a semi-permanent classroom block.
At King Adams Model Nursery and Primary School, classes up to Primary Five have more than 100 pupils studying in partially grass-thatched classrooms.
Ms Gloria Kabugho, a teacher at the school, said the learning environment is not conducive during the rainy season as the roofs leak and the school compound floods, making it difficult for pupils to attend classes.
“When it rains, no child turns up for classes because of the mud in and outside the classrooms. The few who come study while standing,” she said.
Other primary schools in the district, including Nyidango, Kithobira, Kalingwe, Muyina, Buzira, Bughema, and Kasingiri, lack adequate infrastructure, facilities, and space.
Rev Asa Masereka Kiriaghe, the South Rwenzori Diocesan Education Coordinator, said that most of the schools lack staff quarters, and the classrooms are inadequate compared to the overwhelming number of pupils.
He and other stakeholders have called for the government’s intervention to refurbish and equip these schools, construct more classrooms, and provide staff quarters.
He said: “Most of our schools lack staff quarters and the classrooms are even few compared to the overwhelming numbers of pupils. Most teachers who cannot afford to rent near the schools walk long distances and this affects their performance as well as the teaching process.”
The Kasese District Chairman, Mr Eliphaz Muhindi Bukombi, said that limited resources limit interventions, but plans are underway to construct more classrooms gradually.
“We are planning to construct more classrooms in our schools. But we may not be able to do it at once as a local government,” he said.