Acholi mps urge parents and management to revamp failing traditional schools
By Polycap Kalokwera
Members of Parliament, MPs, from Acholi sub-region have called upon parents and school administrations, to do more to improve the low enrolment and poor performance in traditional schools in the sub-region.
The MPs, under their body, Acholi Parliamentary Group, APG, made the remarks during their visits to Gulu High, Sir Samuel baker, and Kitgum High Schools this week.
Enrolment and performance in the above schools have drastically dropped over the past years, making parents withdraw their children and take them to schools outside the sub-region.
Hon. Samuel Odonga Otto, the Aruu South legislator, criticized the practice of parents spending huge sums of money in school fees in the central region, saying it is killing the schools that were once among the best performers in the country.
“In is a very wrong mindset that children who study in the central part of Uganda are better off…we have done a survey which shows that every year, parents in northern Uganda pay 13 billion shillings to schools in the Central,” Odonga alleged.
“…but I can predict that children who study in Northern Uganda will be better equipped to face the world,” Hon. Odonga said, while talking to the school administration of Kitgum High School yesterday.
Lyandro Komakech, the MP for Gulu Municipality said the quality of education countrywide is appalling, while in northern Uganda; “we are completely finished”.
“When the school term opens, every parent thinks heaven is in Kampala and that’s where the future of their children is,” Komakech said.
He advised parents to desist from thinking that quality education can only be got in the central region.
The Deputy Head teacher of Sir Samuel Baker School, Richard Okello, told the MPs that the school has only 213 students, which has led to low revenue forcing a half of the 32 teachers paid by PTA money to go for six months wit
“Majority of teachers are demotivated because of financial challenges following the declining numbers of students enrolling, and mismanagement of funds by the previous school management,” Okello said.
Recently, Ministry of Education and Sports gave a verbal go-ahead to the administration of the school to turn it into a mixed day and boarding school, to increase enrolment and revenue. Subsequently, three girls have joined the school to study in the day section.
However, Hon. Simon Oyet, the MP for Nwoya County in Nwoya district, advised the administration of the traditional schools to instead revise the systems and elect more decisive Boards of Governors, to get a holistic improvement in the affected schools.
A section of the academia attribute the decline in the performance in traditional schools to the manner and procedure of recruitment and deployment of teaching and administrative staff.
In most government schools now, government recruits and deploys staff because it controls most of their activities. Boards of Governors, BOG, which in the past included five representatives of the foundation body, which directly influenced by the foundation body and vetted the recruited staff has been forgotten.
Instead, the government sends teachers at will, without them being endorsed by BOG and the school management committees, SMC, of the respective schools.
This, has resulted into poor performance by the staff as the recruiting body is far, and the would-be supervisory body has been rendered powerless; making teachers relax.
The immunity provided by the job security has made the situation worse, because teachers know that even a negative recommendation will only bring any punishment upon them, save having them transferred to another school.