Funding Shortage, Apathy Weigh Down Kitgum Deaf Children's School

2239 Views Kitgum, Uganda
The only school for deaf children in Kitgum is struggling. Glory Special Needs Primary School in Kitgum town has an enrollment of 120 students, but only three classrooms. It has no electricity and so when night falls all activity stops because teachers and students are unable to use sign language in the dark. Samuel Ouma, the headmaster of Glory Special Needs Primary School, says his school does not have the money to pay for more classrooms and a power connection. He says the school, which is seven years old, is reaching out to the community in Kitgum, the Ministry of Education and well wishers to help it expand and improve its facilities. Ouma says he fears for the safety of his students in the dark and is unhappy that they are unable to get the most out of their school experience. In addition to the problems with space and electricity, Glory Special Needs Primary School suffers a shortage of textbooks and teachers to manage the large number of pupils. One of the students, whose name has been protected, says the state of her school is appalling. She says that if she had the capacity to talk, she would have visited the offices of the Kitgum LC5 chairman and the Resident District Commissioner in person to appeal for help. Figures released by the Ministry of Education two years ago indicated that there are more than 173,000 children with disabilities in Uganda's schools. 23.8 are blind, 29.4% are deaf, 17.5% are autistic, 21.7% are mentally retarded and 17.5% are physically impared. There are only 18 schools in the whole country for these children.