Masaka Political Wing Accuses Technical Team of Failing Education

2149 Views Masaka, Uganda

In short
The by-law that was tabled by Hajj Jamil Miwanda, the Masaka District Education Secretary proposes a six months jail term for parents who deliberately fail to enroll their children in school.

The political wing in Masaka district is accusing the technical team of frustrating the implementation of a by-law aimed at improving educational standards in the district. In 2013, Masaka District Council unanimously approved a by-law to improve education standards. 

The by-law spells out a six months jail term for parents who deliberately fail to enroll their children in school. The by-law was prompted by reports showing that 30 percent of pupils who enroll for primary education don't make it to primary seven. It was also prompted by the complaints from teachers that up to 70% of pupils go without lunch at school.

The district council included a clause in the by-law to compel parents to provide lunch for their children at school.

Jamil Miwanda, the Vice LC V chairman Masaka district says to date the by- law has never been endorse by the Local Government Ministry, a thing he blames on the district technical team.
// Cue in: "It took me…
Cue out: …is 35%."//      

He says despite piling pressure on Masaka Chief Administrative Officer Walter Iriama to ensure the by- law is endorsed nothing has been done. 

Jamil Miwanda who doubles as Masaka District Education Secretary says the delayed endorsement and implementation of the by- law has worsened the school dropout rate and negligence of parents.

Matia Kagugube, the head teacher St. Kizito Gayaza Primary School agrees saying the situation is alarming. Kagugube says that he was compelled last term to send back at least twenty pupils when they turned up at school without pairs of shorts and knickers.

He says majority of the pupils turn up at school without notes books and pencils, a clear indication that parents are not bothered about their children.

However, Walter Iriama, the Masaka Chief Administrative Officer says the Solicitor General is still scrutinizing the by-law to ensure its does not contradict other laws already in place. 

Betty Namagembe, the Masaka District Education Officer says if approved, the by-law would go a long way in enhancing education standards. She explains that majority of parents have abandoned their responsibility of supporting their children to stay in school.

She cites pupils in Buwunga, Bukakata, and Kyanamuakaka Sub Counties who have abandoned school for fishing.

// Cue in: "Our children going…
Cue out: …they have missed."//
Josephine Namutebi, a parent at St. Charles Bukaya Primary school says she supports the by-law. According to Namutebi, she packs a lunch box for her two sons and also pays 10,000 Shillings per term to supplement the government grants to the school. 

More than 500 primary candidates in Masaka district failed their primary leaving examination. Majority of the failures were from Universal Primary Education schools.


About the author

Edward Bindhe
Bindhe prides himself on being a part of the society he writes about. He believes there is no way a journalist can understand his society unless it considers him a part of it. This is why he is dedicated to investigating the challenges of the "little person."

Bindhe says, "My work reflects the Uganda Radio Network unique approach to news." Not many Ugandan journalists would consider or even notice the re-emergence of Water Hyacinth on a lake. Bindhe does.

Truant children will attract Bindhe's attention until he gets to the bottom of their truancy: poverty and the need to work to earn bread for their families. These are the kinds of stories Bindhe is often after.

Edward Bindhe is the Masaka URN bureau chief. Rakai, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Mpigi, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts fall under his docket. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.

A Mass Communication graduate from Uganda Christian University, Bindhe started practising journalism in 2008 as a reporter for Radio Buddu in Masaka district.