Two Officials In Trouble for Undressing Pupils

1855 Views Luweero, Uganda

In short
More than 200 pupils of Tweyanze Primary School, mostly from the primary four to seven classes, were ordered last week on the directives of of a headteacher Robinah Ssenkima and tutor Norah Kaddu to take off their blouses, shirts and walk home over lack of a school badge on their uniform.

Parents of Tweyanze Primary School in Luweero are demanding the sacking of Robinah Ssenkima, the head teacher and Norah Kaddu, the Tutor Ssempa Cluster Coordinating Center for alleged child rights abuse. Coordinating tutors are mandated to give technical support and guidance to primary school teachers. The duo is accused of undressing more than 200 pupils for alleged failure to fix the school badge on their uniforms. It came after more than 200 pupils of Tweyanze Primary School mostly from the primary four to seven classes were ordered last week on the directives of Kaddu to take off their blouses, shirts and walk home over lack of the school badge.
 
She accused parents of the affected children of undermining guidelines of the education ministry, which require pupils to wear the school badge. However, the decision to undress the pupils has drawn angry reactions from their parents, who accuse the officials of child rights violation. David Mutesasira, a parent of two girls who were made to walk home bare chest, says her daughters pleaded with Kaddu and the headmistress not to undress them for fear of being humiliated before their male counterparts in vain. He says that the girls decided to hide in the toilets for fear of walking home half naked, while several of their colleagues walked home crying. Mutesasira says that he learnt about the incident from his son who endured the shame of walking home bare-chested and notified him about his sisters who will still hiding in the school toilets.

He has asked the education authorities in the district to penalize the officials or else he withdraws his children from the school to express his dissatisfaction. Samuel Kasule, another parent says some pupils especially girls feel shy to go back to the school after the public humiliation. He says that the school management should have just sent the pupils back home instead of undressing them, which exposed them to sexual abuse by errant men. Kasule says they have petitioned Florence Bbosa, the Luweero District Education Officer to sack or take disciplinary action against the two officials for misconduct.

Sam Sserunjogi, the Katikamu sub county LC 3 chairperson says the decision to undress pupils undermines the UPE program as it demoralize pupils from going to school. He says they banned pupils from undressing during the physical education lessons and sporting activities after discovering that it was demeaning and scaring away from participating. Sserunjogi says the Cluster Coordinating Tutor must be transferred to another area because parents and teachers can’t work with her over unlawful orders. 

Some of the pupils who spoke to URN on condition of anonymity for fear of being reprimanded by the school authorities described the incident as an infringement of their privacy adding that, they feel ashamed in eyes of their male classmates. The implicated officials have not yet commented as there were not at their offices and their phones were switched off by the time of filing this story. Christopher Oketayot, the Luweero Deputy Chief Administrative Officer has described the incident as regrettable. Oketayot accuses the cluster Coordinating Tutor Norah Kaddu of overstepping her mandate saying she only mandated to give technical support and guidance not interfere in pupils’ affairs.

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In 2009, the head teacher of Nakigoza Primary School Fred Balabye was interdicted by district authorities in Luweero for allegedly stripping pupils naked while searching for money that had gone missing from a colleague.

 

About the author

Brian Luwaga
Since Brian Luwaga joined Uganda Radio Network in 2011, he is still amazed how, "URN is a place that gives journalists a chance to enhance their skills . It gives a journalist an opportunity to adopt and master various aspects of journalism that include radio broadcast, social media, photography and television production."

A practicing journalist since 2009, first with Star FM, Luwaga has always been keen to write about the concerns of the "common person." Based for much of his career in Luweero, Luwaga takes it as a compliment if politicians complain that his reporting is too harsh.

In his journalism, Luwaga likes to merge the past with the present. He believes you cannot understand what is happening now, if you do not have a grounding in the past. Brian Luwaga is the Luweero URN bureau chief. Nakasongola, Nakaseke, Mityana, Mubende and Wakiso districts fall under his docket.

Luwaga is interested in humanitarian work and is a keen Rotarian.