31 January 2013

Uganda: School Dropout Rate Worries Minister

Bunyoro affairs state minister Ernest Kiiza wants authorities to take action against the high school dropout rate in the region.

In a speech read by the Hoima district Woman Member of Parliament, Tophace Kaahwa Byagira, he wondered why children continue dropping out of school when the Government is providing free education at both the primary and secondary levels.

This was during the second graduation ceremony of Liberty Institute at Riviera Hotel in Hoima town on Sunday.

Kiiza blamed the trend on the laxity of parents and local leaders, which he said could deprive the region of employment opportunities that will come with the oil that was discovered in the region.

"We are losing not less than 25 children in each school each year. I am sure that these children do it with the knowledge of their parents. In Budongo, many of the children work on sugar cane plantations," Francis Kyomuhendo, the Masindi district education officer told New Vision on Monday.

He also cited Bwijanga sub-county, where he said girls as young as 14 years engage in early marriages.

Kyomuhendo said they were carrying out investigations to see how the trend can be stoped.

Earlier, Kiiza had asked other districts in the region to borrow a leaf from Hoima, where the district council passed an ordinance stop the trend.

According to the ordinance which was passed on December 31 last year, anyone found guilty of making a child to drop out of school is liable to a six-month jail sentence, a fine of sh200,000 fine or both.

Kiiza said such ordinances and routine inspection of schools will avert the dropouts.

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