7 October 2016

Uganda: Pupils Shun Classes As Hunger Bites

Photo: Steven Ariong/Monitor
(file photo).

Adjumani — The school administration of Boroli Primary School in Pakele Sub-county, Adjumani District, are grappling with challenges of keeping the learners in class as hundreds of pupils shun afternoon lessons due to hunger.

The school has an enrolment of 1,893 pupils comprising both Ugandans, as well as South Sudanese refugees. However, only about half of the school population attends the afternoon lessons.

Mr Faustin Igavu, the head teacher, said the partial class attendance may affect the performance of the pupils as majority of them, mainly from the refugee settlement, claim they could not concentrate on empty stomachs.

"Pupils turn up for morning lessons in big numbers but few are willing to attend the afternoon lessons," Mr Igavu said at the school yesterday.

He said there was need to fence off the school to prevent children from escaping during class hours and they will continue sensitising the parents about the importance of keeping their children in school during the recommended teaching hours.

Mr Robert Dima, the Adjumani District education officer, said it is the responsibility of parents to feed their children.

"Some parents across the district have not fully understood their roles because they think Universal Primary Education is purely free," Mr Dima said in a telephone interview with this newspaper yesterday.

He said one Non-Governmental Organisations working in the district has helped a number of primary schools to open school farms to produce food to feed the pupils.

Mr George Drami, a parent and resident of Pakele Sub-county, however, blamed the pupils for not helping their parents in garden work during their free time yet this is where they could get the food from.

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