11 January 2019

Uganda: Lira Authorities to Close Unregistered Schools

Lira — As schools prepare to open for first term, authorities in Lira District have threatened to close all unregistered private schools and apprehend any child found studying.

"Starting this year, no unlicensed school will be allowed to operate. So, parents should ensure that they send children to schools that have been licensed," Mr Patrick Olwit, the district inspector of schools, said.

Mr Olwit said last year, a team from the security committee and the education department closed more than 100 schools that did not meet minimum standards. However, they were later allowed to finish the term.

"We had sympathy for the children studying there, but this year we are going to close those schools, arrest the proprietors and even children who dare to continue studying there will be arrested," Mr Olwit said.

Out of the mushrooming private schools in Lira, only 48 have been licensed, the senior education officer, Mr Jasper Abura, told Daily Monitor on Wednesday.

Mr Joseph Odongo, a businessman, said if unlicensed schools are closed down, it would improve education performance in Lira District. He, however, disagreed with the plans to arrest children.

Ms Ketty Omara, a farmer, said the unregistered private schools should be closed because they are defrauding members of the public and do not meet the desirable requirements of standard schools such as providing food for their pupils.

This newspaper has also learnt that the authorities are in no mood to forgive parents who do not support proper education.

The district vice chairperson, Mr George Okello Ayo, who also doubles as the secretary for education and health, confirmed that the district council last year resolved that school feeding policies should also be implemented to enable effective learning.

Food alternatives

Mr Ayo said those who cannot afford lunch for their children should ensure that children are given at least roasted cassava or pancakes.

On October 31, 2016, a memo signed by then Permanent Secretary, Ms Rose Nassali Lukwago, from the Education ministry expressed concern over poor performance and the increasing number of pupils dropping out of school due to lack of meals at schools.

However, this newspaper has established that the policy is not being implemented in most of the schools in Lango Sub-region.

Parents have three options of providing meals for their children at school under the policy: Paying money to the school administration to buy food for pupils, packing food for their children or directly providing food such as maize and beans to the school administration.

Background

On October 31, 2016, a memo signed by then Permanent Secretary, Ms Rose Nassali Lukwago, from the Education ministry expressed concern over poor performance and the increasing number of pupils dropping out of schools due to lack of midday meals at schools.

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