BY Wahiidah Namboowa
As schools start receiving learners in candidate classes, directors and headteachers of private schools in Entebbe municipality have appealed to the government to pay teacher’s salaries among other emoluments during this term. Robert Ngudo one of the directors of Victorian high school said schools have not been working for the past seven months and yet expected to observe Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) some of which are costly.
“The government through its ministry of education, would have provided at least temperature guns and sanitizers,” appealed Ngudo. He however, expressed his school’s readiness to handle the 52 candidate students who have so far returned.
In the same regard, led by Mariam Nabunya one of the directors, heads of Victorian high school donated sanitary towels, scholastic material and up-keep money of Sh30,000 to each of their 52 candidate students all of whom are day-scholars. “We have also reduced Sh100,000 from each student’s school fees as well as reducing Sh120,000 that would be required of each student as registration fee for the Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB),” intimated Nabunya.
The school heads noted that the move aimed at having all the students, especially girls return to school given the overwhelming number of those who have acquired pregnancies in other parts of the country during the lock-down. “For we are lucky that no such cases have been reported of our students,” added Nabunya. “We have established five hand-washing stations, set up an isolation room and arranged desks two metres away from each other in order to allow social distancing,” explained Ngudo.
Grace Mawan a student in S.6 lauded the move, saying the pocket money will go a long way to cater for her transport which has been doubled due to the social distancing required of public vehicles. “There is quite a long distance from places like Kigungu to the school. Colleagues have always come late because they have to trek such a journey. By provision of this up-keep, we are assured of paying for a boda boda or taxi at least in the morning as we come to school,” expressed Mawan.
Mildred Nakalyango also a student in S.4 said most of her colleagues have always kept home during their menstrual days. She’s optimistic that the sanitary pads will help “cover that gap” in order to keep the girls present at school even during their menstrual days.
Richard Kavuma the headteacher of Gateway Primary school said that government disbursed billions of money during the past months of lockdown, which (money) aimed at uplifting the welfare of teachers. “However, that money was released through the Uganda microfinance support centre and we later heard it was misappropriated,” Kavuma complained.
He said, there is a well structured Education Management System (EMS) through which the government can track and trace for all private school teachers. “If the government had disbursed the money through that system, there would not have been reports of misappropriation of such funds,” noted Kavuma. He said the government can use the remaining balance to cater for teachers salaries in private schools.
Meanwhile, Joseph Opolot the Director of Studies (DoS) for Sacred Heart primary school, initially known as Bugonga Boys, expressed readiness to handle learners during this term, saying the government school was fenced during the lockdown period to accord it more security as studies resumed. “Our compound has been a walk-way for everyone thus we’ve been having cases of theft and damage to school property. We are now assured of regulating who comes to school and it will also reduce cases of learners escaping anyhow,” explained Opolot.
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