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Administrators of three government schools in Terego district have come under attack by business proprietors who had supplied learning materials to the schools as well as those that lent monies to assist the schools. This has come at a time the school went on with teaching and learning for more than one year without receiving capitation grants from the government.The capitation grant is a financial assistance extended by government of Uganda under Universal Education policy to finance the purchase of textbooks and other teaching and learning materials as well as caters for school maintenance, administration costs and payment for utilities including water and electricity which strictly targeting the National population in a bid to fight illiteracy.The schools that lie along the border between Terego and Madi Okollo districts include Ocea Primary school in Uriama subcounty, Odobu primary school and Ariwa all in Odupi subcounty are those that stopped benefiting from governments’ support since July 2022, Now their administrators have come under attack by service providers since the schools cannot afford to pay them.Leaners in Ocea Primary School in Terego district leaving for lunch breakJustine Akumu the deputy headteacher Ariwa primary school explains that the situation is turning worse as the school cannot run any core curricular activity depriving the learners’ chances of participation.

“we are only relying on the PTA funds which parents pay (Shs. 2,000) Two thousand Shillings only per term and that is the only money we are using to run the school, as I talk the school is surrounded by debts of over (Shs. 5,000,000) Five Million Shillings, we lost a pupil here but because we don’t have any other alternative source of income here we had to borrow more money to conduct the burial because that is our learner here”. Akumu explains

Justine Akumu on more details.mp3The schools currently have dilapidated structures, especially sanitary facilities while the toilets are full. Akumu explains that they sold learning apparatus and have nothing to sell anymore to continue with life in the school that has 1,683 registered learners who have turned up for studies.

“It forced us to sell one carton of chalk to the nearby Private school here and we have really suffered. Right now we are stressed, we don’t have marker pens, text books and manilla papers, we are just encouraging teachers to draw diagrams on the chalkboard”.  

Akumu added Mean while at Ocea Primary school that has 3,193 learners, the situation not any different from Odobu and Ariwa Primary schools that are experiencing debts and scare from unknown persons as explained by Cadribo Francis the deputy headteacher of Ocea Primary school.Justine Akumu deputy Headteacher Ariwa primary school speaking at her office in the SchoolJustine Akumu, the deputy headteacher on the magnitute of the challenge.mp3“Activities which were cut off includes ball games, athletics, Independence Day celebrations in which the school did not participate while others that we affected are the sanitation and hygiene where the school has no clean water source, inadequate learning materials among others.” Cadribo expalinedTerego district and Madi Okollo district have been in a long-term conflict over district boundaries something that has continued to affect access to social services emanating from the presence of refugees that brought a lot of donor support while the desire to collect taxes from the booming Ocea Market worsens the situation.Cadribo Francis the deputy headteacher Ocea primary school.mp3Festus Ayikobua, The Resident District Commissioner of Terego district blames officials from both Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Education and Sports over the confusion. According to Ayikobua, in their local arrangements they have started meetings with their counterparts in Madi Okollo district on how to transfer the monies back to the schools. “I don’t believe that it is because of the border conflict that these schools were affected but I think the mistake was done by the people from the ministries because none of the district officials here works in these ministries, but the truth of the matter is we have realized Madi Okollo said they are holding Shs. 91,000,000 Ninety-One Million Shillings belonging to the three schools. This money was there and it is still with Madi Okollo district, so we agreed with them to see how the money should be remitted to the schools”. Ayikobua narrates Festus Ayikobua- RDC Terego district.mp3According to Ministry of Education and Sports, government of Uganda pays Shs. 14,000 per child annually in public primary schools, 170,000 per learner for lower secondary and 255,000 per year for upper secondary schools under government aiding. One of the classroom blocks constructed by the implementing partners at Ocea primary schooolWhile under Arua district, affected schools lying along the borderline of Terego with Madi Okollo districts were receiving capitation grants through Terego county till Terego became a district that to date deploys the staff, and pays their salary, however the reasons behind the swift of the funds to Madi Okollo district local government accounts is not yet clear.

BY: Dramadri Fredrick - Dailywestnile.info 
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