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Government school threatens pupils’ lives

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Government school threatens pupils’ lives

The headmaster's office under a tree,   (inset) is the former headmaster Kawuma who decided to become a retailer

The headmaster’s office under a tree, (inset) is the former headmaster Kawuma who decided to become a retailer

A dilapidated building with new iron sheets donated by MTN

A dilapidated building with new iron sheets donated by MTN

The lives of over 300 primary level children are placed in constant danger by their parents as well as government officials in Mukono district who keep them in a dilapidated school.

Kasana UMEA, a primary school built in the 1940s is an accident waiting to happen because of years of neglect that have given way to huge cracks and holes in the walls of the school’s structures. And if that is not enough, the roofs on two of the buildings are nearly collapsing putting the lives of children and teachers in constant danger.

The teachers explained that during rainy seasons students can’t attend lessons given the leaking roofs and that with even the old main building was partly sheltered.

Ant-hills have found home inside the classrooms

Ant-hills have found home inside the classrooms

On one of the structures, the roof is worn which means that classes cannot happen whenever it rains. This reporter was informed that MTN mobile telecommunications provider donated iron-sheets that were used to roof another building in exchange for a path to mast it erected nearby the school.

But even the seemingly new building is tittering on the brink of collapse as it is dotted by cracks. Teachers told this reporter that the cracks were a result of a fire that gutted the buildings in 2009 that damaged the dormitory and part of the class rooms.

Located in Kasana, Nakifuma sub-county Mukono District, Kasana UMEA is a school in sorry state that was once an educational powerhouse in Mukono District in the early 90s.

Years of neglect have confined Kasana UMEA to an unenviable third world school with no record of a first grade being scored during the past seven years.

Some of the classrooms are not roofed so when it rains the children get drenched

Some of the classrooms are not roofed so when it rains the children get drenched

Last year Kasana UMEA registered 23 pupils for UNEB Primary Leaving Exams (PLE) but managed just 3 second grades with the best performer securing 13 aggregates.

Teachers complain that besides the poor state of physical structures, students especially for the lower classes sit on the floor for lack of furniture. Teachers revealed to The Sunrise that the few chairs they had were eaten away by termites because the floor is not cemented.

Residents of Kasana village have resorted to trading counter accusations with teachers with each blaming the other for the sorry state of the school.

Founded by two education enthusiasts the late Mohammed Male and a one Ganaafa in 1940s, the school was once a torch bearer for many people in the area with over 1000 students. Its academic decline has cost it not just its pride but also hundreds of children that have decided to seek education elsewhere.

Mohammed Kawuma a retired headmaster of the school blamed the government for killing Parent’s Committees – once known as Parents Teachers’ Association that once helped parents monitor the school’s performance while also helped to fund schools through fees contributions.

“The relationship between  Kasana UMEA and the parents was the magical weapon we used to make it an academic power house and I ask stakeholders to re-think the ideas of Parent Teachers Associations,” Kawuma noted.

Rather that get interested into the affairs of their schools and students performance, Kawuma explains that parents have gotten spoilt with freebies under the mantra of “Government Etuyambe.”

In the past, a school couldn’t wait for the government to fix things. Parents and the school administration had to sit and resolve problems such as leading classrooms,”adds Kawuma.

Kawuma also castigates the government for failing to fulfill its promise to renovate schools in a bid to promote education. “Government should help build better classrooms  to create a better learning environment,” adds Kawuma.

The abolition of PTAs, Kawuma, argues has wedged a dangerously sharp divide between the parents and schools. It is no wonder therefore that the generation of ‘Government Etuyambe’ parents can no longer hold teachers or even the government accountable for the shameful state of their once glorious school.

 

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