Teachers in schools located in hard to reach areas in Rwenzori region are demanding government of Uganda to set aside special funds to cater for if the education standards in these areas are to improve and
become meaningful. They explain that once the government implements this policy of special allowances for the hard to reach schools, they will be able to execute their duties efficiently.
The teachers voiced their demands to PLATFORM for the NEEDY (PLANE) an NGO advocating for the rights of children and women in Kabarole and Rwenzori region at large.
PLANE officials were monitoring primary schools to assess how they opened their first term 2015 in Karangura and Katebwa mountainous sub counties, Kabarole district. They toured Kamabale Primary, St.Emmanuel Bubandi,Nsuura Primary,Kibaate,Mitandi SDA ,Mitandi primary ,Kazingo primary and Kazingo SDA primary among others. At Kazingo primary and Mitandi SDA the turn of pupils and teachers was average but in Karangura schools it was alarming with very few children who had reported despite teachers’ big turn-up. Masereka Harry, a teacher said that they are operating in harsh conditions and have limited access to social services like water, markets, shops, health facilities and are accommodated in poor houses. “We are really operating in harsh conditions and yet we are paid little salaries. These areas have no water, markets and health centers to provide medical care and this scares away teachers posted in these areas from coming to work here,”
He said. Masereka asked the members of parliament not to sit and watch the education standards in the mountainous areas deteriorate but join them in voicing their demand for government to consider the hard to reach schools special allowances. Agaba Patrick, the head master Kamabale Primary in Karangura SubCounty disclosed that they are forced to sleep in substandard houses; walk long distances among other challenges. He said, “Most teachers who are posted in these schools refused the appointments and as a result the pupils have dropped out of school due to lack of teachers. We appeal to the government to intervene and address the problem so as to soften our work”. Kayondo Constantine the head teacher St. Emmanuel Bubandi primary said the children had run way from the school due to lack of teachers to attend to them saying that refusing to come in the hard to reach schools.
The school head appealed to NGOs like PLANE to intensify their sensitization campaigns to help the parents understand the value of education especially the girl child. Teachers’ tough demands follow the 2010 meeting chaired by Kamanda Batalingaya, the state minister for primary education and attended by head teachers and teachers of the hard to reach sub counties of
Karangura and Katebwa. According to the teachers minister Batalingaya assured them that their issue of special allowances to the hard to reach schools would be
considered soon. He said that he would talk to the ministry of education to implement it but to their disappointment nothing has been done to date. Kabarole, Ntoroko ,Kasese and Bundibugyo district are considered the hard to reach areas because of the hills and valleys that make transportation and service delivery difficult.