The Office of the National Chairman (ONC) Coordinator for Kiryandogo District Ms Irene Adokorach has attributed the increased dropout rates in the area schools to early child marriages, child labour and teenage pregnancies.
Ms Adokorach made remarks on Wednesday, July 12, 2023, during her courtesy visit to Opok Primary School, in Kichabugingo Sub-County in Kiryandongo District where she had gone to monitor the implementation of the Universal Primary Education (USE).
The ONC Coordinator was shocked to find out that the rate at which students drop out of school is high despite the existence of other challenges in most of the UPE schools such as inadequate basic requirements; desks, and textbooks.
The headteacher of Opok Primary School, Mr Besisira Peter with a heavy heart explained the high rate of school dropouts could be a result of child labour, teenage pregnancies and low parent sensitization.
According to the Headteacher, the girls start dropping out from primary four onwards and some parents are alleged to marry off their daughters for material gains in the form of dowry.
“Many young girls of age 9 – 17 years are flooded into trading centres selling merchandise and grocery,” Mr Besisira said, before asking the Office of the National Chairman to request the President to instruct all the lower local governments to enact by-laws in response to this challenge.
Ms. Adokorach in the afternoon engaged the District Education Officer Mr Kirya Edward over this alarming challenge for which the latter said he was aware of the whole situation.
The DEO in response said that parents abandoned their family roles to the government and there is an urgent need for intensified sensitization.
“As the district, we are ensuring that all challenges to enable a safe learning environment are being resolved according to the financial capabilities of the district.”
Ms Adokorach also noted how she found out that some parents negotiate with the defilers of their children and the majority of the criminals walk free since there is non to follow-up on the cases or even report the same to Uganda Police.
At the commencement of this second term, the enrollment at Opok Primary School was 964 pupils and above but the numbers have dropped to 820 and below with girls affected at most of now.
President Yoweri Museveni recently passed a directive stopping school management from charging fees in all government schools to enable easy access to education for all the poor.
The ONC Coordinator said that officials from the education ministry are observing the presidential directive although the poor parent’s sensitization on the value of education and the weak leadership systems in the local government systems prove to be a huddle to such programs.