Primary school teachers under their umbrella Uganda National Teachers Union–UNATU say the late remittance of the school facilitation grants by government has left them to run schools like their homes.
George Guloba Wamai, the UNATU chairperson Eastern Region says they are concerned that in addition to being inadequate; the school facilitation grants come late, which have affected the smooth running of the schools. He says primary schools across the country that entirely depend on UPE grants are heavily indebted adding that, they have suspended key school activities.
Guloba says that head teachers have complained to them that they are now running schools like their homes, in that when there is no money to provide food, children go hungry. He says some head teachers spend their savings to fund school activities and wait to recover it when the grants are released. He says schools are struggling to operate because they have not received any more money since last term, despite the fact that they are left with a month to close the second term.
Jackson Robert Wangwe, the head teacher Nabuyonga primary school in Mbale says they are in a fix. He says since government UPE funds for the first term, they have been waiting for funding for the 4th quarter in vain.
He says major school curriculum activities like Music Dance and drama, and sports, which fall in the second term, cannot kick-off because of lack of funds.
Judith Nabugyere, the head teacher North Road Primary school has asked government to do everything possible to save the situation. She says currently, her school depends on the little contributions from parents. She says they collect 10, 400 shillings as parent’s contribution from each child. The School has an enrollment of about 12, 000 pupils, but Nabugyere says only less than half of the population has paid the money.
Guloba, the UNATU chairperson eastern region says most schools might be forced to close before the official date for the second term. He says UNATU has written to parliament and Ministry of Education to expedite the remittance of UPE funds.
Attempts to get a comment from the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education were futile.