Dozens of students in Masaka district have been turned back from schools over the lack of scholastic requirements to support their learning, as educational institutions opened their gates to learners after a long shutdown.
A number of private secondary school headteachers told Uganda Radio Network that many parents are sending their children back to schools without the required scholastic materials, like books and pens, while some have only basic personal requirements.
Patrick Sseremba, the Headteacher of Bwala Secondary School says each student was expected to report with enough exercise books, a ream of paper, school uniforms, shoes, and a dictionary, among other supplies. However, many came empty-handed, with promises and excuses fording the school to send them back home.
Ali Kaggwa Ddamulira, the Deputy Headteacher of St Jude Senior Secondary School, Kimanya-Kabonera division says the parents are more concerned about sending back learners to school, without minding about what they are going to do or use when they get there. He adds that they have also faced situations of students who have returned to schools but are so reluctant to resume classes.
Lukwago Mbagatuzinde, the Deputy Headteacher at Blessed Sacrament Kimamya Secondary School says that parents are using the long COVID-19 induced lockdown as an excuse for their failure to provide school requirements. He explains that parents have been allowed to pay school fees in instalments but provide all the other requirements.
Bruce Tushabe, a parent from Lwengo district whose children go to St Jude Secondary School has pleaded with the school administrators to be lenient with them, arguing that parents were equally hit hard by the lockdown situation. He explains that many parents can no longer afford to keep the children at home, thereby preferring to take them back to schools as they look for money.