Thursday, 19 February 2015

Why Do We Have Inadequate Infrastructure; Pupil Questions District LCV Chairperson

At a primary schools’ debate organized by YAWIA-Uganda, one Kakaire Shaban, a primary pupil of Busiro primary school tasked the LCV Chairperson of Namayingo district to explain why schools in the rural areas have inadequate classrooms, latrines, desks, few teachers and other related services, “why do most schools in the rural areas have no or inadequate classrooms, staff, desks, and latrines yet all children are entitled to enjoy the same rights and privileges” asked Shaban. 
Shaban speaking at the debate.
The debate whose themes were “Local leaders and parents can be of great help in promoting learning, Educating a girl child is educating a nation, modern technology has done more harm than good, Education is better than wealth and Universal Education has done more harm than good)” attracted over 200 pupils (123 Males & 77 Females) pupils from 20 schools in the project sub counties and over 500 stakeholders (270 Males & 230 females). They included local leaders and civil servants at both district and sub county levels, parents, School management committees, teachers, the media and the general community. The debate provided several themes enable pupils to discuss and deepen their understanding on children rights and responsibilities to education such that they can be able to demand for the observance and respect of these rights from the duty bearers. The debate was held on 3rd /12/2014 at Busiro primary school

During the debate the pupils highlighted several issues about the importance of education in the society among which include; education helps people to know how to read and write, know their rights and responsibilities, enhances skills development, makes people to fit in the society, helps in job creation among others. They further discussed how local leaders can be of great help in ensuring children’s learning.  Besides debating amongst themselves, the pupils also interfaced with the duty bearers present to share their concerns and seek response/commitment to address them.   

Responding to the raised issues the duty bearers expressed gratitude to YAWIA for organizing such an educative debate and for their efforts in promoting education especially pupil enrolment and retention in schools. They pledged to double their efforts in addressing the service delivery challenges in education; for example, the District Secretary for Education Mr. Muyaye James representing the District LCV Chairperson acknowledged the issue of inadequate infrastructure that Kakaire Shaban had raised. Hon.  James noted that this was still a very a big problem in Namayingo District; he committed to table the matter before the District Council for further discussion and action.  Related to this Mr. Kizito James who represented the DEO said ‘’ we shall work hand in hand with the District Council to allocate more resources in infrastructure especially in rural schools such as lubango Muslim primary school, Shabarubi primary school and other schools with similar problems”. He added that plans for recruitment of more teachers is underway and they will be posted in schools with few staff and priority will be given to schools where YAWIA operates. YAWIA is yet to follow up on the commitments made with the duty bearers to ensure that they are fulfilled as pledged.

Precisely, the debate helped in deepening the children’s knowledge and understanding on their rights and responsibilities to education and in bringing to the attention of leaders or re-echoing the service delivery challenges in the sector as well as securing commitment for addressing them from the leaders.  The activity also enhanced YAWIA and the project’s visibility through the news relied on Eastern Voice radio 102.3 FM about what transpired during the debate.
 In its implementation of the IDF funded project (Enhancing community and duty bearers responsiveness in promoting, protecting and defending children’s right to education in Banda sub county, Buhemba, Mutumba and Sigulu Islands in Namayingo District) YAWIA uses school debates as one of the approaches to sensitize pupils know their rights and responsibilities in protecting and advocating for these rights before the duty bearers. This approach is being seen to cause positive change e.g. Duty bearers have become responsible and committed to ensure that children stay in schools for example as a result of this, a by-law on education was drafted and its awaiting approval by the District council,  children’s knowledge about their rights has been enhanced, this is evidenced by the discussion amongst the children themselves during debate.