The Prime Minister of Uganda has expressed concern over some parents and guardians keeping their children at home despite the official opening of the first academic term countrywide.
This follows the low pupil turn up registered in some schools on Monday, February 6, 2023, the first day of the term which Ms Robinah Nabbanja said retards education performance in the country.
The Prime Minister urged parents and guardians to ensure that they send their children back to school in the first week of the opening of the term saying it enables teaching to start right away for the completion of the syllabus.
Speaking at Kamusenene Catholic Church in Nkooko sub-county, Kakumiro district, Ms Nabbanja expressed concern over some parents and guardians with the tendency of delaying to send children to school saying it affects their concentration and performance.
In Hoima city, there was low pupil turn up in some schools with St Aloysius government aided primary school having registered less than half of the total enrolment as at the end of the 2022 academic calendar.
The school head teacher, Mr Philip Tibaingana, disclosed that out of the 600 learners registered by the close of third term last year, only 275 pupils turned up on the first day of the first term.
He attributed the scenario to parents and guardians’ incessant tendency to keep children at home despite lessons beginning on the first day of school opening.
Mr John Monday, 52, and a parent at Kyakakoizi village in Kitoba sub-county, Hoima district, said parents and guardians’ failure to send children to school on the first day of the term is age-old.
“Ever since I was young in primary school, when we were at the assembly, I used to hear our head teacher call on parents to send children to school on the first day of the opening of the term. Even before the term began, the head teacher could send announcements to the church priest urging parents to send their children to school on the first day of the term. It got stuck in the minds of many parents that there aren’t any lessons conducted in the first week of the opening of the term and it will take a long time to change their minds,” Mr Monday said.
Ms Sarah Mbabazi, a farmer at Kyedikyo cell in East Division, Hoima city said opening of school calendar terms fully fall in the right farming season at any stage that forces especially farmer parents to first hold their children at home as they assist them tend to their gardens.
“If it is February, farmers are preparing their gardens for sowing in March. If it is June or July, farmers are harvesting. So, they need a hand from their school going children, thus delaying them at home since Ugandan farmers use a labour intensive system in their arable farming practices,” she said.
As the tendency continues existing, many political leaders come out with threats to cause arrest and prosecution to non-compliant parents.
Those leaders are always barking dogs that never bite for fear of losing votes at the expense of deteriorating academic performance in the country.
Unless political leaders walk their talk, parents will continue delaying their children at home for the first and second weeks of the opening of terms like it has continued to be for donkey’s years since there are no punitive actions taken against such parents.