The lack of relatively adequate educational establishments in Kikuube, has left majority school going children and other students stuck and vulnerable in general informal loops in the district.
Access to primary, secondary and post-secondary education is almost unattainable due to limited and sparsely spread educational institutions across the district some located as far as many kilometres away from learners’ home villages.
In some instances, the geography of some areas coupled with the distance would have automatically called for the establishment of schools in such localities to cater for students at different levels of education.
It takes approximately 10km for a day scholar from Buhuka fishing village at the shoreline of Lake Albert to travel to the nearest Kyangwali secondary school besides climbing a steep and wearisome hill from that part of the East African Rift Valley.
“When you look at Buhuka in that deep valley of the lake where there is no any secondary school, one wonders how students could travel to Kyangwali for secondary education. If parents are not by all means financially able, one unavoidably drops out of school. If their parents can’t afford to rent a room for them upland for their children, dropping out of school is inevitable. Or, imagine, riding an estimated 100km for five days from Buhuka to Kyangwali secondary school is not a joke,” Mr Francis Barungindoho, a resident of Bugoma village says.
With at least six secondary schools in the district, the number is so small compared to the big population and expanse, according the District Chairman, Mr Peter Banura Araali.
He says the few government secondary schools in the district do not favour the great a number of learners who complete their primary school level since majority parents do not have enough money to enable them send their children to private schools there.
“We have only six government schools in the entire district of Kikuube and the population of students is very high. You find one school with a number of students higher than 1,000 especially in Kyangwali areas and the number of staff at the schools is alarmingly so low. This has left most of the students dropping out of school after finishing primary schools,” he says.
The chairman also reveals that many children drop out of school before completing their primary level due to the long distances they travel to schools.
“Out of hundreds of learners who enroll in primary one, only tens reach primary seven. They drop out of school because of travelling long distances to nearby schools. Majority become peasants at an early age,” Mr Banura continues.
Some community schools in parts of Kikuube district are in a sheer poor state forcing the leaders to request the government to take them over but without any success.
“But as leaders, we are working hard to see that the government takes over some of the community schools in Kikuube though its response is very low.”
The Buhaguzi Member of Parliament, Mr Francis Kazini Twinomujuni, says unless the government considers lifting education standards in Kikuube, the district will experience a shortage of formally educated people for posterity.
“The government has neglected us and in years to come, you may find Kikuube district having a low number of educated people because refugees who have schools in the resettlement camp are not dependable since some go away after school. This is very dangerous. The government should consider our own schools to avoid the negative impacts in years to come,” he says.
Mr Robert Balimunsi, the Mandwiga village chairman in Kyangwali sub-county, says children in his political area travel for as many as 4km to access formal education at Mandwiga community primary school; a distance so long and unbearable for a six-year-old kid.
For pupils who make it, they learn in a poor environment since the school has so bad a building infrastructure that does not favour a learner to concentrate on studies.
“We have for long waited for the government to take over the school but in vain. The structures clearly show that the school is struggling. Nevertheless, there are some children learning there signifying that parents want that service,” the chairman says.
Ms Florence Natumanya, the Kikuube district woman Member of Parliament, says the government’s failure to take over Mandwiga community primary school has made the educational institution fall an easy prey to land grabbers.
“Even Mandwiga community primary school is under attack. Some land grabbers have already encroached on its land and they continue frustrating the education system because some of the people who were displaced from their land were forced to discontinue their children from education since they are currently living in camps,” the law maker says.
To her, it requires government to construct at least three schools at Mandwiga village with about 2,500 homesteads adding that the existing Mandwiga community primary school with poor structures serves 23 villages.