Last Updated on: 23rd October 2023, 11:17 am
Gulu I Inadequate accommodation facilities at Angaya primary school in Unyama sub-county, Gulu district have forced teachers to share grass-thatched huts.
A total of eleven professional teachers on the government payroll are sharing five dilapidated grass-thatched huts. This has sparked concern over the privacy of the affected teachers.
David Obita is a Primary Seven (P7) teacher at the government-owned poor school. He’s one of those sharing accommodation. He said their privacy is openly getting exposed and that the crisis is driving them out of the teaching environment, especially as teachers of Angaya Primary School.
The 39-year-old teacher noted that when it rains or is about to rain, they have to run to their houses to rescue their beds and other items. During the night when it is raining, they have to stand up and cover their property with tents, while waiting until it stops, he told tndNews.
“Sharing huts is fueling teachers’ low performance. This is a reckless life for a professional person to perform the duty at school. We have to deny our families visitation,” he added.
He further disclosed that eleven more teachers are in total dilemma. “They have to stay in the staff room until evening, it is a panic…they are serving the country by giving knowledge to children.”
According to the 39-year-old, they have been tabling the matter to the head teacher during staff meetings, describing their situation as “a serious concern”. “But up to now no action by the government of Uganda to handle the situation.”
The P7 class teacher said he’s only waiting for his candidates to write their PLE papers and leave. “We urge the government for immediate response. If they do not come next year, we will put down our tools until they build good houses for teachers: we do not want to suffer like we do not have families to take care of.”
Acan Nighty Acaye, the head teacher of Angaya Primary School, in a phone interview, confirmed that the school has a total of 13 teaching staff with only 2 teachers: the head teacher and deputy head teacher staying in permanent houses.
11 are sharing five grass-thatched houses with 5 females and 6 males, she disclosed.
Acan further said not only limited staff houses are hitting her school but also limited desks, and class classrooms to accommodate over 714 pupils.
“The conditions of the staff houses make me find it difficult to control and manage their performances in class. They only teach while thinking of Friday to come so that they can go home at least to enjoy a good environment,” Acan disclosed.
“For over 5 years since I joined this school as head teacher in 2019, I’ve never seen a structural development by the government, only NGOs like World Vision constructed toilets at the school yet a lot of problems are increasing day by day,” she added.
Ronald Opira, the PTA chairperson revealed that apart from a shortage of staff houses, the school is battling with many challenges, notably limited classrooms to accommodate over 714 pupils, and noise pollution from vehicles – something he said interferes with learning.
“Due to the bad attitude of the community around, during one holiday gang men stormed and broke the doors, destroyed properties. 8 grass huts were broken into,” Opira recalled.
He also criticized local communities for practising open defecation around school boundaries during holidays, adding that at night hours they are using school latrines. “80% per cent of the local communities in Angaya parish do not have latrines in their homes, putting the school at risk.”
“As PTA and SMC of the school, we come up with a solution by giving each parent whose child is in the school to contribute shs10, 000 for the construction of four housing units but it is not yielding fruit due to low turn up and non-payment.”
Caeser Akena is the Gulu district education officer [DEO]. He has blamed parents for disrespecting their teachers by building grass-thatched houses. He calls it “a dog’s house”. “If you move outside this community, you will not find such a house being built for teachers, we need to change our mindset on teachers who are giving knowledge to our child.”
Gulu District Vision 2030 states no grass-thatched huts would be found in government-headed schools and to achieve this it needs collaboration with local government and parents for structural development. The budget for the education sector in Gulu, the DEO says will address development challenges.
He appealed to parents of Unyama sub-county to advance by taking their children to schools, saying that the UPE program targets and covers all the learners’ expenses.
Gulu district has pledged total commitment to addressing education challenges raised by the head teacher and PTA chairperson of the school, revealing that the next budget for the financial year 2023-2024 for Gulu district will address it.