Nixon Segawa, the Executive Director, Girl Child Initiative Uganda (GCIU), a girl child empowerment community-based organisation in Wakiso district has expressed worry that the soaring schools in the country will further undermine efforts to fight the increasing drop-out rate especially among the girl child.
As Schools open up for term III, a number of children are still home with less hope of going back to school due to the hiked fees and a long list school requirement.
While speaking to teenage girls in Kabaganda- Wakiso district at an education sensitization workshop organized at the organization, Segawa noted that there is a lot that needs to be done to address the drop-out rate in the country.
According to a report by UNICEF, one in ten children did not report back to school in January, while the National Planning Authority (NPA) estimated last year that up to 30% of children could drop out of school due to COVID-19 fallout.
“With the economic hardship in the country where the cost of living has gone high, with many families going without food and water, going to school and later acquiring education becomes a by-the-way,” Segawa said.
Segawa said that the organization had boosted its campaign of encouraging girls back to school especially at the COVID-19 lockdown but their efforts are being watered down by the increasing school fees where parents can’t afford taking back their children to school.
“The girls who had endured to re-join school after a two years period of the COVID-19 lockdown are having no option but to drop out of school and begin working as house maids, bar maids, street vendors and hawkers. School managements have fuelled the situation by increasing schools fees, asking a long list of school requirements, conditioning zero balance at the beginning of the term among others,” Segawa noted.
Segawa appreciated the Ministry of Education and Sports for its efforts in addressing the matter, however he noted that more needs to be done than just passing warnings to schools that have defied its directives.
“As Girl Child Initiative Uganda (GCIU), we demand that government walks the talk. It should not be seen to just talk of punishing schools that have defied the orders against hiking fees but should go ahead and implement the punishment. Some schools should serve as an example to the rest,” Segawa noted.
He added that, the Ministry should come out and regulate the fees paid in schools as it had promised way back in 2018.
Government should address the factors that have increased the cost of living which include in the country which include: the high fuel prices, cost of food supplies, cost of transportation
The government should further increase capitation grant from Shs20,000 as it was revised in May to a reasonable figure that matched the high cost of living to enable government aided schools run better.