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Probability of Post Covid-19 Student Drop Outs Is High, Officials Warn

With a total population of over 15 million students in Uganda, the President issued a directive in March to suspend all educational activities in schools, due to the threatening spread of the coronavirus pandemic all over the continent.

As a result, all students that believed in the possibility of schools resuming this year embraced the idea of homeschooling as a way of keeping up with the pace at which their teachers taught them. However, not all students have been able to study from home, some because they have no interest, and others because they can’t access the media and/or study materials.

Hope and Interest in Education Missing Among Some Students

69 kilometers from Kampala towards the West is Mubende district where many students, especially those in rural schools have lost hope and interest, and stand high chances of not going back to school even after the lockdown has been lifted. Brenda Atukwase, a student at Kigando Primary school, Mubende says she’s dismayed by the fact that she has to deal with her studies alone.

“My father wasn’t able to complete primary school, so there’s no one to help me out at home. I am on my own,” she said in an interview.

Some Students are Trapped by Money and No longer Value Education

Other students have been caught in the money trap and no longer perceive the idea of education as a practical one.

“I’ve been burning charcoal so as to collect school fees to go back to school this year. But I plan to quit studying if this is a dead year,” Awula Kabiito, a student at Nabingoola Secondary Schools, Mubende said.

This has worried the education officials and they have warned that if nothing is done to take care of this situation, many students are likely to quit school, as highlighted by Mr. Ayubu Twesigye, the headmaster of Mugungulu Primary School, Mubende.

“Our students have always been hard to keep at school, especially after the holidays they usually spend in the villages, where many things happen to divert them from the education goal,” he said.

Some teachers say, students have lost interest in education because the government has failed to adequately and effectively supply study materials in the rural areas of the country, and when a few materials are given to the local leaders to lend out to parents to photocopy, the parents can’t afford the prices of photocopying.

Also, corruption of the local leaders is a major hindrance to the supply of these materials, as Mr. Awula Kabiito explains

“I went to the chairperson and he asked me to give him money so I could access the study materials. I have no money and neither do my parents,” he said.

Moral Decay Blamed for Upsurge in Student Pregnancies

The District Education Officer, Benson Kayiwa blames the long and indefinite stay of children at home for the growing cases of moral degeneration among children.

“They have lost their morals, and that’s why many girl children are rapidly getting pregnant,” he said.

However, he urges people to remain patient and optimistic about the future.

“I urge everyone to be patient and hopeful that this situation will come to an ultimate end and our children will finally be able to go back to school,” he said.

Teachers suggest that the government, in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Sports assigns them the responsibility of tracking and checking on their students to keep their hopes up.

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