Yusuf Welunga, the President of the Uganda National Students Association has cried out to the Government to facilitate schools with some assistance ahead of their reopening.
The Law student, while appearing on The Groove Cafe with Sarah, revealed that most schools, parents and learners are facing a number of challenges that can only be worked upon by intervention of the Education, Finance and Health Ministries.
“Some schools won't reopen because of the financial situation. If 10 schools are unable to re-open in a district or sub county alone, in the long run this will lead to under-development of the country, eventually increasing the rate of crime and other evils in society.”
He added, “So the Ministry should extend practical support to schools, their staff, and renovate others plus engage with banks. If banks oppress the schools, they will turn the burden to parents who also won't manage the exorbitant amount of fees in these challenging times. This goes back to the Government to extend any financial assistance urgently.”
He also called upon the Ministry of Health to provide testing kits, personal gear, surveillance teams and security to protect learners from any threats or attacks.
In their efforts to halt the increment of transport fares, the UNSA President said the association asked the Ministry of Works to intervene in the hiking of transport fares ahead of schools re-opening.
This however was met by Sarah questioning whether giving directives only is sufficient, citing an example of the Ministry of Education which warned schools against increasing school fees yet some schools continued to do so.
Welunga in response said, “Of course it's not enough because we've heard of such instances but as student leaders we shall make a follow up and notify the authorities,” he said.
He also encouraged parents to support their children who got pregnant and young mothers through counseling them since education is the one investment parents make for their children.
“Parents, do not abandon your responsibilities but work as a family to support the children to go back to school. Community members and local council chairpersons should similarly act on all the children that may be dodging school and engaging in other activities,” he advised.
Sarah, while citing the Education Officer Nelson Ayo, who revealed that over 90,000 girls had gotten pregnant and might not be able to go back to school, asked the UNSA president about their efforts in creating campaigns to ensure that the teenage mothers return to school.
Welunga answered that the Association is running an advocacy campaign requesting female learners to return to schools with the help of student leaders such as the head prefects and class councilors to launch anti-stigmatisation campaigns asking school administrations to support the pregnant and young mothers.
“I also encourage my fellow sisters not to put an end to their education. Once you go to school, there's a very bright future for you and there’s that second chance to create it. There have been many pregnant women who got back to school and they've now become very successful people so please, I encourage you all to return to school,” the UNSA President concluded.
The Groove Cafe with Crystal Newman airs every Weekday from 4-5pm on RX Radio.
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