Masindi teachers accused of being drunk during school hours

He said in most cases, such teachers doze during class hours; others attend to learners while smelling alcohol, while others miss classes.

Masindi: A section of teachers in Nyantonzi Sub-County Bujenje Constituency in Masindi district are accused of being drunk during school hours.

The issue was raised during the second annual Nyantonzi sub-county education conference that was held at Budongo Secondary School on Friday.

Speaking on behalf of other head teachers in the subcounty, Mr. Opio Boniface, the head teacher of Kasenene Primary School, stressed that some teachers have become daily drinking officers.

‘’Some teachers have become daily drinking officers; they feel they can’t deliver without boozing alcohol, and this affects learning since some sleep late at around 1 or 2 a.m. and others sleep as late as 3 a.m.,’’ he further stressed.

Opio said in most cases, such teachers doze during class hours; others attend to learners while smelling alcohol, while others miss classes.

In addition, Opio also raised concerns about inadequate teachers, classrooms, and staff quarters in most schools in the subcounty, citing Nyantonzi Primary School, which has an enrollment of 816 pupils with 9 teachers out of 15, and Kasenene Primary School, which has an enrollment of 1,211 learners with only 9 teachers.

He said that due to the increasing learner population, classrooms are also inadequate, and they have resorted to creating temporary structures to accommodate learners.

‘’We also have a challenge of rampant school dropout attributed to early marriages, absenteeism of learners, child labor, some fuelled by parents involving children in farm activities, and failing to provide scholastic materials.’’

Opio appealed to the district leadership to consider deploying more teachers to the schools in Nyantonzi Sub County, noting that they need urgent attention.

Kyetume Kasanga, the Acting Assistant Commissioner for Information Monitoring at the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, asserted that if they are to improve on academics, teachers who are misbehaving, failing to prepare schemes of work, or reporting while drunk should not be tolerated but handed over to the district service commission for disciplinary action.

‘’Teachers who are misbehaving, failing to prepare a schedule of work, reporting late for work, and reporting for work while drunk should not be tolerated but face disciplinary action,’’ he said.

Kasanga said this can be done by following protocols like warnings and giving the culprits time to reform.

The commissioner asked the teachers not to relax but to teach and encourage learners to work hard despite the improved performance in the just-released PLE results.

He also warned parents against blocking the children’s ambitions, but rather encouraged them to succeed in their dreams.

Lot Pario Ewaku, the key note speaker, stressed learner retention, whereby many children start the primary cycle but very few complete universities, mostly girls.

He therefore reminded all the stakeholders that they have a critical role in shaping the future of education through their collective effort and commitment and that they can address pressing issues facing education in their community.

Ewaku therefore challenged parents to desist from involving children in farm or market activities during school hours and rather provide scholastic materials.

‘’Let us mobilize children back to school promptly, understand and address the challenges affecting individual learners, and strengthen community engagement and participation in education.’’

He also encouraged stakeholders to combat absenteeism among learners and teachers, enhance learner retention rates at both primary and secondary levels, and tackle social issues such as teenage pregnancies, early marriages, and child rights abuses.

‘’We should draw strategic action plans for educational improvement with clear roles and responsibilities for all stakeholders.’’

Sunday Eyotu, the LC3 Chairperson for Nyantonzi Sub County, said the conference was organized to solve some of the challenges they are facing in the education department, which include child labor, mostly in sugarcane activities, and failure for parents to provide scholastic materials, among others.

He therefore warned parents and guardians against involving children in farm and market activities, mostly during school hours, saying it was criminal and whoever was caught would face the law.

This is not the first time leaders have raised the issue of child labor; in Kimengo Sub County, leaders also stressed the rate at which children are being involved in maize and sugarcane activities.

Recently, the Masindi District LCV Chairman, Cosmas Byaruhanga, acknowledged that a number of teachers are retiring soon, but as the district resumes work, they will first consider recruiting teachers.

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Innocent Atuganyira

Innocent Atuganyira is a resilient multimedia journalist, a born of the oil-rich Buliisa district but working in Masindi District, Mid-Western Uganda. Contact: +256786816091/ WhatsApp +256757022363

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