Prolonged Drought Forces 20,000 Sembabule Students to Migrate

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About 20,000 students from Lwemiyaga and Ntuusi sub-counties in Sembabule district this term enrolled in new schools outside their home district. The Lwemiyaga Inspector of Schools, Paul Nantamu, attributes this to the mass migration from Sembabule because of the prolonged drought in the area. He says many families have migrated to the neighbouring districts of Mpigi, Mubende and Kiruhura. It is estimated that about half the population in Sembabule are cattle keepers, dependent on the seasonal rains to provide pasture and water for their animals. The long dry spell has forced many cattle keepers out of Sembabule in search of food for their herds. Nantamu says the transfer of the students during the third term may negatively impact their grades. He says changing schools so late in the year disrupts learning for children who may take several weeks settling in before they catch up with the new curriculum. The Sembabule District Education Officer, Gertrude Nakabira, concurs with this assessment, saying the problem is aggravated by the high rate of absenteeism in schools. She says many families force their children to look after cattle or work in the gardens instead of going to school.