Student Numbers Dwindle over Severe Food Shortages

1628 Views Soroti, Uganda

In short
In January, the district disaster preparedness committee confirmed that over 17,000 households were starving after a prolonged drought that devastated gardens during first and second planting seasons.

A severe food crisis that hit Soroti district in Eastern Uganda is affecting classroom attendance in schools across the district. A decline in pupils is visible in all government aided schools especially in rural areas.

The schools including Akaikai P.7, Moruapesur P/S, Telamot Primary School, Akisim P.7 School, Fr. Hilders P/S, Pamba P/S, Omodoi P/S ,Teso boarding P/s and Majengo Primary school have continued to receive low number of pupils reporting for term one.

In January, the district disaster preparedness committee confirmed that over 17,000 households were starving after a prolonged drought that devastated gardens during first and second planting seasons.

As a result, some parents keep their children at home to help them look for food while others are unable to afford scholastic materials including books, uniforms and other requirements due to loss of livelihood.

The inspection report for the first week of the school term obtained from all the 79 government schools in Soroti indicates that on average about 40 percent of learners have not reported at all. Soroti District Inspector of Schools Simon Emoru Enangu says the drought has terribly affected enrollment in schools.
 
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Enangu warned parents against holding their children at home saying this may affect the learner's ability hence poor performing.

Philemon Oryada, the head teacher of Akaikai primary school in Soroti district says enrollment of pupils at this school has dropped by over 40 percent.  Oryada says the school used to register over 1,000 pupils within the first week of the school term. However, today, as the second week comes to an end, only 600 pupils are actively attending classes.
 
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Stella Chebet, a resident of Soroti town says she is struggling to make her children find food before sending them to schools. Chebet adds that for her, food is a priority before she can start looking for books.
 
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Guidelines for School Feeding and Nutrition issued by the Ministry of Education provide for a parent-led school feeding programme which gives parents the responsibility to provide food for their children.

 

About the author

Ronald Odongo
Ronald Odongo is the URN Bureau Chief Lira, Northern Uganda.A multimedia Journalist, Media trainer and investigative enthusiast. Lira,Apac,Dokolo,Oyam, Kwania, Otuke, Amolatar,and Alebtong districts fall under his docket. Odongo has been a URN staff member since 2012 though he had been a contributor since 2006.

Odongo started out as a bicycle reporter for Radio Unity in 2004. He was Radio Rhino FM's senior reporter, Luo news anchor and station producer between 2006 and 2011. Odongo started out as a freelance writer for Uganda Radio Network in 2006.

Odongo is particularly interested in reporting on community health, and education concerns. Good governance and human rights beats are dear to Odongo as a former Lord’s Resistance Army rebels captive 1996-1998.