Sembabule Schools Operating Below Minimum Safety Standards

1496 Views Sembabule, Uganda

In short
According to guidelines issued by the Ministry of Education at the height of school fire outbreaks in 2018, all schools operating boarding sections are required to have spacious dormitories, firefighting equipment, fire emergency exit plans, and qualified security personnel, among others.

Most of the schools in Sembabule district are operating below the minimum safety standards, making them susceptible to fire accidents and several other risks.
 
According to guidelines issued by the Ministry of Education at the height of school fire outbreaks in 2018, all schools operating boarding sections are required to have spacious dormitories, firefighting equipment, fire emergency exit plans, and qualified security personnel, among others.
 
However, Sembabule District Assistant Inspector of Schools Coreb Kutamba says that the level of compliance to the guidelines is so poor and many of the schools are prone to fire accidents. He says that the situation is appalling in both government and private schools.
 
Two schools have so far caught fire in Sembabule district since the beginning of the school term three weeks ago. The latest incident occurred on Sunday night when fire razed a dormitory that accommodated 35 pupils at Sembabule Parents Primary School.
 
Kutamba, however, says that the incidents are a wake-up call, to begin a crackdown against all the non-compliant schools for purposes of securing learners and their properties.
 
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URN visited several schools in Sembabule district, among them, Ssedde Junior School, Sembabule Secondary School, Sembabule RC, as well as Star Vocation and Business school and established that all of them still had burglarproof metallic windows. None of them has fire extinguishers.

Sembabule district Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Officer Samson Obicho says that they have discovered countless security lapses in schools, some of which are hiring untrained guards to take charge of the school security.
 
He explains that the incidents at Sembabule RC and Sembabule Parents Primary Schools have also revealed high levels of negligence within the school set up.
 
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Obicho says that the district security committee has now issued instructions to all school proprietors to ensure that their premises are well lit and strictly hire licensed security personnel to keep strict guards of the schools.
 
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But Annet Patricia Nampeera, the head teacher of Sembabule RC, one the schools that were destroyed by fire, argues that these regulations have a huge cost implication that many of them cannot meet.