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Suspension of Fishing Activities Boost School Enrollment in Serere

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Since January this year, the UPDF Fisheries Protection Unit has intensified its operations against illegal fishing on Lake Kyoga. The operations have left thousands of people including children of school going age redundant.
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The number of children reporting for first term studies across Serere district has increased following the suspension of fishing activities, Education officials have revealed. Since January this year, the UPDF Fisheries Protection Unit has intensified its operations against illegal fishing on Lake Kyoga. 

The operations have left thousands of people including children of school going age redundant. The operation has instead boosted school enrollment in Serere district. Reports from different schools visited by our reporter indicate an increment in the number of pupils this term. 

In Obangin Community School in Labor Sub County at least 450 pupils have been enrolled since the term began. The Head Teacher, John Eritu says it’s the first time for them to realise such a number of pupils at the school that is located along the shores of Lake Kyoga. 

Eritu says the highest enrollment they had since 2005 was 418, adding that he is hopeful that this year’s enrollment will exceed 500 pupils. “Really, these children have been drenched into fishing but the situation is forcing them to school. I didn’t expect this number but more children are coming because we have only had four weeks at school”, Eritu said. 

In Jelel Primary School in Olio Sub County, the enrollment has increased from 529 to 660. The School Head Teacher, Scovia Aloyo observes that even the girls’ enrollment is impressive as a good number has been registered in lower primary. Aloyo expects to enroll more than 700 pupils this term.

According to Aloyo, whereas the increased enrollment is linked to the suspension of fishing activities, the school has also put some strategies for a conducive learning environment. 

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Toror Primary School in Bugondo Sub County has realised slightly more than 700 pupils compared to 862 pupils enrolled last year. Samuel Acibu, the Head Teacher, says some of the children ran to a new private  primary school due to the low staffing level at the school.

Acibu explained that most parents have woken up to the fact that fishing in Lake Kyoga is no longer sustainable for their children. 

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However, Florence Ayupo Okalebo, the Head Teacher Oburin Primary School is worried of the completion rates for the newly enrolled pupils in different schools. She told URN on phone that many parents have a tendency of withdrawing children from school when the rain season approaches for garden work. 

She appealed to all stakeholders to ensure that parents support their children who have willingly joined school. Serere district had an enrollment of 85,590 pupils last year but the District Education Officer, Michael Erebu is optimistic that this year’s enrollment will hit 95,000 pupils.  

He revealed that a number of stakeholders have got involved in education issues by mobilising their children to go to school. 

“We have been pushing many people to go to school but some, especially the fishing communities were reluctant, knowing that they would run to the lake and earn a decent living but this operation is a blessing in disguise. We hope that all children of school going age report and continue with school this year”, Erebu said in his office.