Recently, Luweero District Head Teachers’ Association passed a resolution requiring all primary school to acquire identification tags bearing their passport photos, names, parent’s names and place of residence.
Parents and district authorities in Luweero are up in arms against a proposal by headteachers to introduce identification tags for pupils.
Luweero District Head Teachers’ Association recently passed a resolution requiring all primary school to acquire identification tags bearing their passport photos, names, parent’s names and place of residence.
Some of the schools that have embraced the proposal include St Peters’ Semuyungu, Kagembe Church of Uganda, Bbowa Primary School and Kalasa Mixed Primary schools among others.
Jeremiah Ssendege, the Chairperson of Luweero District Head Teacher’s Association says that the proposal is aimed at helping to identify and trace pupils in case they go missing. He says they intend to store pupil’s biodata at a central computerized data centre that they will use to send out information in case of a missing pupil.
According to Ssendege, parents are required to pay 4,000 Shillings for each identification tag.
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However, the proposal has stirred an uproar among some parents and district authorities, saying charging for the tags may affect enrollment under the Universal Primary Education programme.
Hussein Kato, the Luweero District Finance Secretary says the money demanded from any government school must be approved by the district council and Parents Teacher’s Association, which wasn’t done.
Kato says parents are tired of endless demands by schools;
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Luweero District Chairperson Ronald Ndawula says that parents are poor and introducing another fee may force some learners to drop out of school. Ndawula says there is no need for tags if pupils have school uniforms with badges for easy identification.
He says if headteachers want to add more features, they can do it on uniforms other than selling identification tags.
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Parents led by Samson Kibirango have also expressed concern over multiple fees demanded by UPE schools, saying this may discourage some from taking children there.
Jane Nakate, one of the aggrieved parents says young children won’t be able to keep the tags for long and may end up losing them, which will require replacement.
But Luweero District Education Secretary Zenar Nasur has defended the proposal for the introduction of identification tags, saying it’s a positive move. Nasur explains that they advised headteachers to talk to parents especially those who can afford to pay for the tags.
About 675 kidnap cases
involving children and 249 child theft were reported in 2018, according to the
Police Annual Crime report. Luweero and Nakaseke district have recorded several
such cases in recent months.
One such case was that
of the theft of 1 and half- year- old Marvin Ssemindi from his parents at
Wabusana trading center in Luweero in April.
Other children disappeared from
the family of Livingstone Ssekyanzi and Jameo Nambalirwa of Butiikwa village in
Nakaseke in June.