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Karamoja Leaders Condemn Pupils Taking Siblings to School, but Nun Differs :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Karamoja Leaders Condemn Pupils Taking Siblings to School, but Nun Differs

The most affected learners are girls aged between 7 and 12 years of age who are given additional responsibilities of caring for their young siblings while at school. Rt Revd Joseph Abura, the bishop for Church of Uganda Karamoja diocese told URN that it is shameful to contain the young siblings at school because it frustrates the learning process for the caretaker.
Jessica Akol -a senior woman teacher at Musas primary school standing with some of the learners carrying their young siblings

Audio 5



Leaders in the Karamoja sub region are concerned over parents sending their pre- school children to class with their siblings to share their free meal as hunger bites the families.

Because of the feeding program at schools, the families have resorted to sending pupils to school with other siblings tied on the backs because they do not have food to care for them at home.

The most affected learners are girls aged between 7 and 12 years of age who are given the additional responsibility of catering for their young siblings while at school.

Rt Rev Joseph Abura, the bishop for Church of Uganda Karamoja diocese told URN that it is shameful to take the young siblings at school because it frustrates the learning process for the caretaker.

According to Abura, the most affected pupils are the girls in lower classes and yet this is the strongest foundation for children to start their education careers.

Abura condemned the act saying these should not be encouraged because the children deserve a better learning environment to be able to study well.

 He also noted that the young siblings have given their care takers a burden of cleaning, feeding, and babysitting and yet they are supposed to concentrate on studies.

‘’I know we are affected by hunger, but this should not affect our children who are learning at school by sending young siblings for them to take care instead of grabbing the opportunity to study, this is child labor’’ Abura lamented.

Abura suggests that one way of solving the problem is to establish kindergarten or secure any space within the school where these children can stay under the care of someone else but not pupils who are learning in the classes.

//Cue in : ‘’girls that go to…….//

Cue out : ‘’…………… who are at school.’’//

Jessica Akol, the a senior woman teacher at Musas Primary School in Katikekile sub county Moroto district says the younger children taking care of the younger ones have lost concentration in class and burden of caring for children instead of learning.

Akol noted that most of the siblings carried on their backs to school are not yet old enough to be in class and this frustrates learning of the caretaker.

She said that this has affected the learning of pupils at school which has also contributed to high failure in final examination.

‘’We are struggling to ensure that girls obtain education but the same girl child is given more responsibilities of looking after the young siblings while at school, at the end these girls are traumatized and fail to perform in class’’ Akol  said.

//Cue in : ‘’they send a child with………//

Cue out : ‘’………..with another baby.’’//

Mary Nachap, the deputy mayor in Moroto municipality said that also during the time of farming, parents are forced to send their children to school with other young siblings so that they can be fed at school while parents are in gardens.

Nachap said that the situation is being worsened by the hunger crisis in the families because even if the siblings are left at home there is nothing for feeding them.

She appealed to the schools to consider establishing early child development centers in so that the young ones are seperated from those meant to study.

//Cue in: ‘’that situation is……//

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However, Sr Bernadette Nabankema, a pastoral social worker at Regina Mundi Cathedral is inclined to follow the Lord's teaching of giving priority to the children. She says that while church does not encourage the practice, sometimes they are forced because parents beg to keep children at school.

Nabankema said that they have tried much to educate parents the value of education so that they can take their children to school but some perceive it their negative way.

She said that the parents should be encouraged to keep their children at school despite the conditions so as to secure the future of the young generation.

//Cue in : ‘’through our envegalization…../

Cue out : ‘’………their children to school.’’//

Markson Ojao, the senior educationist in Moroto district said that there is nothing much they can do to stop these siblings from school because the main factor driving them is food which they lack in their homes.

Ojao said that the school feeding program at school is helping these siblings and this could be another way of luring the children to stay at school.

He said that they are advocating for an Early Child Development program in the schools so that the children are isolated and taken care of by trained personnel to manage them.

//Cue in : ‘’most of our children….//

Cue out : ‘’………there is a lot of poverty.’’//

With the support of Irish Aid, the World Food Programme (WFP) provides food to all primary and secondary schools in Karamoja, reaching more than 100,000 children each year with at least one meal a day.