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Namirembe Hillside Fire: Students Point to Mistreatment :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Namirembe Hillside Fire: Students Point to Mistreatment

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A police officer at Kasangati Police Station privy to the investigations into the fire outbreaks at the schools says some of the students suspected to have started fires, point to corporal punishment and poor feeding as some of the reasons that pushed them to act the way they did.
Namirembe Hillside high school main gate

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The recent fire outbreaks at Namirembe Hillside high school in Wakiso district are being blamed on mistreatment by teachers. There were three fire outbreaks at the school last week.  

A police officer at Kasangati Police Station privy to the investigations into the fire outbreaks at the schools says some of the students suspected to have started fires, point to corporal punishment and poor feeding as some of the reasons that pushed them to act the way they did.  

Seven students were picked up on Sunday for allegedly attempting to set the school library and four dormitories ablaze on Saturday night. This came just a few hours after the students torched the boy’s dormitory on Friday morning.   

“They said that they have been over beaten by the teachers on top of being given little food,” the officer said.  Luke Owoyesigire, the Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson, could neither confirm nor deny the claims.   

He however, said that he was aware that some of students have confessed being in the know about the source of the fire. Owoyesigire says preliminary police investigations point at arson. 

 

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Owoyesigire says following the Saturday night incident, police investigators have since recovered a number of items including bed sheets, which are suspected to have been soaked in kerosene and iron boxes.  

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Some of the students our reporter spoke too have confirmed being subjected to corporal punishment, which was outlawed by government. They however, refuted claims of poor feeding. A senior one student, said teachers actually beat them whenever they break school rules.  

“Of course they beat us. That isn’t a lie but we are well fed, the school even prepares special meals for us for example on some Sundays two cows are slaughtered and we eat to our fullest,” the students said.

Elias Mugisha, the Head teacher Namirembe Hillside high school dismissed the allegations of poor feeding and corporal punishment made the students. He said the students are trying to come up with an excuse to cover up from their bad conduct.

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Dr. George Opiro, an expert in Psycho-social care and support, says that besides mistreatment, there are times when learners, more so in boarding school no longer want to be at school.   

“Physiologically children would want to spend time with friends and family in a free environment. If this is not awarded to them they can find means of creating ways to get it. That plus the mode of teaching these days where learners are taught from early morning to late night this can explain school strikes and fires,” Dr. Opiro said.  

He says some years back, the Education and Sports Ministry suggested midterm breaks for boarding students during the longer terms but this was ignored by schools. 

Dr. Opiro is the former Commissioner for in charge of Guidance and Counseling in the Education and Sports Ministry.