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Over 320 P.6 Pupils Abandon School in Moroto

Aleper says they cannot trace 161 boys and 117 girls who have failed to report back to school. He explains that most of the affected pupils are from Rupa and Tapac sub-counties where major mining activities take place.
A teacher at Kasimeri Primary School marking books in class.

Audio 2

Education authorities in Moroto district are unable to trace 324 primary six pupils who failed to turn up for studies in March 2021. Joseph Aleper, the Moroto District Inspector of Schools, says that they registered 986 pupils across the district before the COVID-19 lockdown but only 662 reported after the government opened classes for primary six learners in March.

Aleper says they cannot trace 161 boys and 117 girls who have failed to report back to school. He explains that most of the affected pupils are from Rupa and Tapac sub-counties where major mining activities take place.  Aleper explains that a number of learners were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced them to resort to alternative livelihoods.

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Joyce Longole, a parent in Rupa Sub County says that she cannot force her children to return to school since they now earn from gold mining sites. “I used to be strict with my children- not to allow them to visit mining sites during holidays but when the lockdown came, it prolonged their stay at home and somehow, they managed to sneak into the sites. These days, I take weeks before seeing my children and when I tried convincing them to go back to school, they were very reluctant”, she said.

Our reporter met a 16- year- old girl at Moroto Regional Referral Hospital where she has gone for antenatal care. She said that much as she had not planned to engage in a sexual relationship, her friends from Moroto Municipality convinced her to get a boyfriend.

 

“I found out that I was pregnant when the government was planning a staggered reopening of schools. My boyfriend promises to allow me to go back to school after delivering this baby but I’m not sure whether he will stand by his words”, she said.

Jackson Angela, an elder in Moroto observes that during the lockdown, many parents especially casual labourers were rendered jobless when their employers left or were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. He notes that even with the universal primary and secondary education, there are still more requirements that some parents are not able to provide for their children to return to school.

According to Angela, mining activities in Rupa Sub County have been affected by insecurity.

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Cue out…mining gold”//     At least 13 candidates didn’t show up for their Primary Leaving Examination- PLE in Moroto district last month. 700 candidates registered for the examination in Moroto. The affected candidates were reportedly involved in mining activities in Rupa and Tapac sub-counties.