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Seven Community Schools Fail to Reopen Due to Financial Constraints

Justine Oyoo, the Lajalula Primary School Head teacher told URN on Tuesday that they could not reopen for their eighteen finalist pupils due to financial constraints.
Michael Lakony the Amuru district chairperson

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Seven community-owned primary schools in Amuru district have failed to reopen leaving more than 100 candidates stranded.  The affected are Apaa, Lajalula, Lakang, Atoro, Juka, Otorukume and Punu Dyang Primary Schools.    

The schools are located in hard to reach areas in Apaa village in Pabbo Sub County, Lakang and Kololo Sub Counties. Justine Oyoo, the Headteacher Lajalula Primary School told URN on Tuesday that they could not reopen for their eighteen finalist pupils due to financial challenges.

Oyoo explained that the school failed to build an isolation room and get a school nurse, which would cost close to Shillings one million that they do not have. These were part of the requirements set by the Ministry of Health and Education for reopening of schools in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.    

He notes that they advised the candidates to register for their primary leaving examinations in the neighbouring schools. Redento Okot, the Headteacher Apaa Primary School in Apaa Township, says his school was already struggling to raise money from parents even before the COVID-19 pandemic.    

He says they did not see any reason to reopen for the seven candidates since parents would still fail to raise the basic requirements and leave the school struggling. Michael Lakony, the Amuru district LCV Chairperson, says the majority of the community schools survive on assistance and donations from well-wishers and cannot operate independently.  

He disclosed that the failure to reopen has made more than a hundred primary seven candidates fail to register for the 2021 Primary Leaving Examinations because their parents could not afford to send them to distant schools since they were equally cash strapped.     

Habraham Opiru, a resident of Apaa Township told URN that several pupils who had expected to seat their PLE this year are now stuck and have resorted to gardening. Christopher Ocan, the Amuru District Inspector of Schools, says some of the schools were not allowed to reopen because of failure to meet the COVID-19 guidelines.

He disclosed that 3,189 pupils were registered to sit PLE during the exercise that ended in November this year.  They comprise 1,245 girls and 1,944 boys.    

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