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Soroti Bishop Joins Campaign to Save Amuria's Oldest School

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The prelate who was conducting confirmation service in Amuria Archdeaconry got concerned when he saw the community baking bricks for the construction of the school.
Fallen roof of Atakia Primary school.

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The Bishop of Soroti Diocese, Rt. Rev. Kosea Odongo has joined the campaign to save Atakia Primary School, one of the oldest primary schools in Amuria District. The dilapidated structures of Atakia Primary School drew the attention of Bishop Odongo. 

Local authorities in the area say the school started in 1911. The prelate who was conducting confirmation service in Amuria Archdeaconry got concerned when he saw the community baking bricks for the construction of the school.

He was taken aback to learn that the Ministry of Education and Sports is yet to code Atakia Primary School, which has been running as a community school for more than a century. Bishop Odongo offered 100 bags of cement in addition to Shillings one million towards the construction of permanent structures for the school.

He said that the contribution was to set a pace for the government to step in and take up responsibility for the construction and development of the school. Information obtained from the community indicates that Atakia has produced several children including some retired civil servants.  

Charles Asubu, 54, is a primary school teacher who studied at Atakia Primary School in the 1970s. He says that the condition of the school then forced him to transfer to Wera Primary School where he completed his primary school cycle. 

Asubu, who doubles as a lay reader in one of the Anglican Churches in Amuria Archdeaconry, says that the school has only survived for very long because of the committed community members. 

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Peter Omoding, the Headteacher of Atakia Primary School, says that they have written several reminders to the district to have the school coded in vain. He explains that before 2011, the school had almost collapsed but it took the intervention of the community to revive it. 

According to Omoding, the school had eleven candidates who sat for Primary leaving Examinations where the best pupil scored 14 aggregates. He adds that by the time government closed schools due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Atakia had an enrolment of 347 pupils. 

Omoding told our reporter that the school management has tasked each of the six villages located within the proximity of the school to bake at least 10,000 bricks to facilitate the construction of permanent structures in the school.

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Kelen Acom, the Amuria District Education Officer, and Moses Emabu, the District Chairperson neither picked nor replied to text messages sent to their known cell phones.

Simon Orit, the Chairperson of Uganda National Teachers’ Union Amuria branch, says that whereas there are other schools like Acomai and Achen Rhoda primary schools that are not coded, the district has put up some structures there including permanent classroom blocks. 

He wonders why the same initiative was never given to Atakia, which serves more than six villages in Abia Sub County.