Invest more in education of urban poor, activists say

KAMPALA- The government should establish measures to ensure that children living in slums and other urban poor settlements go to school, women activists have said.

As part of the forthcoming Women in Politics Conference, the activists, who were touring Kikubamutwe slum in Kampala recently, noted that despite the availability of the Universal Primary Education (UPE), many children were finding it hard to attend UPE schools because they do not have the necessary requirements such as books, uniforms and food because they cannot afford them.

“We all know that UPE is not completely free as parents have to provide books and other necessities. In fact, it is going to get worse following the proposal in the 201415 Budget to reduce the capitation grant to UPE schools and the tax on the educational materials like books,” said Ms Patricia Munabi Babiiha, the executive director of Forum for Women in Democracy.

Call for intervention
She said unless the government intervenes and establishes special measures, a number of children of school going age in areas such as Kikubamutwe will be kept out of school.

“All the citizens of Uganda deserve to live in dignity but what we have seen here (Kikubamutwe) is a disgrace and government needs to act fast to help the children living in such areas,” Ms Babiiha said.

The Minister of Education and Sports, Ms Jessica Alupo, said more should be done to sensitise parents about the Education Act which makes it clear that in the absence of such things like uniforms, children should be allowed to continue with their studies.

“I agree with them and similar issues have also come up in rural areas and if particular cases where children cannot completely get these items can be identified and isolated, it is a proposal that government can take up,” Ms Alupo said.

She said it is pointless to keep a child in school when they do not have a book or a pen to write with and observed that government was already establishing measures to curb the problem.

The activists donated an assortment of scholarstic materials to People Concern Literacy Centre in Kikubamutwe. The centre was set up to help such children who had failed to join school.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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