Pupils flock Karamoja schools for free meals

Kitgum. Pupils in Kitgum have shunned schools in their district, opting to attend those in the neighbouring Kaabong District, where free meals are provided by World Food Programme (WFP).

The school feeding initiative, where meals are usually provided to pupils in schools, was initiated by WFP as a way of keeping pupils in schools.The programme was started in the districts of the north and northeastern Uganda which have spent many years in conflict and, therefore, needy.However, it has emerged that there is a big influx of pupils from Orom Sub-county in Kitgum to study in schools in Lubalangit Sub-county, Kaabong where the meals are provided.

Children trek more than five kilometres to attend primary schools in Lakeliyo, Kaabong District.Orom Sub-county chairperson Quirino Olum said schools in the sub-county cannot attract learners any more.

“Majority of the pupils, especially those in upper classes, have ignored the nearby school and have to trek more than five kilometres to get to schools in Kabogo where they are sure of having meals in schools,” Mr Olum said.

One of the parents, Mr David Adonga, said the absence of a school feeding scheme should be blamed for the low enrolment in schools in Kaabong District.

“If the food is provided in schools in the nearby district, what do you expect from the learners who at times get to school on empty stomachs?” Mr Adonga said.

arents respond“Some parents cannot afford a meal even in their homes. How do you expect them to have packed food for their children in schools?” he added.He said majority of the parents still believe that it’s the role of the government to provide meals for the children at schools, as it was in the past.

The sub-county councillor, Ms Sabina Akena, said in most schools, the learners remaining are in lower classes who cannot trek for kilometres.The district education officer, Mr Felix Odonga Lomokio, said education is ongoing among the parents on how best to provide the essentials for their children.

“Parents should not forget their roles in seeing their children through education,” Mr Lomokio said.

about feeding Target areas. The school feeding initiative was started in the districts of the north and northeastern Uganda which have spent many years in conflict and, therefore, needy.

Achievements. The move was aimed at encouraging children to attend school. The food assistance programme has also been credited for increasing o school attendance and reducing gender disparities, especially in the lower primary classes.

SOURCE: DAILY MONITOR

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