Soroti decides to engage communities to improve education in the district

Soroti district has resorted to community engagement to boost pupils’ performance in Primary Leaving Examinations –UPE.

The district has for the past ten years been ranked among the worst performing districts in PLE.

Under the community engagement campaign, each parent is expected to ensure that learners have gone to school in time and not held at home to do domestic work. School governing bodies including Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) and School Management Committees are expected to conduct regular participatory schools supervision to ensure teachers perform their expected duties.

Everest Okello, the District Education Officer, blamed the continued poor performance in UPE schools on unqualified teachers whom he says are the majority personnel in the area.

Okello says that the schools absorbed many teachers without proper qualifications during the time of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency in 2003.

He says many of these teachers were recruited by the Ministry of Education with the hope that they would be trained under the in-service continuous professional development but the program did not do much.

Calvin Elenyu, the district secretary for Education decried negative attitude among both parents and teaching personnel saying key education stakeholders are relaxed.

Elenyu says engaging the community, local leaders and school management committees is one sure way to ensuring higher enrolment in schools quality education.

He says the engagement is aimed at boosting support supervision among stakeholders.

Thomas Ogwang, 50, a parent of Adacara Primary School in Soroti district says that unless children start going to school and teachers recommit, good performance in the district especially in UPE schools will never be realised.

Charles Osegel, a resident of Asuret Sub County in Soroti district demanded for routine supervision to crackdown on what he called lazy and non-performing teachers.

He welcomed the community engagement strategy but claimed many teachers in rural areas only concentrate on their personal businesses.

In 2015, Soroti district with a total of 79 UPE schools got only 88 pupils passing in Division one. This, according to DEO Okello, is still below the national target.


ON DUTY: European Union Election Observation Mission in Uganda Team

Following an invitation from the Government of Uganda, the European Union has established a mission to observe the 18th February General Elections. The Chief Observer of the Election mission is Mr. Eduard Kukan, a Slovak member of the European Parliament. The mission comprises around 120 observers from all EU countries, as well as Norway.

The EU Mission in Uganda says a credible national voters’ register is key to a transparent election. Marian Gabriel, the Deputy Chief Observer at the EU Election Observation Mission 2016, says the Electoral Commission must ensure that the voters’ register is accurate and void of scrutiny from the opposition and the electorate.

Marian says the biometric system is one of the steps the EU Observer Mission thinks will provide safeguards against fraud during the 2016 general elections.

Marian was speaking at the dispatch of thirty EU long-term observers who will be monitoring the campaign period in the run up to the February 18 polls and after.

Thirty EU long-term Observers, grouped in two-person teams, departed yesterday from the Election Observation Mission’s headquarters in Kampala to their respective areas of responsibility across the country.

“They will be observing all aspects of the electoral process in their duty areas, meeting with election officials, candidates and civil society representatives. They will report back to the core team in Kampala and the information they provide will be the basis for the mission’s assessment”, said Mr. Marian

The observers will be based in Kampala, Mityana, Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale, Kabarole, Masindi, Arua, Gulu, Lira, Soroti, Moroto, Mbale and Jinja districts.

Closer to Election day, around 80 short-term observers will join the mission. Two days after the election, a Preliminary Statement will be presented by the Chief Observer in a press conference.

Marian says the observers will focus on the presidential and parliamentary campaigns to monitor media access to candidates and the role of security forces in the elections, among others.

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