As the government considers reopening schools in January 2022 following the nationwide lockdown resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, some schools in Otuke district might not reopen due to a lack of classrooms. Some schools lack classrooms to accommodate learners after losing their rooftops to heavy storms.
The affected schools include Amoni primary school in Ogwete sub-county, Arom, Ociro and Oluro in Ogor sub-county, Anepmoroto, Alangi, and Oboko in Orum sub-county.
The others are Olilim in Olilim sub-county and Okwongo and Okeremomkok in Adwari sub-county. Alfred Malina, the Otuke Chief Administrative Officer, says that some learners might get stuck at home.
Quinto Odongo, the Otuke District Education Officer described the situation at many schools as “appalling”, saying that although they have plans of renovating the schools, they operate on a meager budget.
He says that the district currently renovating Barocok and Ogoro primary schools that were affected by heavy rains two years ago.
The lack of classrooms is not the only challenge. Some schools do not have staff houses. At Baralegi, a primary school which was relocated to a new site following the construction of a presidential lodge in the area, there is only two twin house accommodating 8 out of 14 teachers at the school.
Betty Obba, a member of the School Management Committee explained that upon relocation, the president promised to build a model school but that promise has not been fulfilled.
According to her, the situation at the school is now so bad that the teachers fear bringing their spouses to their workplace due to a lack of privacy.
Whereas at Okwang primary school, there are only 5 houses to accommodate 16 teachers. The school also lacks desks.
Six hundred out of the 958 pupils enrolled at the school were sitting on the floor by the time schools closed.
Jimmy Otim, the headteacher of the school says despite the big infrastructural challenge, there are also facing a problem of encroachment.
Otuke district has 45 government-aided primary schools with an enrolment of 46, 783 pupils.