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Frustration, Tears as East High School Ntinda Closes After 23 Years

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Hamis Kabogoza, a parent with three students at the school told URN that he received communication about the closure of the school on Tuesday evening. He, however, says that he only believed the letter upon arrival at the school on Thursday morning.
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There were tears, frustration, and anguish at East High School Ntinda on Thursday afternoon as parents, and guardians turned up to pick their children following the abrupt closure of the school days after reopening for a new term. 

Many parents dropped their children at the school early this week only to get a notification a few days later that it had been closed. Several parents turned up at the school in disbelief about the turn of events while others thought the communication doing rounds on social media was just a prank. 

Hamis Kabogoza, a parent with three students at the school told URN that he received communication about the closure of the school on Tuesday evening. He, however, says that he only believed the letter upon arrival at the school on Thursday morning.

“I had completed all the process of returning my children to school. I paid to zero balance for the three children and returned home with peace of mind. Now see, the term is already on and my kids don’t have a school. Now we must go school hunting,” said Kabogoza.

Robinah Ali Namuggwe, another parent, wondered why the school administrators opened for a new term when they were not sure whether they would be able to teach the children or not.

Luganda byte    

//Cue in; “Kuba kati ebintu…

Cue out…am not happy.”//  

Parents aside, students were also thrown into sadden closure of the school only a few days after reporting and attended some lessons since Tuesday. Fahad Ssemakula, a Senior Two student notes that he had switched his mind to studies after the prolonged school closure only to be told that they must find new schools.

//Cue in; “Am so disappointed…

Cue out…my school fees.”//

To candidates, the closure hit them hard as they are now pondering their next move. Hilda Liyong, a Senior Six candidate, said that they are worried that they might take time to get admission since many good schools usually don’t admit candidates.

//Cue in; “It has really…  

Cue out…for UNEB.”//

Aisha Namuli, a teacher, notes that two weeks after school reopening, the headteacher called to convince her to leave the job she took on during the lockdown and return to class. She now regrets why she left her new job to return to a school managed by unserious and inconsiderate people. 

Namuli says that to the surprise of many teachers, the school administrators have up to now not communicated to the teachers officially on the new developments. 

//Cue in; “I just feel bad…  

Cue out…what comes next.”//

Ali Mugerwa, another teacher says that the trouble for the school began in 2020 when the former director sold it off to city businessman Omar Mandela amidst financial challenges triggered by the prolonged closure of schools. He notes that right from the short-lived learning period in 2021, things started to change when the new management hiked the tuition and cut the salaries of all staff.   

Although the reason for the abrupt closure of the school remains unclear, a circular issued to parents indicates that it was closed due to the poor turn up of students and the need to renovate it.  “On behalf of the B.O.D (board of directors) I regret to inform you that business at East high school has been put on a halt to facilitate the new development before resumption in the next academic year,” the circular signed by Abdul Khadir, one of the Directors reads in part.  

However, the Deputy Principal, Bosco Khalifa gave another reason altogether for the closure of the school in an interview with URN. Khalifa, who claimed that his bosses will extensively explain the matter noted that the new management is going to restructure the school and turn it into a modern only girl’s school. 

“This place is going to be completely changed. The new management wants to establish a girl’ only school. However, the establishment of such a school requires time to set up. But more information on this will be shared by the directors,” Khalifa told our reporter before chasing him off the school property.   

Although the director had advised parents to enrol their children in selected schools, several parents who turned up on Thursday afternoon to pick their children rejected the offer and instead the school for a refund of their tuition and other requirements, which the administrators agreed to.

The parents noted that the abrupt closure of the school is another indication of the government’s failure to control private schools leaving them to do whatever they like. Christopher Lwanga, one of the parents asked the ministry of education to put up strong policies regulating the closure of private schools.  

//Cue in; “But now abruptly…   

Cue out…help Ugandans.”//  

As parents picked their children from the school, the agents of other schools that had set up tents at the main entrance offered them admission on the spot. Schools such as St Julian Gayaza even brought buses to offer transport to learners who would enrol at their school.

East High School Ntindawas established in 1998 as a joint venture by headteachers from traditional schools including Hajj Abbas Kawaase Mukasa, the former headteacher Kibuli SS; Badru Lubega Waggwa, the former headteacher Gombe SS, Ali Mugagga, the former headteacher Gombe SS; Aisha Lubega, the former headteacher Nabisunsa Girls’ school and Muhamood Nsamba.

The school which has been known for posting good academic performance is now one of the non-medical casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic, which plunged the country into a financial distress.

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