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Bundibugyo Learners Abandon Classes Over Lack of Lunch :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Bundibugyo Learners Abandon Classes Over Lack of Lunch

Debora Asiimwe, the head teacher of Bundikakemba Primary School in Nyahuka told URN that they resolved that parents contribute 10kilograms of maize flour and three kilograms of beans towards lunch but the sixth week into the term, no parent has delivered the items
One of the class at Kasulenge primary abandoned by learners

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Learners in Bundibugyo district are shunning afternoon classes due to the absence of lunch. A mini-survey conducted by URN mostly in government schools shows that afternoon classes attract less than half of their total population. 

To enable children to have lunch at school, school administrators and parents in the district agreed that the latter provide foodstuff for those who cannot make minimal financial contributions. However, most of the parents have not made their contributions this term forcing schools to suspend lunch.

Debora Asiimwe, the head teacher of Bundikakemba Primary School in Nyahuka told URN that they resolved that parents contribute 10kilograms of maize flour and three kilograms of beans towards lunch but the sixth week into the term, no parent has delivered the items. She says that learners usually lose concentration during the afternoon lessons because of hunger and escape from classes, which has an impact on their academic performance.

//Cue in: “P1 to P 3 normally… 

Cue out: …kilograms of posho.”// 

Asiimwe says that if the school had enough capitation grants, they would have opted to buy some maize flour but this can’t be possible due to limited resources. The school has only recieved Shillings 900,000 to cater to 395 pupils.

//Cue in: “How can u as media… 

Cue out: …the 10 kgs of posho.”// 

Nelson Balimugwa, the headteacher of Mirambi Primary in Mirambui Sub County says pupils have been narrating to their teachers how they are sleeping hungry at home, which had made it difficult for the parents to pack for them lunch or contribute foodstuff to the schools. He says learners are dodging the afternoon classes in search of fruits from the nearby forests or in cocoa plantations. 

//Cue in: “When they come… 

Cue out: …in all schools.”//

Initially, parents at Mirambi were contributing 5 kilograms of maize flour and Shillings 3000 towards lunch but for this term, no parents have made any payment yet. Frankson Bwamable, the headteacher of Kisonko Secondary School, says of recent learners have totally abandoned afternoon classes to find something to eat. He argues that the poor cocoa harvests coupled with the raising food prices have worsened the situation for both school administrators and parents.

//Cue in: “When you look...

Cue out: … like world food program."//

At Suncity primary school in Ngite Sub County, the school director opted to pick resources from his other business to buy food for the learners after parents failed to make a contribution.  Juliet Mbambu, a teacher at the school says the situation is tough for the school but they are routinely encouraging parents to contribute food. 

//Cue in: “The parents fail…

Cue out: …in terms of lunch.”// 

Dominic Sunday, the deputy headteacher of Kasulenge primary school in Kirindi Sub County says it becoming hard for the management to convince learners to be at school in the afternoon. He says that they suspended lunch because parents could not honor their agreement to contribute towards meals and have stopped chasing pupils without lunch boxes.

//Cue in: “We are talking about…

Cue out: …them they disappear.”// 

James Bwambale, the head teacher of Masule primary school in Ngite Sub County described the situation as a dilemma,  saying that parents do not even want to attend meetings meant to discuss the feeding of their children. He says enrollment is likely to drop further if development partners cannot come in and aid schools to have food. 

//Cue in: “I organized my teachers… 

Cue out: …left to the parents.”// 

Melida Kabasinguzi, a parent at Bundimagwara primary blames this situation on the raising prices of maize flour in the local market. She says that while parents want their children to be at school, it's difficult for them to meet the demands because they largely depend on markets for food.              

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