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City Protests Leave Schools Panicking, Teachers Worried Over Safety of Students

Schools in the Kampala Metropolitan area were thrown into panic following city riots that broke out yesterday and have continued today.

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Schools in the Kampala Metropolitan area were thrown into panic following city riots that broke out on Wednesday and continued in some part on Thursday.

The riots broke out in several parts of the country after National Unity Platform - NUP presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu was arrested in Luuka district while on his campaign trail.  

Now, schools in Kampala are in panic and some have resorted to letting their finalists leave early to avoid getting caught up in the chaos.

At Kabojja Junior School located in Kololo, parents were asked to pick up their children at midday given the fact that everybody was deserting the city too earlier than usual. The situation was no different at Kitante Hill School. Catherine Onen, the Kitante Hill School headteacher says they were forced to close early worrying about the consequences of protests.

"We didn’t want our children to be caught up in the chaos only for parents to blame us. It's a hard decision to make because if they were caught up in the riot, parents would ask us why we released them early. If we released them at the normal time, they might still be caught up in the riot,” Onen told Uganda Radio Network.

Richard Abura, the deputy headteacher of Nakasero primary school said they were forced to release pupils before the normal time. Abura, however, adds that the turn-up on Thursday was very low with over half of the learners failing to report for classes.

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Schools around Gayaza Road, Mulago, and Kalerwe areas have not had it easy on Wednesday and Thursday as the teaching-learning process was disrupted by the protests. Hassan Gombe, the headteacher Mulago High School notes that they had to stop teaching but they couldn’t let the students go home. “Sending them home would land them in trouble. Some of them are politically active and might be attracted to the protests,” he added. 

While some schools panicked, others seemed to handle the situation rather calmly. At Kitante Primary School, it was business as usual. Bernard Egesa, the deputy headteacher at the school says that learning will continue. He says there is no reason to panic since school children are rarely affected when it comes to chaos.

"Yesterday we didn't get any news of our children being involved in the chaos and so today we hoped for the same. The children left school at the normal time. Children have no business being tear-gassed," said Egesa on Thursday.

Edward Kanoonya, the headteacher of Kololo Secondary School says the only thing they can do is caution the children on the current unrest and give them tips on how to keep safe while going back to their respective homes or even if they are caught up in a similar situation when they are coming to school.

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Meanwhile, Muhammad Sserugo, the director of Kinaawa High Kawempe, notes that the riots have psychologically impacted on the learners and also affected them interms of covering the syllabus in a given period.