Efforts by Ntoroko leaders to address the problem of teacher absenteeism in the district are beginning to pay off. Last year, Ntoroko was ranked first with the highest rates of teacher absenteeism in the Rwenzori region, which was responsible for the poor performance in schools in the district.
Efforts by Ntoroko leaders to address the problem of teacher absenteeism in the district are beginning to pay off.
Last year, Ntoroko was ranked first with the highest rates of teacher absenteeism in the Rwenzori region, which was responsible for the poor performance in schools in the district. Last year, only 8 pupils passed in the first grade in the Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE).
The district then introduced measures like daily inspection of schools by inspectors and parents, suspension of absent teachers for a week or withholding their salaries.
Since the enforcement of the inspection and punitive measures, there has been a reduction in teacher absenteeism.
Records at the district education department indicate that only 2 out of 12 teachers have been absent from a school unlike two years ago when the number was high.
Harriet Baguma, the Ntoroko district inspector of schools says that she is happy the measures are yielding results. She says that since the beginning of the term in some of the schools visited, all teachers were present at school.
Baguma says next term more punitive measures will be set up to curb pupil absenteeism. She says that parents send their children to work as casual laborers because of poverty.
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At Karugutu Primary School, the Uganda Radio Network reporter accessed the teachers’ attendance list and saw all the fifteen teachers present at work.
Samuel Irumba, the head teacher says that since the beginning of the term no teacher has absconded from work. Irumba says that before the measures were put in place, teachers would spend two weeks or even a month doing private work and not reporting for work.
David Aguma, the Ntoroko district education officer, says that with the measures, he is sure schools in the district will perform better in this year’s national examinations. He says local leaders and parents have worked together and reported teachers who always dodge lessons to his office.
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However, Benjamin Kasaija, a teacher at Nombe Primary School says that they don’t intentionally abscond from duty, but issues like accommodation and transport are reasons for teacher absenteeism.
Kasaija says that since they do not reside near their places of work, they spend much money on transport to and from the school and if they lack transport, they don’t report to school.
According to the 2010 annual learning assessment report by UWEZO, only one out of every 10 teachers was present from school on the day of assessment.