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Schools Scramble for Limited Play Grounds in Arua City :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Schools Scramble for Limited Play Grounds in Arua City

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Samuel Alicemari from Bright Star Nursery and Primary School states that they will not participate due to the lack of a playground for athletics training and the limited number of learners.
Pupils of Arua Hill Primary school in Arua City one of the affected schools with no playground (Courtesy Photo)

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Several private and government-aided primary schools in Arua City face challenges due to limited play areas for curriculum activities. This issue arises as primary schools in the city prepare for the Kids' Athletics Championships this month. Private schools in the central division are particularly affected, with many operating without dedicated playgrounds.   

Currently, the shortage of play areas has led several schools to crowd into Salim Saleh Playground along Oluko Road and Barifa Stadium, the only available public grounds. Some schools have even opted out of participating in the upcoming interschool athletics competitions. 

Nickson Amandu, the sports and games teacher at Arua Hill Primary School, explains that since 2019, the school has struggled to implement co-curricular activities like sports and physical education due to the absence of a playground.   

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In 2019, the then Arua municipality authorities handed over the Arua Hill Boma grounds, which used to serve as the pitch for Arua Hill Primary School, to Development Infrastructure and Joadah Consultants for the construction of a mini-stadium and a business park, which are yet to be completed.  

Jessica Driciru, the head teacher of Oprah Jayden Nursery and Primary School, emphasizes that the shortage of playgrounds in the city has hindered talent development among primary school pupils.  

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Unlike in the past, when Arua Central Division boasted several public playgrounds, most have been under maintenance over the past two years. For instance, the police playground in Bazaar Ward has been out of use since 2022 due to maintenance under the Urban Cash for Work Programme, a pilot program funded by the International Labour Organization (ILO) through the Ministry of Labour, Gender, and Social Development. 

Meanwhile, the Arua primary playground, which used to provide opportunities for institutions without football pitches, has also been unavailable due to ongoing maintenance. Samuel Alicemari from Bright Star Nursery and Primary School states that they will not participate due to the lack of a playground for athletics training, combined with the limited number of learners.   

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Co-curricular activities like athletics are stipulated in the primary school syllabus under Creative Arts and Physical Education (CAPE) by the Ministry of Education and Sports, to be implemented alongside academics.   

Kitgum district is expected to host the 2024 National Primary Schools' Kids' Athletics from May 5-16. The two-week event will involve children under 12, 14, and 16 years showcasing their talents in various disciplines, including short and long races, shot put, discus, and long jump, among others.