Special needs schools in Kampala are facing hard times because of the
failure of parents to support their children.
Although the government fully reopened
learning institutions nationwide on January 10th, 2022, special
needs schools are yet to resume full operations because of several challenges.
Pius Oketcho is the headteacher of Mulago School for the Deaf. According to Oketcho,
some parents are yet to send back their children almost three weeks after the
government reopened schools.
He explains that some parents have been calling the school to send them
transport to return the learners to school while others claim that they don’t have
money for fees and scholastic
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Only 137 out of the 250 pupils enrolled
at Mulago School for the Deaf have returned three
weeks into the new term.
According to Oketcho, parents are expected to contribute
Shillings 400,000 to cater for meals, scholastic materials, and utility bills.
Part of the money is also used to pay contract
staff. He, however, says that not more than 50 parents meet their full obligation as many keep making
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According to Oketcho, although the government
is expected to provide the school capitation grant, they are yet to receive money
for this term, which has complicated their work.
The government is expected to
contribute Shillings 19,300 for each learner per term and they often receive between
and 800,000 per term as a capitation grant.
Oketcho, who did not reveal how much they need to feed the
over 200 children at Mulago School for the Deaf, said that they need 9000 kilograms of maize flour per term,300
kilograms of sugar, and 15 bags of beans.
The situation is not
any different at Ntinda School for the Deaf. The headteacher, Juliet
Mary Tumuhairwe, says that they have
turned into beggars because most of the parents are not willing to meet their
responsibilities towards their children’s education.
She says that the school largely depends
on well-wishers when it comes to feeding the children because most parents don’t pay fees. Learners pay
Shillings 500,000 per term because Ntinda School for the deaf is a boarding school.
However, Tumuhairwe, some parents fail even to contribute a single coin to the school.
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According to Tumuhairwe, the school cannot shift all the problems on the COVID-19 pandemic,
because even before the lockdown some parents were non-cooperative
when it came to fulfilling their responsibilities.
believes that some parents intentionally ignore children with disabilities
and prioritize their siblings.
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Bernadette Bwoni, the chairperson Mulago School for the Deaf Management Committee,
says that the major challenge they are facing is parents who have continued to look at their
children with learning disabilities as a curse.