PALLISA-Inadequate teachers, staff accommodation and failure to provide lunch are impeding academic performance in Pallisa, the district chairman has said.
Mr John Micheal Okurut explained that unless the challenges are solved, the district will continue lagging behind in national education rankings. “These are urgent concerns that need to be addressed by government and I also call upon other stakeholders to play their roles as enshrined in the education Act,” he said.
Mr Okurut said whereas government announced plans to recruit more primary teachers, this has not happened yet, leaving the district to grapple with a high teacher to pupil ratio.
A year ago, the government announced that it was to recruit more than 10,000 primary teachers and Shs53b had been set aside to cater for their salaries.
However, this has not come to reality and now the district is facing a a shortage of about 301 primary teachers to cope with the overwhelming number of children enrolled under the Universal Primary Education problem.
Mr John Francis Okuma, the District Education Officer, said that whereas the district is supposed to have 1,259 teachers, they on have 868 teachers on the payroll. He explained that the education department is facing a challenge of teachers to cope with the numbers of pupils and according to the guidelines, the teacher –pupil ratio is supposed to be 1:53 but because of lack of teachers, the ratio stands at 1:71.
He said that whereas the district still has more jobs for teachers, the district could not recruit without clearance from the concerned mMnistry of Public Service and finance. “For purpose of quality education, we have requested the ministry to give a blessing and recruit more teachers,” Mr Okuma said.
Mr Okuma explained that district receives a meager wage bill which is not enough to allow more recruitment of more teachers to bridge up the existing gaps l. Pallisa t has 65 primary schools –all operating under UPE.