The sharp drop in the number of pupils has raised fears within the district
Leaders in Kasese district have been irked by the rate at which pupils are abandoning schools to engage in fishing at Kayanja Landing Site.
More than half of the pupils enrolled at Kayanja Primary School in Munkunyu Sub County, Kasese district have abandoned school to engage in fishing activities.
Out of the 412 pupils who were enrolled last term year only 122 are still in school with the rest abandoning the school to engage in fishing according to John Rugarama the school head teacher.
The sharp drop in the number of pupils has raised fears within the district education department and political leadership in the sub county.
Jovia Kabugho a project officer at Karambi Action for Life Improvement (KALI) a non-government organization operating in Kasese explained that most children have been reported to be engaging in fishing activities so as to get money, while the girls are been married off.
She said parents in the area have a habit of marrying off their daughters at a young age, adding that there is need for community sensitization.
“We have been carrying out community sensitization in the area and some pupils are coming back to school but most parents at the landing site don’t value education,” Kabugho said.
She added that they recently trained the members of the beach unit management committee about the dangers of involving children in fishing activities at the landing site.
“Children would only attend classes in the morning hours and in the afternoon hours children are out of school already at the landing site spreading nets but now the trend is slowly changing,” Kabugho said.
She noted that KALI has launched a sensitization campaign along the Lake Edward shores on the advantages of education and dangers of dropping out of school.
John Rugarama the school head teacher said the problem has mostly affected primary five, six and seven classes.
He said at the beginning of the term, the school registered 15 pupils in primary five, 22 in primary six and 18 pupils in primary seven but most of them have since not turned up at school.
Rugarama said he has convened several meetings with parents over the matter but several of them do not attend.
At Kinyamaseke Primary School the head teacher Anna Bwambale said recently during a community sensitization meeting that a bylaw should be formulated to restrict children below the age of 18 from going to the landing site during school hours.
“The district council should formulate a bylaw and enforce it because schools are almost empty because the rate at which pupils are leaving schools for fishing is very high,” Bwambale says.
Recently George Mayinja the district education officer for Kasese said that the district is working with different stakeholders in ensuring that they address the challenges at the landing sites.
Mayinja said that cases of children abandoning schools at the landing sites for fishing activities are not new in the district but they are engaging communities around the lake to ensure that children remain in school.