PIC: Education stakeholders in Ibanda district during the meeting (Lawrence Mucunguzi)
IBANDA - Rampant domestic violence has been cited as one of the major issues fuelling teacher and learner absenteeism in Ibanda district.
Johnson Tumuhairwe, a teacher in Ibanda town, said teachers sometimes miss lessons due to the psychological and physical injuries inflicted on them by their spouses over the night.
He, however, said due to fear of being mocked by their colleagues, they tend to keep quiet about it.
Gaudias Tumusiime Bidebere, the Ibanda district education officer said the violence has not spared the children either.
“Domestic violence harms school-going children both psychologically and physically, consequently, hindering their learning process,” Tumusiime said.
This was revealed during a stakeholders meeting organised by the education ministry, together with the local government ministry at Kibubura Integrated P/S in Ibanda municipality Tuesday.
The meeting was aimed at sensitising stakeholders on how to curb teacher and learner absenteeism.
In the recently released World Bank Report, Uganda was cited as one of the leading countries in Africa with a high teacher and leaner rate.
Ibanda and Kamwenge districts in western region were ranked among top 50 districts leading in teacher and leaner absenteeism.
Gabreil Tumotoijere, the senior assistant secretary at the district, said teacher absenteeism was named as the major factor responsible for poor academic performance in many schools across the country.
“It is crucial that strict measures be taken to make it costly for a teacher to abandon classroom work. It is also imperative that the reasons that force teachers to keep out of the classroom be established and delt with,” Tumotoijere said.
The meeting also resolved that parents provide their children with scholastic materials to keep them in school.
Learner absenteeism was also blamed on domestic chores such as cooking and babysitting, which the children remain home to do.
As for the case of girls, stakeholders said: Many parents in Ibanda regard their daughters as assets for bride wealth. They, therefore, marry them off at a tender age to get dowry.”
The stakeholders also blamed the Government for failing to supervise the performance of the schools, saying this is another cause of poor performance in public schools.
They, therefore, called on responsible government officials to continuously supervise these schools to be updated on their operations.
The meeting was attended by district leaders, inspectors, teachers, political leaders, school management committee leaders and school foundation bodies, among others.