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Entebbe’s former school of glory fades

By Vision Reporter

Added 19th August 2008 03:00 AM

WHEN it opened up in 1952, the School now known as Lake Victoria Primary School, Entebbe in Wakiso district had two sections under different names.
The lower part, now referred to as the lower school, catering for P1-P3, was called the Common School; while the upper part, for P4-P7, was the Euro

WHEN it opened up in 1952, the School now known as Lake Victoria Primary School, Entebbe in Wakiso district had two sections under different names.
The lower part, now referred to as the lower school, catering for P1-P3, was called the Common School; while the upper part, for P4-P7, was the Euro

By Gladys Kalibbala

WHEN it opened up in 1952, the School now known as Lake Victoria Primary School, Entebbe in Wakiso district had two sections under different names.
The lower part, now referred to as the lower school, catering for P1-P3, was called the Common School; while the upper part, for P4-P7, was the Europeans’ school.

The Common School was meant to accommodate children from distinguished African families, as well as Public Service senior officers. The European School, on the other hand, was for children of European Government officials who had been sending their children to Nairobi in Kenya for studies, until they built the school, according to a resident, Christopher Sebuliba.

Sebuliba explains that when the school was merged after Independence in 1962, it acquired the name Lake Victoria Primary School. In Entebbe it is common knowledge that almost all the well-to-do families in the area took their children to the school. Among them are Nabagereka Sylvia Nagginda and International Criminal Court judge Julia Sebutinde.

When the school became dilapidated after the introduction of UPE in January 1997, the parents had to act; which resulted in the interdiction of the deputy headteacher, Samuel Kizikiza.

According to the School’s Administration’s report, sh2,000 collected from each child for a pit-latrine was used to repair the old flash toilets instead and clear the accumulated water bills, while the sh30,000 from each P7 pupil was for tuition.

A dissatisfied parent, Francis Malinga, took the matter to the education minister and Inspector General of Government (IGG), citing fraud. He had been asked to pay the balance of sh20,000 he had not paid during the term before he received his daughter’s results.

In a June 2 letter signed by the Entebbe Town Clerk, Joseph Kimbowa, Kizikiza was reminded that according to government policy, result slips were free. “Apart from contradicting that policy, you attempted to solicit personal gratification from a member of the public, which is a criminal offence,” Kimbowa stated.

Before this step was taken, Kimbowa had received a strong letter dated May 28, 2008 from the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Francis Lubanga.
He was cautioned about delays in taking disciplinary measures against both the headteacher, Semahoro Rukeeba and Kizikiza. He was given a June 11 deadline to act or face the consequences.

“If you continue to shelter this matter, I will request the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Local Government to take action against you for condoning a corrupt practice and for providing comfort to a public official who breaches public policy deliberately,” Lubanga wrote.

Malinga also wrote a letter dated April 17, to the IGG, informing her of a fraud case at the school.

He added that although the money had been collected since 2006 and estimated the enrollment of children to be 1,025, nothing had been put on the ground.
In a May 28 letter from Lubanga, Kimbowa was instructed to explain the actions taken against Semahoro concerning the pit-latrine saga. “I have been presented with receipts to bear evidence that this money was collected,” the letter read.

In a letter dated May 8, from the Municipal Education Officer Deogratius Sekyole to Lubanga concerning the alleged fraud, Sekyole said the School Management Committee (SMC) did not effectively communicate to parents the resolutions to re-allocate the money.
“This has resulted into suspicion on the part of parents. This anomaly must be corrected immediately,” Sekyole wrote.

The SMC said they resolved that each child pays sh2,000 for a pit-latrine after the old one collapsed in June 2006 and almost killed a pupil who was using it.
The committee asked for sh2,000 after their appeal to the council was fruitless. The contribution, which targeted sh7.8m and expected to be completed in 2nd term of 2008, set off in 3rd term of 2006.

However, at the beginning of Term One 2007, the SMC resolved that the money should be committed to repairing the flash toilets. “They were a nuisance and children were finding it extremely difficult to use them. National Water had also disconnected the water,” said a member of the committee.

The Committee members further explain that the idea of digging up a new pit-latrine was abandoned as at the same time the council had started constructing a 16-stance toilet at the school.

A survey by a Education Vision revealed that the flash toilets were renovated and in use but since they are far and few, the children at the other end of the school use toilets in the teachers’ quarters.

The municipality toilets are almost completed, pending connection of water to the system, according to Kimbowa.
The School, which was the glory of Entebbe Municipality, started declining after the introduction of UPE in January 1997 according to the Committee. Stakeholders claim the money from the Government cannot cater for all the requirements.

They claim that the deteriorating conditions of the school led to a number of parents moving their children to private schools. The school now has about 840 pupils.

The members also said the sewer system has become too old, leading to blockages of the septic tanks.

Meanwhile, parents for the P7 Class agreed that each child brings a ream of paper or pay sh4,000 per term to cater for exams and weekend tuition packages. They also agreed that each P7 child should pay sh30,000 to cater for special tuition. It was noted that 61 parents attended this meeting and signed in agreement with the resolutions.

Entebbe’s former school of glory fades

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