By Donald Kiirya
Over 800 students of Jinja College (JICO) went on rampage and held a strike on Wednesday morning destroying school property worth millions of shillings.
This is barely a month after students of Busoga College Mwiri demonstrated and also destroyed property which led to the closure of the school by district education officials.
The strike started at about 1:00am in Tuesday night when students smashed window panes and budged doors of the staff room, classrooms and various administrative blocks, and looted a canteen making off with a large sum of money.
They also poured liquid soap in beans and maize flour; tea and porridge which was being prepared for their breakfast and vandalized fire extinguishers and telephone booths.
Liquid soap was poured in tea and porridge which was being prepared for their breakfast
Some of the teachers rang Police which arrived immediately under command of John Okitoi, the Officer in Charge of Operations at Jinja district Central Police.
By the time Police came, the damage had been done and at 6:00am as the sun arose, huge stones and broken glass were seen littered on the verandas of various classrooms.
The staff room which was vandalised by students
Joseph Kawuki, the head teacher, could not quantify the amount of damage caused.
After wreaking havoc, students marched to Jinja Town Hall to meet the district leadership and express their grievances.
While at Town Hall, the students dressed in their uniforms met Jonathan Kamwana, the Jinja Municipality education officer; Richard Gulume, the resident district commissioner , Fred Gume, the district LC 5 chairperson and Alex Twesigye, the Kiira Region Police Commander.
Students claimed that the learning conditions have been made difficult by two deputy head teachers at the school who cut prep time from 7:00pm to 10:00pm yet they used to go beyond that time.
They complained of poor feeding and that cooks add paraffin to the beans they which results in running stomachs, and arrogance by some of the school administrators.
Students further told the district authorities that they paid money for the Raise programme meant to build their careers but surprisingly it has been conducted once instead of three at the school.
Other complaints included exorbitant prices at the school canteen, and that teachers just give them notes to photocopy and their entertainment programme was reduced from three times a month to one time.
Gume advised students to make use of their student leaders to always air out their grievances to the school administration.
Gulume (right) addressing students of Jinja College after they striked on Wednesday
Gulume said they are going to institute an investigations committee that will look into the issues raised by students.
“You have presented 33 issues and we are going to analyze each of them and will be investigated upon,” Gulume said.
He said they will close the school indefinitely due to the gross damage that was done. Students had to walk back to the school to be addressed by the school governing board.