Naboth Isaac Niwagaba
A section of primary and Secondary Schools in Kabale District have abandoned other money consuming programs to concentrate on feeding the students due to skyrocketing of essential commodities, especially food and fuel.
The increase in prices of fuel and food items has severely affected the daily operations of schools to the extent that a number of academic and other development programs such as seminars and construction projects respectively, have either been foregone or erased from year plans, as the school managements save funds to feed children.
Whereas beans and posho are the standard meals preferred by most schools across the country, the price of the two food items have shot up due to the scarcity, and the fuel costs incurred during transportation from shops to schools.
By the time of filing this story, in Kabale District, the price of petrol and diesel was at UGX 6,800 and 6500 respectively.
The price of fuel had consequently affected food prices. A 100kg sack of maize flour and beans was at UGX 350,000, and 280,000 respectively while retail shops sold a kilogram of maize flour at at UGX 4000, and beans at 28,00.
The Kabale Junior Primary School Executive Director, Byekwaso Jotham Kijungu told our reporter that they had postponed several construction projects due to the rising prices of maize flour and fuel for the truck that transports food, construction materials, and firewood, among others.
Mr. Kijungu said that they were planning to close the school for the second term holiday before 12th August 2022, the official closing date set by the Ministry of Education and Sports.
At Kabale Primary School, our reporter found teachers at the gate, sending away pupils whose parents had not cleared school fees to zero balance. The School Head teacher Godiano Minyeto said they had agreed with parents to bring an extra UGX 20,000 as contribution to the school expenses on food.
Ms Scholastic Kyomugisha, the Asst. Director Nyabikoni Senior Secondary School told this media house that they had abandoned several external projects such as academic seminars that require a lot of fuel for the school van that transports students to other schools, in attempt to save money for buying food and payment of staff salaries.
The Head teacher Nyabushabi Primary School (UPE) Alex Biryomumeisho revealed to this media house that they had started sharing staff meals with some pupils who came to school without packed food and yet also stopped going back home for lunch because there was no assurance of food at home.
In his recent state of the nation address, President Yoweri Museveni said government would not intervene to regulate fuel prices because it would affect the tax base which is the back bone of the government’s financial operations.
Museveni explained that the only short and long term solution to the fuel problems was manufacturing more electric cars to reduce on dependence of petroleum.