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Stats: 17,229 members, 67,347 Topics, 15,133 Comments. Date: May 19 2019, 5:19 pm

Fadeyi Oluwaseun
Ladoke Akintola University Ogbomosho
B.tech Marketing Management
200Level, Nigeria.

Pupils of Aterai Primary School in Kumi Municipality on Monday marched up to Kumi District offices demanding that their school be improvised with chalk that has been out of stock for two weeks.

The Primary Six and Seven pupils, who had gone for days without classes due to shortage of chalk, said they had waited patiently for their teachers to return but in vain, hence choosing to demonstrate as a way of expressing their predicament.

They said their teachers could not conduct lessons without chalk as they called for the district's intervention.

One of the pupils in Primary Six, Pius Okello, told Daily Monitor that ever since the term opened, they have only had lessons for one week using chalk that was purchased last term .

"So when the Primary Seven candidates staged a sit down protest at the headmistress' office, we also joined them, before we eventually walked to Kumi municipal headquarters to petition our leaders," Okello said.

However, the headmistress, Ms Petua Akol, blamed the shortage of chalk in her school on the head of school management committee (SMC), Ms Simon Peter Ongodia, who she accused of deliberately refusing to sign a cheque to have the Universal Primary Education funds withdrawn for the school to purchase chalk and other logistics.

"I am at war with my SMC chairperson, he has a bad perception about me, so he has taken that war this far. I have pleaded with him to have the money withdrawn but nothing fruitful is forthcoming," Ms Akol said.

She added that they are in urgent need of procuring textbooks for the Primary Seven candidates but there are no signs that the SMC chairperson will heed the calls.

Mr Ongodia, however, insisted that he will not sign any cheque until Ms Akol is transferred. He accuses her of failure to reside within the school premises to monitor its operations.

"My headmistress has a fully furnished house but she has repeatedly refused to heed to our joint call as SMC and PTA to reside here. She commutes from outside the school and reports late. That is my area of contention with her," he narrated.

Mr Richard Ochom, the mayor of Kumi Municipality, blamed the SMC chairperson for acting ignorantly and requested that he apologises to the pupils of Aterai for his actions.

"I'm not going to follow the New Testament. Uganda needs one to carry a whip for things to get right, the issues of Aterai must be sorted out immediately," he said.

Mr Ochom committed that as municipality, they will secure chalk.

He also promised to arrange for a meeting of SMC, PTA, and the school staff.

Teachers blamed

The Kumi municipal education officer, Mr Robert Ikwap, blamed the protest on teachers, whom he accused of masterminding the demonstration.

"There was no way these children would march to town alone without an influence," Mr Ikwap said.

He also condemned the SMC chairperson for acting unkind towards his own children who have missed out on classes.

"All schools received UPE funds in the first week, how come Mr Ongodia has not released the money. We shall not allow this unkindness," Mr Ikwap said.

Source: https://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Kumi-pupils-protest-chalk-stock-out/688334-5001134-100c3li/index.html

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