By Barbra Nalweyiso
Parents at Mubende Public Model primary school have asked the state minister for Primary Education, Dr. Joyce Moriku Kaducu to reverse her decision and reopen a boarding section that was closed a fortnight ago following reports of homosexuality in the dormitories.
On March 24, Dr. Kaducu closed a boarding section at the school after seven pupils were reportedly sodomised by a male warden Brian Kimuli. The latter has since been arrested, charged in court, and remanded to KaweripPrison.
The dormitories were reportedly congested and pupils were sleeping two on one bed, which the minister said is illegal.
However, parents claim that they had already paid school fees for Term One and have nowhere to take their children who were in the boarding section.
Mr. Francis Sakwa, a parent at Mubende Public Model school, said he was not only saddened by reports of sodomy acts at the school but also by news of closing the boarding section.
“We don’t condone sodomy acts because it is our children who are affected, but this couldn’t have led to the sudden closure of the dormitories, we think the minister overeacted without thinking about parents who had already paid money for the boarding section,” he said during an interview on Monday
Mr. Sakwa said some parents are from other districts like Kakumiro, Mityana, and Wakiso and it is difficult for them to bring their children to attend lessons at the school daily.
“For me, I am lucky I don’t stay too far from the school. I can take my child to school every morning, but what happens to other parents from other districts who have children in the dormitories ?” he asked.
He said pupils at the school are currently being stigmatized by a section of residents in Mubende town who accuse them of engaging in homosexuality, which is not true.
“Every pupil at Mubende Public Model school is currently labeled a homosexual, which is bad. Some have been denied admission in other schools with administrators claiming that the pupils will bring the evil acts to their schools.” He added
Ms. Josephine Nabageya, another parent at the school, said closing the boarding section is not the solution to the problem at hand.
“The school head teacher Mr James Bangirana took the responsibility of arresting the culprit immediately , there are school administrators who keep silent during such situations. So, the minister could have given the school management a chance to reorganize the dormitories rather than closing them,” she said
Nabageya added that she cannot afford a daily transport fee of Shs20,000 to take her child to school.
“My house is located about 25 kilometres from the school and my child is in Primary Seven. Ever since the boarding section was closed, my son has missed lessons several times because I cannot afford Shs20,000 daily to pay the boda boda rider,” she said
The single mother added that she could have enrolled her son in a nearby day school, but this will attract extra expenses like buying new uniforms, paying admission fees and tuition which she doesn’t have now.
In response, State Minister for Primary Education Dr. Joyce Moriku Kaducu said her decision was appropriate and nonreversible.
” I told the school management to talk to the parents to see how they can properly evacuate their children. If you are a parent can you allow children to sleep two or three on one bed in a school dormitory? Those parents could be thanking me for saving their children not bashing me,” the minister said.