Mbarara district yesterday joined the rest of the country to mark the International Teachers Day amidst concerns over the growing dropout rates and teacher misconduct in the western district.
The Mbarara District Education Officer Gabriel Ahimbisibwe raised concerns that the district is on the path of having the highest dropout rates in the country.
The DEO pointed out that the dropout rate at the primary school level in the district currently stands at 62% which way above the national average rate of 47%.
“I was trying to answer a question this morning raised by the auditor general’s office concerning our school dropout rate,” he said.
“You can imagine today, if 100 learners join P1 class, only 38 will complete P7. It is tricky for us to explain.”
The DEO placed the blame on mainly child labor, early marriages and early pregnancies which he said must be addressed by head teachers.
At the celebrations held under the theme, “Teaching in freedom, empowering teachers”, Ahimbisibwe also expressed concerns on the increasing teachers’ misconduct especially alcoholism.
“Issues to do with drunkenness, absenteeism, late coming we must do away with,” he noted; if I can give an example, one of your head teachers was appearing before Public Accounts Committee to answer issues to do with embezzlement, but he was drunk. This is a head teacher on government pay role. We cannot tolerate this.”
Speaking at the same event, Mbarara RDC Capt. Martha Asiimwe advised teachers that have drinking problems and other addictions to at least try to do it outside school.
“If you put in your Mujakure (a local toxic gin) then don’t come to school the next morning. Call your head teacher and tell them you are sick,” she advised. “You can even go to a clinic and get some treatment as proof.”
The RDC also advised the teachers to without national IDs to hurry and get them, warning that they are close to being entirely removed from the pay roll.