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Morobo County: Pupils learning under trees

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More than 5,000 school pupils in various primary and nursery schools in Central Equatoria State’s Morobo County are learning under trees, local officials have said.

According to an education official in Morobo County, when fighting and violence spread to Central Equatoria in 2016, most of the schools were vandalized by having their roofs removed and walls destroyed. 

Malish William, the Morobo County education director, told Radio Tamazuj on Monday that there are sixteen schools in all the five Payams of the county in which learners are being taught under trees.

“Most of the schools are destroyed especially Morobo, Ombaci, and Kimba primary schools are the worst devastated schools. The iron sheets, windows, and doors have been removed and currently many of them (pupils) are learning under trees,” Makish lamented. “During rain, they run into church buildings. The other challenge is lack of a feeding program and the few trained teachers under grade 12 are getting 1,746 SSP which is the cost of half a bucket of cassava flour in the market.”

He said, coupled with the lack of learning infrastructure, the lack of a school feeding program, and motivation for the teachers are discouraging learners and their minders from attending classes in the county.

Malish said the closure of schools in neighboring Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo due to Covid-19 has seen many pupils returning to access education in the county and appealed to the state and national ministries of education to prioritize allocations for school budgets to improve the quality of education.

“I have 5,000 learners in the sixteen schools in the five Payams of the county who have returned from neighboring Uganda and DR Congo and I would appreciate it if the government, especially the state and national ministries of education, could intervene and look into our education challenges on the ground,” Malish said.

For his part, Joseph Mawa John, the Morobo County commissioner said that with the little resources they have, the county has prioritized the renovation of two schools, Morobo and Kaya primary schools.

“At the moment we are rehabilitating some of the schools and we also want to see that the health facilities are put in order and this is an initiative of the local government. We want to see that our returnees find classes to continue with their education and so far two primary schools are being renovated,” Commissioner Mawa said. “My appeal is for the humanitarian and development partners to come and support us with the renovation of more schools, bring in textbooks, furniture, blackboards, and chalk, and rehabilitate health centers. We need our partners to support us.”

Commissioner Mawa said the improved security situation attracted about 2,500 returnees from refugee camps in neighboring countries between June and July this year. 

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