OTUKE – Otuke district Local Government has returned Shs 600m which was released by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development for the recruitment of teachers and payment of their salaries.
Francis Abole, the district LC5 boss, says due to the limited time, the district was caught up by the financial year and they returned the money to the Consolidated Fund at the Central Bank.
“The district has a serious shortage of teachers but if the money was released early enough, we were going to fill the gap,” Abola said.
His concern followed a statement by the Headteacher, Christine Adongo of Ogor Seed Secondary School over inadequate teaching staff deployed by the government to the school.
According to Adongo, the school has a government sealing of 31 teachers but right now the school has only 14 leaving a reasonable gap of 17.
“This money was meant for teachers but nevertheless we shall struggle together with the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) to address the problem,” Abola added.
Shortage of teachers according to local leadership has contributed to poor performance, high school dropout, negative attitude towards education and early marriage.
The district LC5 Councilor for Ogor sub-county who is also a teacher of Information Communication Technology (ICT) said, the area suffered both in the hands of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and Karimojong cattle rustlers and there was need to prioritize education.
“We know the challenges we went through as Ogor sub-county but right now there is total peace and we need to work tooth and nail to ensure we compete with other schools,” he said.
Otuke, Alebtong and Kagadi are the three poorest districts according to Frederick S. Pradee Center for International Futures. The study put Kagadi at $56 GDP per capita, Alebtong at $64, and Otuke at $66.
The study was conducted four years ago and according to the Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Christopher Omara, people should use the peace ushered in by the National Resistance Movement (NRM) to kick poverty out of their households.
“I want the people of Otuke to use this government program of Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) and other good programs to fight poverty because that is the vision of NRM,” he said.
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