Luweero, Uganda |URN | Parents and district authorities in Luweero are up in arms against proposal by head teachers to introduce identification tags for pupils.
Recently, Luweero District Head Teachers’ Association passed a resolution requiring all primary school to acquire identification tags bearing their passport photos, names, parent’s names and place of residence.
Some of the schools that have embraced the proposals are St Peters’ Semuyungu, Kagembe C/U,Bbowa P/S and Kalasa Mixed Primary schools among others.
Jeremiah Ssendege, the Chairperson of Luweero District Head Teacher’s Association, says the proposal is aimed at helping to identify and trace the pupils in case they go missing.
He says they intend to store the pupil’s bio data at a central computerized data center that they will use to send out information in case of a missing pupil.
According to Ssendege, parents are required to pay Shillings 4,000 for each pupil identification tag.
However, the proposal has stirred an uproar among some parents and district authorities, saying charging for the tags may affect enrollment under the Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme.
Hussein Kato, the Luweero District Finance Secretary says the money demanded from any government school must be approved by the district council and Parents Teacher’s Association, which wasn’t done.
Kato says parents are tired of endless demands by schools, something that may force them to withdraw their children from schools.
Ronald Ndawula, the Luweero District LC 5 Chairperson, says parents are poor and introducing another fee may force some learners to drop out of school.
Ndawula says there is no need for tags if pupils have school uniforms with badges for easy identification.
He says if head teachers want to add more features, they can do it on uniforms other than selling identification tags.
Parents led by Samson Kibirango have also expressed concern over multiple fees demanded by UPE schools, saying this may discourage some from taking children there.
Jane Nakate, a parent says young children won’t be able to keep the tags for long and may end up losing them, which will require replacement.
But Zenar Nasur, the Luweero District Education Secretary has defended the proposal introduction of the identification tags, saying it’s a positive move and voluntary.
Nasur explains that they advised head teachers to talk to parents especially those who can afford paying for them.
There are 229 Government Aided primary schools and 438 private owned schools.