NIRA delays distribution of registration forms in schools

National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA)
Schools in Kampala district did not get the enrollment forms from National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) prior to the closure of the school term last week. Courtesy Photo.

The planned registration of school pupils aged between 5 and 16 by the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) will be delayed in some parts of the country.

NIRA, a government entity mandated to register births and deaths in the country and to develop a National Identification Register for both citizens and legal residents was set to roll-out a massive registration project to capture data of school pupils across the country effective this month.

In its initial communication, NIRA stated that all pupils would return home with enrollment forms to be filled by their parents at the end of the school term. The Pupils would return the enrollment forms at the beginning of the second term with a photocopy of their parents/guardians National Identity Cards.

The exercise will enable the authority to match children’s data with their parents and guardians. So far, forms have been dispatched to schools in the Karamoja, Acholi, Lango and West Nile regions of the country. However, schools in Kampala district did not get the enrollment forms from NIRA prior to the closure of the school term last week.

Kamya, the head teacher Hormisdallen Primary School says that they have not yet received any forms from NIRA in regard to pupil registration. Similarly, Catherine Wanyana, the head teacher of Lohana Primary School said the schools is yet to get any communication from NIRA on the delays and its likely impact on the impending registration.

“We did not receive any forms from NIRA about the registration before the term closed but we hope to get the forms next term so that parents can fill them in at school,” Wanyana said.

NIRA Public Relations and Corporate Affairs Manager Gilbert Kadilo says the distribution was delayed as a result of administrative challenges. He adds that the forms will be made available during the Holidays so that parents can have enough time to fill them and return them to the school ahead of the mass registration in all Primary and Secondary Schools. The exercise will run until the end of August 2017.

Parents however have described a request to pick forms during the holidays as inappropriate. Elizabeth Walusansa, a guardian to two primary six pupils in different schools told URN that she found the request to be out of place.

Another parent, Olivia Kako, a mother of a primary three pupil at Naguru Parents School referred to the request as disorganizing.

“This registration process needs to remain as simple as possible. When you start asking parents to leave work and go and pick registration forms from schools, the process becomes hard for some of us,” John Paul Mubiru, a parent at Kampala Junior Academy said.

In March 2014, government launched the National Security Information System (NSIS) project aimed at registering all citizens of Uganda. The first phase of the project that targeted citizens of 16 years and above led to the registration of more than 16 million Ugandans.

The impending exercise is aimed at capturing the data of the age bracket (5-16) which the authority is missing in its national registry data bank. The pupils will however not be given National Identity cards. Instead, they will be given a national identification number which will be used for the issuance of a National ID, once the children turn 16.