KOBOKO. There was excitement among pupils and teachers of various primary schools in Koboko municipality following a decision taken by the area leaders to address the challenge of inadequate toilet facilities in schools.
The decision was reached at after teachers raised the concern to municipal authorities who were visiting primary schools to sensitize pupils on the dangers of teenage pregnancy and early marriage on Tuesday.
At Birijaku primary school in Koboko West Division, the officials led by Ms Evelyn Anite, the area Member of Parliament who doubles as the Minister of state for Investment and Privatization were shocked to learn that 1, 700 pupils in the school rely on only ten toilet stances.
"We only have ten toilet stances for both boys and girls, others collapsed last year because of too much rain," Mr Vincent Oce, the Birijaku Primary School head teacher reported.
According to Mr David Dimba, the Koboko municipality education officer, the recommended toilet stance to pupil ratio is 1:40.
But he noted that the situation is appalling in most schools where at times over 100 pupils share a toilet stance.
"In most cases our pupils line up to access toilet facilities especially during short breaks. Usually, the teachers on duty are tasked to guide them and give priority to those who are badly off," Mr Caesar Maliamungu, a teacher at Birijaku PS said.
Maliamungu observed that during a recent meeting, parents agreed to collect funds for sinking an additional toilet facility but to date nothing has been done yet.
Similarly, Mr Natal Enaku, the head teacher of Nyarilo PS in Koboko North Division said on Monday that their toilet stance to pupil ratio is 1:150 for girls and 1:125 for boys.
He said the condition has forced many pupils especially the girls to drop out of school.
Molly Friday, 15, a primary five pupil of Birijaku PS explained that whenever the line is long, some pupils end up going to ease themselves in the neighbouring homes.
She said the situation has forced many to report back for lessons late.
However, Anite used the opportunity to direct the Koboko municipality mayor, Mr Wilson
Sanya and Mr Stanslous Mangasa, the municipality town clerk to find immediate solution to the problem.
Anite said time has come to improve the education standard of the municipality, adding that this can only be achieved when everything is put right.
She ordered that schools with inadequate toilet facilities and those with dilapidated classroom structures should be considered for funding through the recently launched European Union Trust Fund of which Koboko municipality received 2, 800 Euros.
The Hard Ware project that will run from this year till 2022 targets the health sector, education, social protection and livelihood improvement.
In response, Sanya said: "We are currently doing an appraisal exercise. Soon all challenges faced by different schools will officially come to our knowledge through the exercise and the needy ones will be considered for funding."
He pledged total support in ensuring that the problem of inadequate toilet facilities is addressed in all the affected schools, a move that excited pupils and teachers in the municipality.