MARACHA. The high cost of running co-curricular activities in schools is increasingly affecting the management of schools in Maracha district, officials have said.
Co-curricular activities take 30 percent of the quarterly universal primary education (UPE) grant with 25 percent being allocated for scholastic materials, 20 percent for administration and 15 for other activities.
But according to head teachers, they are under pressure as accounting officers to run their schools due to the meager resources at hand.
While addressing a press conference on Monday, several head teachers noted that the highest percentage of UPE funds goes to co-curricular activities with most of the share being used to pay affiliations at sub-county and district level thus leaving schools grappling with little funds to run other programs.
Mr. Friery Andati, the head teacher of Ombia Bura primary school said 30 percent of UPE funds for his school this term was shs600, 000 but they were forced to borrow shs200, 000 from others to fund the budget for co-curricular activities which included ball games, music, dance and drama.
He said each head teacher normally analyzes his or her situations to cover the deficit to run the sporting activities at the same time ensure smooth operation of the school.
Andati appealed to the members of the head teachers’ association who approve the budgets to review funding for the sports activities so as to reduce on expenditure.
Mr. Enius Alima Kalia, the Yivu sub-county patron for games and sports argues that the areas they approve in the affiliations are necessities, adding that it is only challenging for schools with low enrolment since the UPE grant varies according to the number of pupils enrolled.
Alima who also doubles as the head teacher of Egamara primary school said he prioritizes activities during budget meeting with the finance committee of the school to accommodate the immediate needs.
Games masters from some schools in Yivu sub-county find no reason to pay the exorbitant charges as affiliations because there is no much expenditure incurred during co-curricular events.
However, the Yivu sub-county games and sports technical vice chairperson, Mr Jimmy Obema warned that the cost of running games should not be underestimated by anyone. He said part of the money always collected from schools is used to pay champions in each event.
In the ball games held at Meki primary school last week, Yivu primary school almost took all the four trophies except under 14 football trophy which was won by Offude primary school after beating Alikua Islamic primary school 4-0.