Kampala- Entry points to Senior One in traditional schools across the country have remained competitive with majority of the schools setting high cut-off points.
Like last year, King’s College Buddo maintained the high Aggregate Four cut-off points for boys and Aggregate Five for girls who will join the school located in Wakiso District.
Gayaza High School, Namilyango College and Mt St Mary’s Namagunga will all take students with Aggregate Five while Ndejje SS and Trinity College Nabbingo have each maintained Aggregate Six.
Ms Chotilda Nakatte Kikomeko, the Nabbingo head teacher, who doubles as Secondary School Head teachers’ Association chairperson, said the cut-off points were pegged on the pupils’ performance in last year’s Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) and the choices of schools the candidates made.
“We have maintained our cut-off points because those who gave us their choice performed almost like last year,” Ms Kikomeko said.
However, ministry of Education officials expressed worry that some pupils will not be selected even when they have performed well because they made poor choices.
They blamed it on parents who insist on their children picking their four choices of schools ranked at almost the same level.
Mr Henry Ssemakula, the careers guidance and counselling officer at the Education ministry, said majority of the parents insist that their children must study around Kampala and Wakiso districts despising upcountry schools, which perform even much better.
“Parents should learn to classify schools. There are always those which are competitive. Ensure you tone down the choices from the highly competitive to the less competitive. If you pick Gayaza, Namagunga and Nabbingo as your choices in that order, you will end up unselected because the schools are at the same level,” Mr Ssemakula told Daily Monitor in an interview yesterday.
“You tell parents to try schools outside Kampala and Wakiso but they don’t want. They end up making these schools unnecessarily competitive yet we have the Ntare, Mbale SS and Ombaci doing good work in the countryside,” he added.
Speaking at the opening of the two-day exercise yesterday, the Primary Education state minister, Ms Rose Ssenninde, told head teachers that the ministry would intensify inspection to monitor teacher absenteeism and warned that those who will not have records on their staff attendance will attract sanctions, including demotion and dismissal.
“I have noted with concern that teachers are failing to do their roles. Many of them part-time in other schools at the expense of children in government-aided schools. The rate of absenteeism is high. Staff appraisal is mandatory and school heads will be required to have records on teachers’ presence in the school,” Ms Ssenninde said yesterday.
She also appeal to participants to protect the environment as the country has started experiencing climate change.
She said the future of food security was unpredictable if the current trends continue.
The minister said many families were going hungry for days because their crops dried up in the gardens due to the scorching heat.
Advice on feeding
This, Ms Ssenninde added will affect the performance of schools as learners can’t concentrate on empty stomachs.
“Food prices are going up. This doesn’t mean you send your children to schools without a meal.
Feeding your children is not government business. It is entirely the responsibility of the parents. The government is doing its work of paying teachers and has put in place the infrastructure,” Ms Ssenninde said.
“We are the ones to blame for this climate change. We have cut down the trees and reclaimed the wetlands. The weather is now hurting everyone. There will be no food for our children if we don’t protect the environment. Plant at least a tree for the future,” she added.