Mbale. A total of 111 private owned schools in Manafwa District have been closed over failure to meet minimum standards required, leaving hundreds of learners stranded.
This follows a directive by the Ministry of Education to all the district education officers countrywide to close schools that do not meet basic requirements and minimal standards.
The Manafwa District education officer, Mr Eridada Mudangi, told Daily Monitor on Monday that out of 220 registered private schools including primary and secondary, only 109 meet the required standards to operate .
“The remaining schools have been closed and whoever attempts to re-open their school, will face arrest,” he said.
He added that the closed schools were operating in dire learning environment with some of them lacking qualified teachers and adequate classrooms, among others.
Mr Mudangi said they have written to school directors and head teachers to respect the directive.
Some of the affected schools include Faith and Blessed Vision Primary School in Manafwa Trading Centre, Mama Emma Primary School in Bukusu Sub-couty and Skimbiro School in Namabya Sub-county.
Earlier, during a meeting that took place at Bubulo Mixed Primary School at the weekend, school directors and head teachers of private schools said the abrupt closure of the schools will bear huge consequences, which they said was not put into consideration by the ministry.
“It’s very unfortunate that the directive is abrupt. Although we agree with the policy, the ministry should have given us time,’ Mr Micheal Tumya, the chairperson of private schools in the district, said.
Mr Tumya, who is the proprietor of T and M Bright Nursery & Primary School, said the closure leaves a big number of pupils and students stranded.
“The decision does not only affect school owners, but parents whose children are in those schools. Some schools have already opened, now the ministry wants us to turn them back, it unfortunate,” he said.
Mr James Masangha, a parent at Blessed Vision Primary School, said; “It’s a surprise, “We as parents are concerned but there is little we can do. We have to look for another school.”