todayOctober 5, 2023

By Godwin Abedican


Established in 1946, Orajini primary school formerly in Arua district and now in the newly created Terego district continues to struggle to accommodate her learners due to the school enrolment being way ahead of the capacity of the school to offer decent and sufficient classroom space for the pupils.

In a bid to solve part of the challenges of classroom at the school, America Tower Corporation (ATC) Uganda, a company that provides telecommunication infrastructures commissioned and handed over a fully furnished  two class room block with office to Oriajini primary school on Friday 30th September 2023.
The classroom constructed at a cost of over 300 million shillings is a give back to the community as the company’s corporate social responsibility to the community for providing land to put up communication masts in the area and reward to the school for having produced one of the company’s service delivery manager of the area, Innocent Ayiko, an old boy of the school.

While handing over the classroom block on Friday 30th September 2023, Dorothy Semanda, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ATC Uganda calls upon every stake holder to consider the future of the youth and children via education. “If some buildings in the school constructed in 1946 and years later we still have them being used, then imagine the impact the new building will have in Terego district. We have education at the heart of what we do. By constructing this building, ATC Uganda demonstrates our commitment to education, our commitment to growing the Ugandan people to do work and to develop Uganda as a country,” Semanda said.

She appeals for those who are well positioned to ensure that they pull others in to the world of knowledge to change their future and the future if the entire country. She also pledges that the oldest structure at the school that was constructed as the foundation block at the school in 1946 will have a facelift and refurbishment done by ATC Uganda as their second project at Oriajini Primary school.

The historical Classroom block constructed in 1946 which is set to receive facelift by ATC
Hon. Joel Leku, the area Member of Parliament MP for Terego West where the school is located says this classroom comes as a very big relief to the school given the status quo of classrooms in the schools across the district “The state of schools in Terego at large one would say it’s a survival for the fittest. The schools in Terego, all have the number of pupils above one thousand. You find pupils studying under trees, you find overcrowded classrooms.

So what does this say in terms of the quality of education that we offer to the pupils? That means there are pupils who will never understand and never listen to anything at all being taught by the teachers because they are in school but outside the class and at the end of it all the quality of teaching is wanting,” Hon. Leku noted with concern.

However, Moses Mandebo the Chairperson LC3 Katrini sub county, warns politicians against owning projects that they have not fought for saying politicizing private projects makes partners to withdraw their contributions towards development. “I want to caution that especially for us at the political level, let’s not be cheap and let’s give credit where it is due.

This is a work of ATC Uganda and I declare that this is their work and nobody else’s work. If we want a name out of works like this, all our schools need classrooms, put for us a classroom, we shall hold a very honorable day to appreciate you. It feels wrong to plug your name on whet is not yours,” Mandebo warned.

Hon. Rose Obiga, the woman Member of Parliament for Terego district, regrets the failure of the district to recruit teachers in the last financial year yet there is a huge teachers’ gap in the district. “Looking at the high dropout rate of the girl child at school and having such a structure in place by ATC is going to do wonders. This is a supplement to government efforts.

I wish all organisations would look at critical areas like schools as ATC has done because if you want to change the community you must educate the children. Last financial year the district returned around 6 billion shillings which was supposed to be used for recruitment to the national treasury. I am on my district CAO and service commission this time that, this financial year no coin should be returned,” she noted.

With no alternative for the school, the school established in 1946 still uses one of the foundation class rooms that was recently condemned for use to accommodate part of the 1,808 learners at the school, despite only having 10 classrooms, 3 of the classrooms in the school are used for accommodating teachers as homes

District leaders, ATC staff and school staff pose for a photo in front of the new classroom block

David Andresile Jones, the head teacher of the school says much as this has come, the classroom gaps still remain given the huge enrolment. He asserts that some of the pupils will continue to learn under the makeshift tents provided since not all of them can be accommodated. “In the old buildings, teaching and learning has been a tug of war. You find over one hundred fifty in the classroom, one classroom. Our classes are 2 streams each. With this new block it will help reduce the workload on us, though I don’t think it will still be commensurate to the number that is why we are advocating for more classroom to be constructed for us.

He adds that due to the transfers, the pressure has been made worse since they are forced to accommodate some of the teachers in the classroom since their former teachers who have been replaced were commuting from their homes.

Tom Obeti, the chairperson of the association of Old boys and old Girls  of Oriajini primary school says 30 years since he left the school, a lot has changed  negatively as he promises their support towards the school

America Tower Corporation (ATC) Uganda last year had a similar intervention at Kibanda primary school in Kaliro district.
According to the school administration, the primary six and seven classes are expected to immediately occupy the two new class rooms.

COVER PHOTO: Leaders of Terego district and ATC during inspection of the newly commissioned classroom block at Oriajini primary school By Godwin Abedican

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