Kachonga Primary School, one of the traditional schools in Bukedea district, is struggling to operate amidst infrastructural challenges. The school founded before independence, operates in dilapidated and condemned structures unfit for learning.
Found in Malera Sub County and with an enrolment of 746 pupils, Kachonga primary school has only 25 desks. Founded in 1933, Kachonga Primary School has produced prominent personalities in Bukedea district including Members of Parliament.
It was one of the academic giants in Bukedea until recently when its infrastructure deteriorated. The school operates in condemned classroom blocks with only two stance pit latrines shared by teachers and pupils. During rainy or windy days, pupils stay home for fear of being buried alive by the old-cracked buildings constructed by colonial masters.
Florence Aseku, the Deputy Headteacher of Kachonga primary school says that learners in lower primary share a classroom due to the lack of space to accommodate each classroom. She adds that only two out of five available classrooms have shutters to protect children from rain or windy weather.
According to Aseku, the school has a very high catchment area and can attract more than 1,000 learners but the majority of the children now walk long distances to other schools recently constructed within the sub-county.
Samuel Odeke, a P.7 pupil says that they answer nature calls in the bushes since the pit latrines are few. Odeke says some of his classmates have sustained injuries from the broken pieces of desks when they try to sit on them. He told our reporter that the only desks in the school have been allocated to the candidate class, which has 49 pupils while other pupils sit on the floor.
James Peter Omoit, a parent of the school is bitter that the government has abandoned the school, which has produced the finest persons in the district. He is appealing to the old pupils of Kachonga to fundraise to save the school, which he notes is in dire need.
Joseph Maira Mukasa, the Chief Administrative Officer of Bukedea district, says that plans are underway to construct at least some pit latrines and procure furniture for the school this financial year. Maira said that the buildings in the school cannot be renovated and they need new blocks.
Moses Olemukan, the LC V Chairperson of Bukedea district says that they are financially constrained to save Kachonga and all the traditional schools in the district. He told our reporter that the funds allocated to the education department cannot revamp the school to its former glory. Olemukan says that other traditional schools like Koren, Komongomeri, Okumokamole, and Kobaale primary schools require a special government program to be restored.