Local leaders in the Karamoja Sub-Region have voiced concerns over the lack of resources hindering the implementation of a proposed free compulsory boarding education policy. Last year, legislators from the region, under the Karamoja Parliamentary Group, presented a proposal for a free compulsory boarding education policy for all learners. 

The aim was to enroll Karamojong children into boarding schools for 15 years, aiming to break the cycle of warriorhood. However, leaders are apprehensive about the policy’s effectiveness due to resource shortages such as inadequate boarding facilities, food, schools, infrastructure, and scholastic materials. For instance, in Napak district, 20 Parishes lack government-aided primary schools, with only 10 community schools available. 

Additionally, some pupils have to walk over 15km to access a nearby school. To address these challenges, local leaders are calling for increased support from the government and other partners in the region. Faith Nakut, the Napak woman Member of Parliament, highlighted concerns about the costs of maintaining children in school without burdening parents. 

She mentioned plans to pilot the policy in existing boarding schools within the district, requiring support for scholastic materials, food, and other basic needs. Joseph Lobot, the Amudat district LC 5 Chairperson, emphasized the need for a joint effort to enforce bylaws ensuring all children attend school, despite challenges such as reduced food ratios from the World Food Program. 

John Paul Kodet, Napak district LC5 Chairperson outlined plans to implement forceful education in phases, addressing education-related challenges while mobilizing communities to support the initiative. 

However, elders and church leaders expressed skepticism about the policy’s effectiveness, advocating for peaceful engagement with parents to encourage school enrollment. Paul Abul, Secretary of the Karamoja Elders Association, highlighted the importance of voluntary school enrollment and suggested government support for scholastic requirements to alleviate parental burdens.

Rev. Joseph Abura, Bishop of the Church of Uganda in South Karamoja Diocese, emphasized the need for a comprehensive educational cycle, from primary to tertiary levels, to ensure all children receive an education.

Michael Longole, Mt Moroto Regional Police spokesperson, mentioned forceful education as part of their gender after the disarmament exercise, awaiting orders to carry out campaigns to enroll all Karamojong children in school. 

These discussions reflect the ongoing dialogue and challenges surrounding the implementation of the proposed free compulsory boarding education policy in the Karamoja Sub-Region.

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