Saturday, May 5, 2012

Schools in Karamoja

*wrote this post a few weeks back but guess I never got around to attaching pictures and publishing. 
One of the community development ministries CLIDE has is student sponsorship of k-jung students in Napak district. They have identified children with potential and gotten them in school so they can be instrumental in the future of Karamoja. They are high needs children, who are invited to retreats, encouraged academically, and given opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have. To do this CLIDE also has to encourage schools in the district because most of these schools are struggling too. They plant a Bible Club in each school and offer free training for teachers who are interested. So the “Timothy Students” as the sponsored ones are called, have a club in their school and any student is welcome. We were visting the schools and I know the education system is struggling all over [some sort of boarding available as they are so far apart that it is unreasonable to expect children to walk, even children who can do 6 or more kilometers in a day. But I learned that most of the time this means that the desks are pushed aside in the evenings and the students spread their blankets out on the cement floor of their classrooms. There are literally hundreds of students per teacher and as Ann put it “a lack of scholastic materials”, though I would have said a complete absence of books, papers, pens, or anything. Well, not everything. They do have chalk. And chalk boards. A student will copy the board for hours a day, essentially writing his own text to study in the evening. And teachers…. That is a major issue too. Most trained teachers refuse to work in Karamoja. So the ones they have are as bad as they get. The first school we stopped at the Headmaster was present but fall-over-drunk. There were 700 students and 3 teachers plus him, but he was passed out by the time we left so I’m not sure I can count him. At one school there were 10 teachers so I was pretty impressed until I learned that there were 1,200 students. Any teachers out there want 120 students in their class? 
A little crowded. 
So this secondary school teacher meets her class outside so there is room for everyone. 
And as I mentioned most kids board. 3 of the 10 schools we stopped at offer porridge once a day. That’s all. World Food Program (WFP) provides enough protein cereal to make one hot meal for kids in Karamoja. And that is all the food there is right now. And for the physical structure? For some schools there are no words. I’ve been out here in Karamoja for two years now and I’m still struck speechless as I learn more. 
There are kids in this classroom but it is too dark in there to see them.
A class also in this one. 
Thankfully, no kids in the one with the wall falling down. 


Kathleen said...


Caroline said...

Wow. Praying for you!