The Democratic Party (DP) has asked Government to strengthen its policies on private boarding schools to avert the problem of fires.
Addressing journalists at the party’s weekly press briefing at the party headquarters in Kampala, the party’s press secretary Fred Mwesigwa said government should revise its policy and come with standards to avoid such calamities in future.
“We think there has been laxity in supervision of schools and it is one reason why we are getting problems. Government needs to get back to its supervisory role to enforce standards,” he said.
Last week, two dormitories were burnt down at St Leo’s Junior Academy, a private primary school in Masaka, claiming six lives.
Among these four were aged four, studying in the kindergarten section, a primary seven pupil and a matron who died in hospital.
Similar incidents happened in 2008, at Buddo Junior School killing 20 children and in Kabalole Islamic Primary School in 2006 where ten children were killed.
Mwesigwa said the policy should be clear on the age of children to attend a boarding school.
He asked Government to withdraw licenses of the schools and re-register them basing on the required guidelines.
He said many school proprietors only care about high profits than standards.
“Those schools which do not meet standards should have their licenses terminated until they fulfill them,” Mwesigwa said.
According to ministry of education guidelines on boarding schools; all dormitories must have two exits, beds equipped with mosquito nets and spacious to allow easy movement of the children.
They must have firefighting gadgets; doors should open outwards while the guard and matron must stay close to the dormitories among others.
The law also requires private and government aided schools to register their boarding accommodation with the district education office.
Mwesigwa said even parents who take their children to schools below age, contrary to the Government policy should be punished.
He said many reports have been the media showing the poor situation of many illegal dormitories but no action has ever been taken.
DP also demands for the release of the Buddo fire report to clear the air.
By Jeff Andrew Lule, The New Vision