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Children impove accountability
Apac children fight corruption in their schools. Christopher Ebong Kibol, visited the Universal Primary Education Child Monitors of Apwori Primary School..03. December 2007
Apwori Primary School is one of the schools in Apac, where a team of 12 pupils are directly involved in monitoring the resources of their school.
- We monitor all the activities of the school including the accountability of the universal primary education (UPE) funds, the quality of teaching, enrolment, school assets, if items bought are corresponding to the budgeting, child school attendance, child welfare and child rights”, says Omara Nixson.
Omara Nickson, of Apwori Primary School
Omara Nixson is a 15 years old P.7 student and he is the chairperson of the UPE Child Monitors of Apwori Primary School. 25 other schools in Kwania County in Apac District has similar child monitor teams. They are funded by the Christian Children Fund Acenlworo, which is a child sponsorship organisation.It used to support payment of school fees to over 500 vulnerable children before UPE started in 2002. Now the organisation is engaged in the UPE child monitoring project, as a strategy for mobilization and retention of children in school.
- There was gross misuse of UPE funds. There was a bad relationship between the headmaster, the teachers and parents in most schools over UPE funds mainly due to lack of auditioning of the UPE funds. There was also sexual exploitation of school girls by some teachers, says John Bosco Ogada Odit, the Director of Christian Children Fund (CCF) Acenlwor.
Children expose cases
Since the child monitoring programme began the accountability for UPE the funds have improved because the children demand to see things bought by the headmaster. Together with the teachers they are also participating in the schools financial management. In each of the 25 school two children sit on the school finance committee together with teachers and head teacher to discuss the budgets and the accountability for UPE funds. And according to John Bosco Ogada it has improved the transparency in the utilization and accountability of UPE funds that the children have been able to expose cases of corruption in the UPE fund management by some head teachers,
- For example, in Alido Primary School in Chawente Apac District, the Head Teacher offered the children 30,000 Uganda Shillings as a bribe not to report that he was forging the minutes of finance committee meetings which never took place. He had written the minutes and had taken them to the District Education Officer to draw the UPE money for himself. But the children disagreed with him and that was definitely a lesson for him not to try and bribe them again, says John Bosco Ogada
Christopher Ebong Kibol is Secretary for Uganda Pioneer’s Association, Apac Branch