- By Solomon Hamala
A total of 25 students of a privately owned Primary Teachers College in Iganga have missed sitting for their Final exams after the director embezzled money meant to pay for their registration.
The students of Destiny River Primary Teachers College are now stranded in Iganga after they were turned away from Busia Primary Teachers College where they were meant to sit from.
The school director, Afan Lubanga is alleged to have swindled shillings 7 million meant for registration of the said students.
The students accompanied by their parents pitched camp at Iganga Central Police Station today 5th May 5, 2021 seeking assistance.
Some of the students this reporter spoke to said they paid shillings 250,000 late last year meant for Uganda National Examination Board registration fees and had been informed that they would be sitting for their final examinations at Busia Primary Teachers College located in Busia district.
According to the Guild President Destiny Primary Teachers College, Bashir Guloba, after numerous complaints from the final students as to why they were not being taken to Busia to sit for the final examinations, the school bursar decided to hire a coaster bus that took them to Busia teachers college yesterday 4th May 2021 and later dumped them before fleeing.
“We were shocked that instead of Busia Primary Teachers College, these people were taking us elsewhere,” he said.
Guloba said the driver of the coaster bus also drove away after realizing that there was no one to pay him leaving the students stranded.
“We sought the intervention of the area police in Busia who offered a FUSO lorry that was heading to Kampala to drop us in Iganga today,” he said.
Charles Okiror, one of the students said they have been paying shillings 490,000 as tuition besides 250,000 each term as charges for school practice for the duration of the three year course.
Okiror said his parents had to sell off most of the land and cows in order to raise tuition each term.
“Now my future is just wasted yet it has been a struggle reaching this level,” he said.
Irene Asekenye, one of the affected students said she was only left with a retake in Mathematics in order to complete her course before taking up a job in Kampala.
“I was supposed to do my Mathematics re-take and later go back to Kampala teach in one of the private schools,” she said.
The district police commander Iganga, Kenneth Muheirwe said the school director Afan Lubanga and school bursar Benon Kabusenene had been arrested as investigations into the matter were underway.
Lubanga was arrested in Busia as he reportedly went to check on his students but later discovered they had been taken back to Iganga.
Most of the students fainted and were rushed to Iganga main hospital in critical condition in a police pickup truck after being informed by one of the district officials that there was no provision by UNEB to set special examinations for them.
An inside source who preferred anonymity said the school director is believed to have diverted the money meant for registration to facilitate his campaigns.
“He always kept on telling us that he would provide job opportunities to his students in case he was elected mayor even if they lacked the required academic qualifications,” he said.
Lubanga contested for the position of Mayor Iganga Municipal Council in the just concluded mayoral race on independent ticket but lost.
The Resident District Commissioner Iganga, Thomas Matende cautioned parents against enrolling their children to institutions that are not fully registered with the Ministry Of Education And Sports.
Matende said education authorities are to soon conduct operations in the district ensure all schools that don’t meet the required standards are closed down.
However the accused Afan Lubanga while speaking to the Redpepper at Iganga central police station accused Busia municipality Member of Parliament Geofrey Macho who is the director of Busia primary teachers college of blocking his students from sitting for their final examinations due to an accumulated debt of 15 million accrued from previous years.
“I promised him that I would pay the money later but he declined yet there was no other option,” he said.
The students have asked government to intervene by setting special examinations for them to enable them complete their education.