By Steven Enatu
Bazil Auta, the Parents, Teachers Association chairman of Awoja Bridge Primary school in Aukot Sub County, Soroti District has been arrested and detained at Awoja police post for extorting money from parents in disguise of PTA fund for development of the school.
In their illegal operation done on the 3rd Nov, shs180,000 was collected from 8 homes and was not delivered to school.
Auta met his fate on the 4th Nov 2022 as parents registered their complaints to the Resident District Commissioner, Ssalim Kumakech who was in company of his deputy, Martin Kasozi monitoring government projects.
Recently while implementing the President’s directive against illegal extra fees charged in UPE schools, Kumakech in a meeting with Education stakeholders in Soroti district banned the trend of collecting the illegal fees from parents.
He said many of the schools management Committees around Soroti do not use the monies for the intended purposes and this has made some parents unable to send their children to school.
In Awoja belt, many children have dropped out of school for fishing and doing casual labour in farms.
Kumakech said the government sends money for every pupil under Universal Primary Education and the monies are not accounted for by the school management.
He further added that they are working with the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer Soroti to streamline the process of effective charging and collection of such fees to avoid mismanagement.
Katy Aseun, one of the parents with a child in primary five said the team roughly approached her home saying they wanted money for PTA and she was forced to borrow money from the neighbor.
For her child in primary five, Katy pays 3000 for exams fee, 1000 for report card and 5000 payable termly as development fund. These she said were agreed by a few sections of parents who sat in a meeting and made the resolutions of such charges without their consent.
Meanwhile Auta denied the accusations saying it was the task force that went to the field.
He said the money they were collecting is meant to help the school manage other aspects of development that the government sometimes delays in responding to.
However, to this reporter’s dismay, Pupils in Awoja Bridge Primary school sit on the floor as the school lacks desks.
The head teacher, Faith Aguro said with an enrollment of 915 pupils, the school has only 80 desks leaving Primary one and two seated on the floor.
Richard Ocen the O.C A woja Police post said Auta will be charged with theft by trick. His case was opened under SD REF07/04/11/2022.