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Friday, July 24, 2009

Uganda: Invest in Karimojong Education

July 24, 2009

Kampala — THE UN children's agency, UNICEF, has urged the Government to improve the quality of education in the Karamoja sub-region, reports Daniel Edyegu.

The Moroto zonal officer, Sharma Narinder, said in an interview on Monday that the high school drop-out rate in the region was due to the poor infrastructure, long distances from homes to schools and rigid cultural practices.

Narinder said a recent UNICEF report on education in the sub-region indicated that Karamoja was lagging behind the national school completion average of 47%.

He explained that only 7% of the pupils in Nakapiripirit, 50% in Abim, 10% in Moroto, 6% in Kotido and 7% in Kaabong, complete primary school.

Narinder urged the education ministry to partner with civil society organisations to build more schools and provide scholastic materials to pupils.

He noted that female genital mutilation among the Pokot was causing a high school-drop-out rate among the girls.

"Most girls who are supposed to be at school are forced into early marriages. Gender disparity is critical, especially for the girls who are denied access to school at an early age," Narinder said.

The executive director of Reproductive Education and Community Health, Beatrice Chellangat, said the UN population agency, UNFPA, had allocated $300,000 (about sh640m) to fight female circumcision in the region.