Education authorities in the Karamoja sub-region have raised concerns about insufficient funding for the primary school music, dance, and drama festivals as they head to the national competitions. On Sunday, over 500 pupils from the seven districts of Karamoja concluded the Regional Primary School’s Music Festival competition held at Kangole Boys’ primary school in Napak district.
Nakapiripirit district dropped out of the competition due to a lack of funds. Due to inadequate funding, George Odongo, the Karamoja Regional Chairperson of Music, Dance, and Drama Competition, says that although the schools managed to make it to the regional level, he is skeptical about their participation in the national competition.
Odongo noted that some schools that qualified for the regional competition didn’t turn up due to funding challenges. According to Odongo, music is one of the co-curriculum activities that demand a lot of money, and the government should consider releasing funds in time so as to allow schools to plan appropriately.
“We have not yet received funds for this quarter. I appeal to the government to remit this fund early enough to enable us to plan for our activities,’’ he said. Odongo also noted that some schools received the syllabus late and the changes in it affected preparations for the festival, thus limiting others from participation.
Felix Loduk, the chairperson of Kaabong Head Teacher’s Primary School Association, says that musical instruments and costumes have become the biggest challenge since many schools cannot afford to buy them. Loduk observed that some schools did not contribute the co- curriculum funds to support the zone, which became a challenge for the district to support the winning team for the next tournament.
“As Kaabong district, we only managed to send one school to represent us at the regional level just because we could not afford to facilitate all the four schools that qualified,’’ Loduk explained. He revealed that although schools managed to conclude the recent inter-school competitions, many were left exhausted even after qualifying for regionals.
David Orit, the music trainer at Kakamar primary school in Kaabong district, said that they debuted for the first time at the regional level and it was the most exciting moment for them because they had made several attempts in the previous years in vain.
Orit noted that if they succeed in moving to the national competitions, he is worried if the district will be able to facilitate the activities. The Napak District Education Officer, Joyce Nakoya, acknowledged the hardships the schools went through during the music festival but urged them never to lose hope as they are also trying to lobby for some support from the development partners.
Nakoya told URN that the Amudat district was considered a special case to appear at the National competition. She added that the Amudat district has been left out of several music festivals, and this time round they want to interest them at the national level so that they can embrace it. Five out of eleven participants from the seven districts will be selected to represent the region at the National Tournament.