Gulu Archdiocese has initiated fundraising for Shillings 2.5 billion aimed at rejuvenating the education sector in the Acholi Sub-Region.
A seven-day education week, focused on fundraising, commenced at Kaunda Ground in Gulu on Monday, culminating in the launch of the fundraising campaign at Bomah Hotel, engaging various stakeholders.
Rev. Fr. Robert Okello, the Diocesan Education Secretary, emphasized that the funds will support the 639 schools under the Catholic Church in Acholi Sub-Region, focusing on scholarships and infrastructure renovations.
He lamented the low completion rates among learners in Catholic-founded schools in the region, with only 30% finishing primary education and a mere 4% completing advanced levels.
Okello highlighted the limitations of current funding, citing the incapability of fully supporting educational endeavors and the dearth of students from the region pursuing courses, particularly in sciences, at prestigious institutions like Makerere University.
Fr. Dr. Jino Mwaka, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Sacred Heart Gulu, stressed the urgency of revitalizing and transforming the education sector in Northern Uganda. Despite the high student population, academic performance in national examinations has persistently lagged behind.
Mayor of Gulu City, Alfred Okwonga, emphasized the imminent collapse of many regional schools due to inadequate parental involvement. He noted the trend of parents sending their children to schools predominantly located in the central and western parts of the country.
Richard Toodwong, Secretary General of the National Resistance Movement party, pledged 30 million Shillings in support of the project alongside the Directorate of Internal Security Organization.
He emphasized the importance of good governance and effective management in preventing the collapse of regional schools, citing examples like Negir Primary School where student enrollment drastically declined.
“As the party, we commit to this course but we would want to see schools getting back to good governance, look at schools like Negir Primary. How can the number of learners drop from 300 to 73 only now? Toodwong asked as he pledged commitment to working with the catholic church.
Vicar General Monsignor Mathew Odong, representing Archbishop John Baptist Odama, urged the government to prioritize support for the education sector, aligning with the national agenda for quality education.
“When we look at the agenda number two of this party in power, it talks about quality education and as the church, we align our vision with this that Ugandans must have quality education,” he noted.