Several students from schools in Mukono district faced tough moments due to hiked transport fares and a rush to move to villages following the abrupt closure of schools to contain the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Clair Nansimbe one of the students at Paul Mukasa Secondary school was stuck at Kigunga stage in Ggoma division. She explained that her parent sent her sh10,000 for transport to Njeru municipality but taxis are insisting on Shs.25,000 yet her mother’s mobile line is switched off.
Shenah Nkinzi, a student from Bishop Secondary School, says that their parents had just returned them to school and used all the money, saying that they are struggling to find means of picking them from school.
On Sunday night, President Museveni directed the closure of all educational institutions across the country for 42 days as part of the fresh measures to control the spread of COVID-19.
As a result, schools started discharging learners this morning to return to their homes.
However, many of the students are still stuck as they are yet to receive transport from their parents to return home.
Several other students claim to have received less money compared to what taxis and Boda bodas are charging leaving a number of students stranded on stages at Collins, Namirembe, Bishop, Kigunga, Jomayi and Seeta town while others are patiently waiting at their schools for their parents to pick them up.
Transport fares have been changing since morning depending on the distance one intends to cover. For instance, travellers from Mukono to Kampala on Boda boda are paying sh13, 000 and a taxis between sh8000 to 10, 000, while transport from Mukono to Jinja and Kayunga is sh30,000.
Although schools were three days to discharge students, many schools in Mukono are fighting to ensure that all students leave today. Unlike in the past, where schools could organize buses to transport students to distant areas at a cheaper cost, this time around most school buses are parked.
Our efforts to talk to school administrators were futile as they claimed to be busy ensuring the smooth sendoff of students. Cosmas Bagambaki, a Boda boda rider notes that they doubled their fares after being cautioned against carrying two passengers. He urged parents to pick their children since they are unable to negotiate transport fares.
Rev Enos Kagodo, a father of two children at Bishop Schools appeals to management not to charge them again once studies resume. He appeals to the Ministry of Education to issue a directive to all schools not to charge parents who had just completed school fees before the closure.
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