MTN Foundation, the charity arm of MTN Uganda, on Wednesday (Mar. 23) handed over a newly constructed classroom block and staff quarters to Bigodi Secondary school and Rwengobe Primary School respectively.
The project was funded by MTN Foundation and implemented through Promoting Equality in African Schools (PEAS), a non-government organisation dedicated to improving access to quality education in Uganda.
MTN Foundation through this project which cost nearly UGX350million, constructed and furnished a 3-classroom block at Bigodi Secondary School to create adequate learning space for the students.
The project also saw Rwengobe Primary School receive newly constructed staff quarters with the capacity to accommodate 6 teaching staff and the Head Master of the institution.
According to Wim Vanhelleputte, the MTN Uganda Chief Executive Officer, who was speaking at the official handover of the schools in Kamwenge today, by undertaking this initiative, MTN is fulfilling its commitment to the people of Uganda to continually support and contribute towards the socio-economic development of the country.
“We believe that this classroom block will alleviate challenges of congestion and limited learning space for the students while also creating an enabling environment for learning. Through this project, MTN also hopes to create positive impact with ripple effects culminating into the social and economic development of the country,” he noted.
Information from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics 2021 abstract indicates that Kamwenge district has the third highest student to classroom ratio in the Western and South-Western region of Uganda. This implies that the district has the third highest number of students per classroom in the entire region after Sheema and Bundibugyo.
In addition, the abstract indicates that secondary school enrolment has reduced by 6% from 1.4m in 2016 to 1.3m in 2017.
The research spells out the need for increased efforts towards creating an enabling environment in secondary schools to encourage student enrolment.
With about 28 schools in Uganda, supporting over 1500 students to access quality education, PEAS continues to play a key role in improving the education sector in the country.
MTN Foundation has over the years invested heavily in improving infrastructure across schools in Uganda such as constructing classroom blocks and sanitary facilities at Kichwamba PEAS School in Kabarole, Noble PEAS High School and Aspire PEAS School in Ibanda district which has positively impacted thousands of students in the Western region.
While delivering his remarks, the Guest of Honour, the Outgoing Resident District Commissioner, Kamwenge district, Martin Mugabe lauded MTN Uganda for its support to the education sector in the Western region of Uganda noting it will play a critical role in alleviating some of the challenges faced by schools in the country.
“Teacher absenteeism is also another challenge that still persists within the education sector in Uganda. A World Bank report dubbed: the Global Corruption report in 2013 named Uganda as the country with the third highest rate of teacher absenteeism in the world, standing at 27%, yet the global ceiling is 30%. These challenges across schools in the country need to be tamed especially during this period of the pandemic, and I believe this initiative by MTN is one of the key solutions,” he said.
While further appreciating the MTN Foundation for this initiative, Mugabe also urged the administration and management of these schools to guard the new infrastructure with the aim of sustaining the impact for the long term.