Uganda

Uganda: Northern children prevented from attending school

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NAIROBI, 5 February (IRIN) - Officials in the district of Lira, northern Uganda, have launched an appeal to finance 36 temporary "learning centres" for children displaced by insecurity caused by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group.
"The situation in Lira is terrible because over 40 primary schools, four secondary schools and two technical schools have closed down and we have no hope of them opening soon as the place is still too insecure for the children to study," Daniel Omara Atubo, a Member of Parliament for Otuke County in Lira, told IRIN.

"Teachers are displaced, the children who are supposed to go to school are displaced and their parents too are also displaced and are unable to facilitate their children to go to schools due to poverty," he said, adding that most children in Lira district had not been taught since August 2002, while a new school term was due to start next week.

Lena Schildt, from the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) office in Kampala, said UNICEF would set up learning centres for Lira district "as soon as possible" which would include teaching materials and facilities. Similar centres had so far been set up in Gulu and Pader districts, she said.

Over 100,000 pupils in 159 primary schools in 12 sub-counties have been affected and displaced by the LRA since August 2002, prompting the district to launch the appeal for help.

[ENDS]

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