By George Busiinge
TotalEnergies EP Uganda (TEPU) has awarded scholarships to 20 girls who passed their 2022 Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) in first grade in Buliisa and Nwoya Districts. Each district received 10 scholarships.
Besides the scholarship, each student was also given a mattress, one dozen petroleum jelly, one dozen laundry soap, reams of paper, exercise books and Shs200, 000 for upkeep among others.
The beneficiaries are studying at St Andrea Kaahwa’s College in Hoima city and Sacred Heart Secondary School in Gulu.
Handing the items to the beneficiaries at the function that took place on 15th February 2023, the Buliisa District Chairman, Fred Lukumu, urged parents to encourage and support their girl children in education now that TotalEnergies EP Uganda is lending them a hand to ensure that girls also continue with education like their male counterparts.
He urged them to ascertain that they advise their girl children not to drop out of school to avoid ruining their chance at this time when they are being sponsored by France’s oil giant.
“We appreciate TotalEnergies for promoting education for girls in the district. We also appreciate the efforts by parents to have these girl children perform well.
“However, we encourage them to ensure that they advise them to focus on education only so that they don’t drop out of school due to other trivial issues that can ruin their future,” Mr Lukumu said.
Speaking at the ceremony held at Buliisa district headquarters, the Buliisa District Education Officer (DEO), Tyson Kasangaki Kiiza, attributed the low academic performance among girl children in the district to some parents’ failure to support them in different aspects.
He observed that stakeholders have also for long disregarded exposing girl children to a wider education spectrum causing them to lag in academic circles.
“Most parents are unsupportive of their girl children educationally, subject them to child labour and conceal defilement cases. Taking a long time to introduce girls to education makes a girl child unable to continue with education because they feel having become old enough past primary seven.” Kiiza said.
The DEO was concerned that 316 unqualified teachers are serving in the 30 primary schools in the district and only 13 appointed ones.
Calorine Namyalo, the CSR manager of TEPU, said the developer of the Tilenga oil project took the initiative of providing scholarships in 2015 after realizing that the girl child in Buliisa and Nwoya districts was so disadvantaged in attaining education.
However, she said that the company provides scholarships for both male and female students who excel in their advanced level of education to enable the two genders to be on the same footing in education.
Robert Mukonyezi, a parent to Patience Atuhurra, who is among the scholarship beneficiaries appreciated TotalEnergies Uganda for offering the girl children the scholarship saying despite their children performing well academically, some parents are too poor to pay tuition fees for them.
Atuhurra passed in Division One after scoring an aggregate of 12 at Ndandamire primary school.
Mukonyezi revealed that several challenges are hindering girl children from climbing more academic ladders due to the conditions in their environs.
The parent wants local leaders at all levels to sensitize parents about the benefits of education.