Platform for Labour Action (PLA) is a Civil Society Organization has attributed the high dropout rates in Universal Primary Education(UPE) and Universal Secondary Education(USE) to introduction of fees by schools.
“We have UPE, USE and government sponsorship at tertiary institutions but students from poor families end up not benefitting from them because when you look critically, there are hidden costs like fees for meals, development fees , fees for uniform , building fees which many parents especially in rural areas can’t afford,” said Grace Mukwaya, the Executive Director at the Platform for Labor Action .
She made the remarks during the graduation ceremony of over 100 girls who have over the last six months undergone skills training from the Platform for Labour Action.
According to the organization that focuses on protecting labor rights, many parents especially in rural communities cannot afford these charges that are collected by school administrators and in turn thereby pushing many children into forced labour.
Muwakya noted that that if these fees are not eliminated, many children will end up in forced labour while others will be trafficked.
“There is need to ensure thee hidden costs are done away with or else we will not remain with any child in school, especially in rural areas where parents can’t even afford shs1000.”
According to Severino Hakiba Bataringaya the Principle Qualification Officer at the directorate of Industrial Training, government is now encouraging parents and students to embrace vocational training as part of the ongoing efforts to address the high rates of unemployment and lack of adequate skilled personnel in the country.
Bataringaya noted that vocational training that is now being extended to the level of senior three has many benefits including solving the unemployment situation in the country but also improve on the basket of skills in the country.
“Skilling is crucial because the clothes and shoes we put on or the buildings we live in are all done by skilled people. It has therefore become mandatory for all secondary schools to have pre vocational skills for the benefit of students even if they don’t proceed to university,”Bataringaya said.
According to Grace Mukwaya, at the Platform for Labour Action, they skill disadvantaged girls whom they release to society to become responsible people.
“Most of the girls that have received this training are former child laborers rescued from different parts of the country by the Platform for Labor action. These girls are empowered in order to avoid being exploited because they can now create their own jobs.”