Churches, Mosques banned from public schools

The Ministry of Education has stopped the construction of churches and mosques in community or public schools in Kampala.

The Ministry’s move follows a number of land wrangles between the Ministry of Education, KCCA and religious institutions regarding land ownership.

In the recent past, KCCA refused to hand over Land of Ntinda Primary School to the Archdiocese of Kampala. The matter is currently before the Commission of Land Inquiry.

Other cases before the commission are the ownership of Land of Kazo Primary School in Mubende where Moslems wanted to reclaim land from the school to build a shopping centre.

According to the ducation ministry officials, the new directive has already been communicated to relevant offices. The directive aims at stopping future land wrangles.

Dr Tony Mukasa Lusambu, the commissioner in charge of Primary Schools says they no longer want religious institutions to construct places of worship in community or government-owned schools. He says the construction of the worship places discriminates learners.

Dr Lusamsbu added that the ban will not affect schools owned or founded by religious bodies.

“If the land or school is owned by a foundational body, we have no say about the construction of places of worship. As long the foundation body and schools management committee agree, we have no say. Our concern is schools that belong to government,” Lusambu said.

Reverend Paul Kakooza, head of Education Church of Uganda expressed fears that the move by the ministry is bound to affect the relationship between government and religious institutions.

“If this is true, this is not a good indication for government. It means we are going towards secularism. We need to produce people with religious values. For a long time, government has worked together with religious institutions well. This directive is bound to affect the relationship between government and religious sects.”

According records at the Ministry of Education and Sports,  over 12,000 schools are owned by religious institutions.

Dr Lusambu says the ministry is already dealing with a number of cases where religious organisations have built places of worship on land owned by government.

“We already have many cases where religious sects have built churches or mosques on land that does not belong to them. In the past, we have been talking to them to chase them off. There are many schools that we have talked with.”