Page last updated at 13:59 GMT, Thursday, 28 August 2008 14:59 UK

CCTV to curb Uganda school fires

Rescue workers at Buddo Primary School
Police say that many of the fires have been started deliberately

The Ugandan government has announced plans to install surveillance cameras in schools to prevent fires.

Fires have claimed lives and destroyed property in close to 30 schools across the East African country this year.

In April, a fire in a dormitory at the Budo Junior school near the capital, Kampala, killed at least 20 students.

But the head teacher of a school in Kampala told the BBC's Network Africa programme that the idea was unrealistic and expensive.

The BBC's Joshua Mmali in Kampala says the plan will require a huge financial commitment, and it remains to be seen whether it will be viable.

I don't think surveillance cameras are the solution
Headmaster Patrick Bakka Male

The Ministry of Education set up an inquiry in June to determine the causes of the school fires.

A police investigation attributed most of the fires to arson, but no-one was brought to book, our reporter says.

"I don't think surveillance cameras are the solution... We need to find many alternatives, many options," said Mr Patrick Bakka Male, the headmaster of King's College.

He said it would be very expensive to set up cameras.

"If we are going to spend a lot of money on surveillance cameras, when they [students] have no books," he said.

The police report showed that students were to blame for nine out of the 10 of the arson cases.

Some schools have beefed up security by recruiting more guards and establishing more stringent measures to safeguard their premises.

Country profile: Uganda
13 Mar 08 |  Country profiles


Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific