Managers of government primary schools in Kampala City are worried about the increasing poor performance of UPE schools.
Head teachers of KCCA primary schools, while meeting state minister for Kampala, Benna Namugwanya, revealed that in the recent Primary Leaving Examination (PLE) results no pupil in a government school scored Aggregate 4.
The meeting at Nakasero Primary School in Kampala was attended by 13 head teachers from the five divisions of Kampala, parents, KCCA officials and school management committees.
Issues at hand
The head teachers listed a number of challenges the city government schools face, which include transferring teachers and no replacement is made, poor pay, lack of accommodation and school land grabbing.
On accommodation, Jane Kansiime, the head teacher KCCA Primary School, Kamwokya said her school has over 1,000 pupils, with only 23 teachers.
“Ours, the teacher-pupil ratio stands at 1:100. Remember, the population of the schools keeps on increasing. I therefore, ask KCCA to address this issue,” Ms Kansiime explained.
Mr Charles Ssengendo, the headteacher of Nakasero Primary School shocked those who attended the meeting when he said his school has a population of about 2,340 pupils with less than 30 teachers.
Part of the reasons why KCCA schools are not performing well, Ssengendo said is because they were stopped from conducting weekend and holiday classes.
“And yet our colleagues in the private schools teach,” he added.
The minister was told to reinstate the PTA policy, so that parents and teachers are involved.
Previously, PTA policy was instrumental in running the affairs of the schools.
Poor report shocks political leaders
A report tabled before the Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and the councillors last month revealed that private schools performed better than Government aided schools.
But KCCA director Juilet Namuddu promised the political leadership to expect better results this year.
“We are going to closely monitor the schools so that they perform better this year,” she added.
Some councillors however insisted that a part from closely monitoring, government should inject more funds in KCCA schools.
“UPE schools provide education to peasant children. I am what I am because of education. These schools have been neglected,” said Moses Katambu, the Central division councillor.
Recruiting more teachers
Nammudu admitted a crisis the schools are facing due to limited number of teachers, promising that soon more will be recruited.
“KCCA had a shortfall of about 117 teachers but soon they will be recruited by the Education Service Commission,” she said.
On the issue of low pay, Namuddu told headteachers that KCCA had set up a teacher’s SACCOS, which would allow teachers to get loans and engage in income-generating activities.
On her part, Namugwanya told those who attended the meeting that her ministry was in the process of acquiring school land titles for all KCCA schools.
Before the introduction of UPE, primary schools like Nakasero, Buganda Road Primary School, Kitante and many others were topping in PLE performance.
Country wide problem
In last year’s Primary Leaving Examination (PLE), only 57, 198 candidates scored First Grade compared to last year’s 63,400 candidates.
According to figures from UNEB, private schools registered more first grades than government-aided schools.