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Citizens cite extra financial demands by schools as the biggest challenge affecting Education in Uganda

UWEZO’s regional manager, Dr. Mary Goretti Nakabugo (FILE PHOTO)

KAMPALA – Citizens in Uganda have cited excessive financial demands from schools as one of the biggest problems affecting Education across the country, a survey by Sauti za Wananchi has reported today.

Sauti za Wananchi is a nationally-representative, high-frequency mobile phone panel survey that collected data from 1878 respondents in the baseline survey conducted in September and October 2018.

Sauti za Wananchi report says both in primary and secondary schools parents say the main challenge they face in regard to their children’s school is excessive of financial requirements required from parents by schools.

The report reveals that one out of four [23%] citizens interviewed for secondary schools and 14% for primary schools sited extra contributions as the biggest challenge they have.

“When asked about the challenges facing their children at school, more parents named school extra contributions than any other issue,” reads the report in part.

While releasing the report at Hotel Africana 8 November Twaweza’s Ms. Marie Nanyanzi said citizen also pointed out that just a quarter of the girls [25%] who start secondary schooling complete the cycle compared to more than half [52%] boys.

“most of the girls in question are now housewives while a substantial number [14%] were described as unemployed while only one of eight [12%] had resumed their studies,” said Ms. Nanyanzi.

The report entitled; Preparing the next generation, Uganda’s experiences and opinions on Education a product of Twaweza’s; new Sauti za Wananchi survey says extra financial contributions demanded by schools have made education very expensive for the poor.

Sauti za Wananchi is a nationally-representative, high-frequency mobile phone panel survey that collected data from 1878 respondents in the baseline survey conducted in September and October 2018.

Dr Tonny Mukasa Lusambu, the commissioner of Basic Education at the ministry said Education is not free and urged parents to make their contribution as government also makes its contribution.

“As a ministry, we have written to all schools to desist from charging high fees without consulting the ministry and showing cause why they are increasing fees but of course this does not mean that education is free,” said Dr Lusambu.

He explained that government is playing its part by providing capitation grants for UPE and USE and asked parents to also play their part by buying books, providing food and other demands from the schools.

He revealed that funding to government primary schools is in the form of a grant given per child, per year to each school and that the capitation grant to schools is Shs 7,000 for UPE and Shs 41,000 for USE per learner per year.

Dr Goretti Nakabugo, UWEZO’s regional manager while discussing the report said according to the 2013 MDG report by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Uganda’s completion rates in primary education are only 25 percent compared to 84 percent in Kenya, 81 percent in Tanzania and 74 percent in Rwanda.

She added that the dropout rates and grade repetition remain high and that it is unlikely that all Ugandan children in UPE especially girl-child will be able to complete the full course of primary schooling.

“As the citizens suggested in the report, we need to encourage the pregnant girl to continue with school while pregnant or allow her back in school after giving birth but also ensure that schools create safe places for these girls to continue,” said Dr Nakabugo.

Dr Francis Mwesige asked government to revise the capitation grants for schools in accordance with the inflation stand of the country to enable schools to deliver effective teaching to the learners in the country.

The MDG 2013 report by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development says the high dropout rate is because of lack of interest in school (46 percent), family responsibilities and sickness (12 per cent) employment (four per cent), marriage (four per cent), school fees (three per cent), pregnancy (two per cent) and dismissal (one per cent).

Other quality indicators Uganda is struggling with include curriculum assessment, sanitation facilities, and lifelong learning and life skills, as well as reading skills. Ends

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