KAMPALA – The World Bank has said the government of Uganda has neglected the Early Childhood education to private proprietors who have made it very expensive for poor Ugandans.
Speaking at the assessment of the Uganda Teacher and School Effectiveness Project (UTSEP) in Kampala on Tuesday, December 10, 2019, Mr Kirill Vasilliev, a senior education specialist at the World Bank, said because of the expensive nursery education, most children go to primary school when they are not prepared and under-aged making it different for them to learn appropriately and pass.
“International evidence has shown that investment in early childhood education years is crucial in promoting high learning outcomes because it prepares pupils on how to read and pronounce words. It is difficult for teachers to teach pupils who have not gone through the nursery,” Mr Vasilliev said.
He advised the government to prioritize this sector and provide early education to less advantage especially the poor in rural areas where private investors are not well established.
“In terms of investment in education, Uganda is still lagging behind in the region hence it should up its games if it is to compete in the labor market with other countries in the near future,” Mr Vasilliev added.
Safaa El Kogali, the World Bank Education Practice Manager for East Africa, advised the government to provide nursery education to those that cannot afford the costs charged by private service providers.
“Focusing on primary education is not enough if learners are likely to fail or not complete school because they did not attain pre-primary education, the government can decide to offer pre-primary education to those that cannot afford it as it does for UPE and leave private providers to cater for those that can afford,” she said.
In response, Ms Rosemary Sseninde, the Minister of State for Primary Education, said management of Early Childhood Education will be resolved by the Early Childhood Care and Development Policy (ECCD), which has been drafted and is awaiting Cabinet approval.
“At a moment, the early childhood development center is in the hands of private people, so as the government we cannot just watch our children charged abnormal amounts of money. This policy will help minimize these challenges,” Ms Sseninde said.