KAMPALA – You should be aware, hungry teachers, old classroom blocks, poor facilitation in the line of duty, and intimidations whenever they raise their voices to have the education sector improved. Uganda is one of the countries which are still using the outdated formal education system that was initiated by the early Missionary Organization, during the 1880s colonial era, according to the Word Bank discussion paper on implementing educational policies in Uganda. Though in 1962 when the country was ushering in her independence, Uganda’s education system was considered to be far better than that of her East African alias. To maintain this, the NRM government introduced Universal Primary Education (UPE) in 1997, which brought an increase in enrollment of 16.6 percent more boys than girls, not leaving out the introduction of Universal Secondary Education (USE), or Universal Post Primary Education and Training(UPPET) in 2007, which catalyzed the enrollment in S.1 to S.6, with all this enrollment, from primary to higher institutions of learning, unemployment is at its peak, despite government’s efforts to eliminate the problem, through creating various avenues to empower the population and building schools. Surprisingly, all these are to remain on the verge of jeopardy, after initiating the automatic promotion, upon the re-opening of schools in January 2022, which will leave the country with the semi-skilled workforce, leading to an increase in unemployment in the future, analyses Kasimbi Nelson Edward, PML Daily correspondent.
Kasaza Martin is a student at Jinja Senior Secondary School in Jinja District. James is among the many learners waiting to be promoted to their next class, as soon as schools re-opened, without any sweat, however, when interviewed by the PML Daily, he seemed not to remember what he was taught two years ago, before this lockdown.
“When did former presidents Amin and Museveni take over power?” our reporter asked, “Amin came to power in 1957, Museveni came to power in 1885” Kasaza answered.
Tumuhairwe Loren Gift, a former primary seven pupil at Wilden Nursery and primary school in Wakiso district is now smilingly waiting to join any secondary school of her choice, to further her education.
Having studied for ten years that is from baby class to p.7, without any interruptions, Gift didn’t only excel in her national exams but also has a sharp memory, than Kasaza, who is just waiting to benefit from the automatic promotion initiative. This was discovered according to the way she was able to remember what she studied ten years ago. This was proved when our correspondent tested her to outline some of the effects of 1900, Sir Harry Johnston agreement, which she did brilliantly.
“Can you please tell me the effects of the Buganda agreement” Gift was asked, “it led to ratios, and displacement of people,” she answered.
This is the difference between one who studies the whole syllabus prepared in the whole academic calendar, then one who studies a quarter of it.
For decades, Many African universities have been producing too many graduates with costly degrees and diplomas that lack mastery of skills that are necessary in today’s world labor market. According to the African Development Bank, poor training of students and demerit promotions are some of the factors outlined.
In a policy research report, titled Creating decent jobs: Strategies policies and Instruments, the African Development Bank said, most degrees and diplomas awarded by many African universities lack the academic rigor, relevance and career-focused skills to enable graduates to get decent jobs.
Mr. Ewaku James a resident of Nakabugo, Biira village in Wakiso district, and a father of two school-going children is worried about the effects of this promotion, saying this is to affect service deliveries in the future.
“I am worried about the nature of professionals we are going to produce after a period of five to seven years, remember a lot of these kids have missed a lot, and I believe when they go back to school, teachers will rush, trying to complete the syllabus, am sure that some areas and topics are not going to be captured properly,” says Mr. Ewaku.
“Remember these are pupils, that will turn into students, that in future will join universities and became professionals who are supposed to serve us in different offices, given the fact that they have missed some stages of education, we are most like to have half-baked professionals in future,” he said.
According to the psychology dictionary, automatic promotion refers to the advancement of students who have not sufficiently gained the required academic skills and knowledge of one grade level to the higher grade. Recently, the Kigali-based government abolished the same system to pave a new way to have the country’s education system thrive, after gaining nothing and wasting a lot of resources.
Speaking to Katende Pirere Peter, a teacher of physic and mathematic at God Care High School in Wakiso district, sympathized with children from humble families which could not afford to hire teachers or even buying dailies for their leaner, such children, excelling in their academic, maybe a journey of 10,00km walked by tortes.
“Students from third world schools who have not been able to get teachers to continue with their studies, or even buy newspapers, are mostly to be affected, they’re going to be promoted to next classes, they will not be able to perform like the other category who have been accessing teachers in the lockdown,” Katende told PML Daily.
However, he adds “to the category of students who have been studying from home, if they have been able to finish up the syllabus, there is no reason as to why they are not promoted.”
Achieving vision 2040, Uganda should heavily invest in the education sector, since it is a crucial mechanism for economic growth by producing human capital, putting it in mind that the sector has been greatly battered by the pandemic.
In an effort to improve the education sector, the government allocated billions of shilling to the government to school, though private schools were left out, without any hope of facilitation. According to the academic calendar released by the Ministry of Education, all schools are to re-open on the 10th of January, 2020.