Front view of Lira University Teaching Hospital. PHOTO BY JASPHER OUNI

The uncontested truth: Plan to shut down Northern Uganda and Teso shifted to education

(Last Updated On: 30 November 2021)

Lango sub region is welcoming 99% of students from the central corridor and western region with few faces from eastern region. 

By Okwany Jimmy

Alebtong—30, November 2021: The long journey of education in Uganda has reached a treacherous, compulsive and a pathological intersection that demands for eminence appraisal; a process of review to redraft policies that are equitably sensitive to the need of all the regions of the country with greater contemplation in revamping the dying of once powerful secondary schools in the countryside.

With the silent of education scholars and technocrats because of mucky assimilation of wealth that attracted a sense of self-actualization optically derailing their academic scopes of logical and practical enquiry in the dangerous terrain, Uganda education is wading through a politicophobia of repressive super monarchical regime that have stringent inflexible hands to divergent expressions.

Their silent has quietly sunk into the abyss the optimism of the deprived rural poor who have never stepped feet beyond Karuma and Nile Bridge in Jinja.

The latest merited university admissions for the academic year of 2021/2022 have clearly and categorically projected out who own the education system of Uganda, the super-rich, the politicalburo and highly connected state-aligned apologists who can afford schools in the central corridor and western part of the country.

To show sanity and digest the admission for easy consumption of the greater public, schools in Northern Uganda (West Nile), Teso (part of Eastern region), Karamoja and barely had candidates admitted in national universities.


Lira University: The seventy-seven (77) students admitted on merit to benefit from government scholarships has only one lady called Akello Elizabeth admitted for bachelor of Midwifery who sat from St. Gracious Secondary School (Lira). Akello Elizabeth studied from Kampala (Kitende) and shifted to St. Gracious towards examination.

Prominent schools in Lira or Lango sub region like Comboni College, Dr. Obote College, St Katherine, Lango College, Aduku SS, and St. Mary College Aboke feature no single candidate admitted to a University founded with the core values of developing the region.

Lango sub region is welcoming 99% of students from the central corridor and western region with few faces from eastern region.

Gulu University: Gulu University admitted 135 students on merit this academic year. However, no single students from any secondary school in Acholi sub region made it to the prestigious institution in the elephant’s land. This is laughable, pathetic and the biggest joke in the office of Rwot Achana, the highest ranking monarch of the land.

Prominent schools in this sub-region include St. Joseph College Layibi, Sacred Heart, Kitgum High School, Gulu High School, and Sir. Samuel Becker, etc. Surprisingly in the faculty of medicine, there is no single student from Acholi sub region admitted. Komakech Innocent from Omoro district who sat from Mackey Memorial School, Natete was admitted for Bachelor of Science Education (physical).

Komakech Derrick (Gulu), Lapyem Marvin Isaac (Gulu), Yeka Parksy (Agago) who sat from Kampala schools were admitted for Agriculture. Of the 135 students only 4 (3%) are from the region while the majority (97%) are from elsewhere with central and western Uganda predominantly controlling the list.

Muni University: Muni University admitted 76 students to be sponsored by the government of Uganda. Just like Gulu University, no single school in West Nile had a student who was admitted in their home University. Prominent secondary schools in West Nile include Pakwach Secondary School, St. Aloysius Nyapea, St Charles Lwanga Koboko, St. Daniel Comboni’s College Nebi, and St. Joseph College Ombachi amongst others.

To avoid more critical analysis of the admission, Muni University chose to use codes for districts of the students’ origin. However, due to regional familiarities of names the following students who sat from Kampala schools are from West Nile region; Alionzi Ronald Owama (Nursing), Adomati Aggrey (Nursing) and Afedra Francis (Education). These were the only lucky three (3) and West Nile in essence had only 3 (4%) of her students admitted in Muni University while 73 (96%) of the candidates are predominantly from central corridor and western.

Soroti University: Soroti University is the youngest University on the block and with fewest programs (Nursing, Pharmacy, Medicine and Surgery, Education). Surprisingly, it admitted more students (146) on merit than Gulu University (135) that opened its door to students in the year 2002.

Ojangole Sam admitted to pursue a Bachelor of Education is the only student who sat from a school in Teso sub region—Teso College Aloet. Just like Muni University, Soroti University also used district code to avoid close analysis of the candidates admitted for academic year 2021/2022.

Soroti University through the diploma scheme extension in a twinkle of light was able to admit from within the region the following candidates for medicine and surgery: Akongo Fernanda (Abim), Obote Dicken (Alebtong), Ejiku Feliix (Kaberamaido) and Acen Dorcus Angiro (Katakwi).

Makerere University, Kyambogo University: These two Universities reflex the national character of higher institutions of learning in the country. There are some few littering faces from the North, West Nile and Teso sub-regions though schools within the central region corridor are 100% major contributors.

This number put together can barely go beyond 2% as if it is a reminiscence of the national cabinet in the current NRM government. No single school from West Nile, Lango or Teso sub regions appeared on the list for national merit of these two prestigious institutions in the country.

Kabale University, Mbarara University: These two Universities represent western region on education balance sheet of the country and their contributions towards development of higher education in the west is unchallenged because within the profile of annual intake they search for candidates within Ankole and Kigezi regions to benefit from the mere present of the universities in their soil.

A commendable gestures that other up country Universities have never taken initiative to embrace. Such institution based scholarship is a drive to achieve equity and make the present of a university a-regional-owned-higher institution of learning.

District Quarter System (DQS): This is another inflamed cascade of a consummate lie to educate Ugandans on useless courses that are not practical based and hand-on oriented. It is a pure scheme to relegate and condemn the poor to the poor status forever; to instigate optimism that will never come to reality.

DQS is a deliberate approach by education technocrats, political elites in the society and scholars to leverage on the rural underprivileged as they educate their children for strategic advantages in government high profile offices in the country. District quarter system must be abandoned; capacities of education institutions refurbished, learning equipment installed in all rural schools and qualified teachers deployed.

The 4,000 students sponsored annually at Universities allotted in a batch of 1,000 to each core regions of the country (Central, Northern, Western and Eastern). The admission to Universities must strictly adhere to a regional merit for indigenous schools in those regions not the current system which has deprived traditional sound schools. There must be a change in the narrative of education equity in this country whether technocrats or politicalburo want or not because this is the only way that can spur up regional expansion through the education system.

The education system in Uganda has reverted back to pre-independence period of 1920s and 1930s when schools were mainly for the children of the aristocracy, clergymen and tribal chiefs. The government by then somehow tried and expanded the education system to include the children of the rural poor.

However, today the new system (New Colonial Masters of African Descent) is well crafted with a severe reduction in grants for up country schools and systematically expanded education as a capital commodity stealthily managed by a clique of highly cagey state apologists.

High-level politicians in Uganda today owns lavish secondary schools that the poor can never afford, they own string of businesses in the country and abroad, controls state institutions and have at their disposable unsurpassed state powers.

They have deceitful beliefs that with them the country is taking the right path of democracy, hoodwinking the gullible citizen to follow them with hopeless political promises that are never fulfilled.

The high profile money-oriented politicians of today are the ones responsible for the death of education institutions in Uganda because they subscribed to a system that lost it political permits and resorted to trading education with political favoritism.

The New Vision of 0ctober 8, 2019 asked a very pertinent questions of where the prominent schools of 1960s were. The same tabloid went ahead to mention schools such as Jinja College, Busoga College Mwiri, St Joseph College Layibi, Tororo Girls, though greatly it missed mentioning prominent schools in a calamitous state today.

To reaffirm that schools have become a business commodity in Uganda not agent of social transformation, not agent to eradicate extreme poverty or agent to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education that promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, not agent that achieve gender equality and empower all women and girl child as spelt in sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Transport mafias who are part of the capital rackets insistently exploit up country parents by tripling transport fares for their children who attend good schools within the central corridor of the country to the utter silent of state authorities because even the buses belong to their cronies.

Revamping and restructuring education system in the countryside is achievable and what is letting the country down is weak political will aligned along the path of patronage with a lot of expenditures for state survival.

The Education Review Commission (ERC) that was headed by Professor Senteza in 1987 would have achieved a lot by coming with policies on structuring education system in the country and focus on regional balance. However, this commission greatly consulted the urban rich leaving out the rural communities as was reported by Development of Africa Education, the consequence of which is clearly seen today.

Since colonial time, Uganda education has continued on the trajectory of failures to embrace the virtue of fairness and equity. This therefore calls for fresh consultations and engagement by key actors in all fronts if Uganda Vision 2040 is to be achieved by a mere 5%.

Mr. Okwany is a concerned parent of Ajuri County, Alebtong district.

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