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Govt told UPE and USE schools be given top funding priority

(Last Updated On: 8 February 2024)

Kampala I Following the release of the Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) results a few weeks ago, distress is eating up some parents and their (children) pupils who sat for the final exams in 2023.

According to the recent exercise, 648,662 candidates are eligible to join senior one. 130,000 candidates will have to repeat the same class after failing the final papers.

“This is heart-breaking to the parents, candidates and the school authorities who have worked very hard since 2016 to complete the seven year-cycle of primary education,” Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) head of media and communications, Muzeyi Faizo said on Wednesday.

He added that “UPC makes a serious observation that to have Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE)” is a good “under-taking”. “However, their funding should be given a top priority in order to mitigate and absorb the highly increasing number of students,” Faizo added.

According to the political party, it is always better to plan for optimum facilities to ensure their maximum utilization as opposed to under planning and getting caught up at the tail end of the cycle like the situation at hand.

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“The party has noted that most of the secondary schools are decrying understaffing of teachers and insufficient facilities to accommodate a big number of students, thus admitting only those which they can manage.

“UPC urges the government to first track the building of prefabricated classrooms, laboratories and dormitories while at the same time, the Ministry of Public Service should embark on urgent recruitment of teachers. This should be based on already existing schools with space for expansion as it is economically friendly since such schools are operational,” he noted.

Looking at the available alternatives, Faizo stated that as a matter of urgency, the party calls upon the government to renew her partnership with potential private schools as is the case with Universities to absorb the stranded candidates as well as promote technical, vocational education and training institutions.

The above, he said, are options for our primary seven leavers to undertake a wider range of vocational skillful courses such as welding and metal fabrication, plumbing, textile, carpentry; motor vehicle mechanics, brick-laying and agriculture, among others.

“The hands-on skills and/or practical training at such a stage is very vital as the country is in shortage of such trained manpower at lower ranks, yet the World is increasingly getting more competitive with advancement in science and technology leading to innovations and increased productivity.

“Let Uganda build it up from there to be in line with Build Uganda Buy Uganda (BUBU),” he advised.

In 1996, UPE started on the directive of President Museveni and was welcomed by different stakeholders.

According to Enabling Education Network (EENET), in practice, the UPE programme is not universal but has a realistic tendency towards universality.

“Before implementation, the policy was extensively discussed at various fora, including educational institutions, in the cabinet and at the parliamentary level. Under this programme, the government commits itself to providing primary education for a maximum of 4 children per family.

“To comply with Uganda’s constitutional requirements on affirmative action in favour of marginalized groups, 2 of the 4 must be girls if a family has children of both sexes.

“In addition, if a family has a child with a disability, he or she must be granted the highest priority in enrolment under this programme. The government pays the school fees for the children. It also provides grants to be spent on instructional materials, co-curricular activities like sport, and the management and maintenance of utilities like water and electricity.”

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