Six Present Policy Proposals in October 2022
In the Month of October 2022, the Education Policy Review Commission interfaced with key stakeholders in the education sector. These are Early Childhood Development Consortium Uganda, Private Sector Foundation Uganda, Home Scholars Association, the National NGO Forum, Uganda Women’s Network, and UWEZO Uganda- researchers of learning outcomes.
One of the core objectives of the Education Policy Review Commission is to investigate and inquire into the implementation of the decisions contained in the Government White Paper on Education of 1992. The Chairperson of the Commission, Hon. Rtd Col. Amanya Mushega said, “We welcome varying views and proposals backed by evidence. We do appreciate candid submissions to help improve the education and sports sector.”
Several issues emerged out of these policy consultations highlighted below, as well as recommendations:
The Early Childhood Development Consortium Uganda – ECDC noted that the 2008 Education Act places the provision of early childhood education entirely in the hands of the private sector, and this has affected early childhood development. A very small percentage (5%) of the education sector budget is allocated to pre-primary education. It further highlighted bottlenecks to early childhood development which include: shortage of qualified teachers; high costs and low quality services; rural-urban disparities in the attainment of early childhood education; high repetition rates in primary one; low completion rate for primary school learners; and limited regulation of learning centers, among others. ECDC is a group of stakeholders interested in early childhood care and education. This comprises of education experts from Makerere University, Kyambogo University, the Ministry of Education and Sports, BRAC, UNICEF, PLAN, PlayMatters, Livelyminds, World Vision, AfriChild, religious bodies, Save the Children, AVSI, ELMA, among others.
Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) revealed that the education sector is not well positioned to support the industrialization agenda of government. It outlined high unemployment rates among university graduates; Government interference in setting of school fees by private schools; high taxation of private schools; negative mindset towards vocational and science education; lack of a National Service Scheme; inadequate career guidance services, and lack of psycho - social support for learners; among others. PSFU is Uganda’s apex body for the private sector made up of 230 Business Associations, Corporate bodies and the major Public Sector Agencies that support private sector growth.
Home Scholars Association is a local initiative by Ugandans with over 400 member families. They are the pioneers of homeschooling in Uganda. They shared experiences in implementing this emerging education model. The Home Scholars cited three major issues affecting the sector as well as proposed remedies: absence of a legal provision on home schooling in Uganda; a rigid curriculum which includes several compulsory subjects; and limited involvement of parents in the education of their children.
Likewise, the presentation of the National NGO Forum focused on disproportionate levels in access to primary education, inadequate infrastructure, inadequate number of secondary schools, and inclusion of all learners; the need for child protection in schools; wastage of government funds on children over age or under age at primary level; low marketability of skills learned and low pre-vocational exposure; system strengthening of education in Uganda; and low financing of the education sector and the capturing of education data for planning. The NGO Forum creates space for civil society organizations both national and international to reflect, strategize and take action on policy issues. It boasts of a 650 membership which includes faith-based organizations.
Uganda Women’s Network – UWONET highlighted limited access and low quality of early childhood education; significant disparities between male and female literacy rate; and low enrolment of females in technical and vocational training. UWONET is an advocacy organization that exists to coordinate collective action among women’s rights and gender equality stakeholders for the attainment of gender equality and equity in Uganda.
UWEZO Uganda presented three areas of concern: Low learning levels across the country; Unequal distribution of learning levels across the country; and delayed acquisition of grade-appropriate competencies. UWEZO is an NGO that uses research to demonstrate how to improve learning outcomes and keeping communities and leaders focused on learning.
In conclusion, the Commission continues to hold public hearings, consultations and dialogue with key stakeholders in the education and sports sector to gather their views and proposals. The findings will be used to inform the formulation of a macro policy framework for human capital development in the country.