Head Teachers, Kabaka, Publishers, Finn
Government, and Prof. Lugujjo, Give Policy Direction
In February 2023, the Commission received insightful policy proposals to spur Uganda’s education and sports sector to innovate, promote values and human transformation. The stakeholders consulted were the Association of Secondary School Head Teachers, the Kingdom of Buganda, the Finn Church Aid (Finland), Uganda Publishers’ Association and Professor Eriabu Lugujjo a prominent scientist and a specialist in higher education. Prof. Lugujjo was part of the team which drafted the 1992 Government Whie Paper on Education for National Integration and Development.
Some of the policy proposals and
recommendations highlighted by stakeholders are outlined here:
Association of Secondary School Head Teachers is composed of government funded secondary schools. The Head Teachers highlighted key issues affecting the sector and proposed policy reforms. The Head Teachers sited parents as major stakeholders in learning, as well as propagators of some negative practices which impact their children – learners. Some of the vices include the selection of schools where the focus is on passing exams as opposed to holistic learning; subjecting children to long school hours as early as 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. or midnight for boarding schools. The Head Teachers proposed that government should fund and training teacher for pre- primary; the adjustment of the school education system, given the new lower secondary school curriculum to 8 years in primary, 4 years in secondary, and 4 years in higher education; ICT learning should be made compulsory in all levels of learning, and so is Kishwahili; increase fund allocations to every learners over a three year period to cater for inflation; automatic promotion of teachers who upgrade from Diplomas to Degrees, without subjecting them to interviews by MOES; lower the teacher pupil ration to 1:40 to facilitate learner centered education; and move the appointing of district education officers to the MOES in order to attract competent persons to boost inspection of schools and compliance to guidelines.
Buganda Kingdom recognizes that education promotes the enjoyment of fundamental human rights and therefore, should be supported by all entities especially parents. The Kingdom proposes an education policy which produces self-reliant graduates with acceptable values, innovative and employable skills. The expected outcome is unity and economic prosperity for Ugandans.
Prof. Lugujjo posits that education should produce patriotic, honest
citizens with a deep sense of moral, ethical and spiritual values. Education
should be holistic and transformative to the learner. He highlighted a number achievements out of the
1992 Education Policy and recommended some outstanding policies for
consideration by the current Commission on Education and Sports.
He warns that before the 1992 education policy is disregarded, Government should test the potency of the 1992 policy by fully providing resources and inputs, which should be monitored and evaluated periodically for effectiveness. Only then can appropriate new policies be suggested. Prof. Lugujjo proposed: - the introduction of cost sharing in the funding of education – where the poorest districts are given free education; the establishment of government loan schemes in universities for all professional programs – scrapping of blanket government sponsorship which mostly reward privileged children from good schools; prioritization of technical and vocational education to cater for Uganda’s young population of over 76 percent for sustainable development; enforcement of university-industry partnerships through legislation to allow for joint projects or scholarships which attract a tax waiver for the investor; similarly, the strengthening of the Triple Helix Model where universities-government-industry work together to achieve projects in the realm of science, technology, engineering and innovations; intensification of science programs in learning will help Uganda attain vision 2040; restructuring of sports to meet demands of the current population; centralize model laboratories and workshops for secondary schools and technical institutions for efficient service delivery as seen in Malaysia – private sector can provide this service at a fee; and the provision of funds for maintenance of ICT across the schooling system.
The Finn Church Aid (Finland) earlier submitted a written proposal with several policy recommendations such as: create learners who are active doers in the learning process, rather than passive receivers of teaching; promote play-based, functional and learner-centered pedagogy as a basis for all teaching and curriculum revision; realign the curriculum with development goals of the country, with inbuilt measures to be dynamic; retool teachers with clear continuous professional development options; include 21st century skills as cross-cutting thematic in the revised curriculum, as these form basis for employability skills; contextualize the curriculum to different parts of the country, to respond to the environment and needs of the learners; among others.
Uganda Publishers’ Association are key contributors to
the education sector mostly for the service rendered to the Ministry of
Education and Sports (MOES) in producing teaching materials, and text books for
learners. The Association proposed the formulation of a National Book Policy to
streamline the operations of the book sector; the promotion of local content,
authorship by compelling all tertiary institutions of learning by policy, to
procure learning materials from local publishers - this is expected to save
government money used on importing textbooks; promote a reading culture by
stocking libraries – reading for general knowledge, leisure, discoveries and
innovations; centralize the procurement of learning materials to one unit to
avoid duplication in various MOES departments and affiliate agencies; a free
and fair procurement process for services of publishers, without favoring a few
publishers by making them part of the curriculum development process and the
evaluation of potential providers of publishing services; discourage plagiarism
of content submitted by publishers and the illicit practice by schools who
recommend ‘unauthorized text books’ to students.
In conclusion, the Education Policy
Review Commission will continue holding 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.