The Education Policy Review Commission Meets Ten More Stakeholders
In the month of November 2022, the Education Policy Review Commission consulted ten stakeholders. Each, presented policy proposals and recommendations to improve Uganda’s education and sports sector. The stakeholders include the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, the Catholic Church, Uganda National Teachers Association, the Directorate of Industrial Training –Ministry of Education and Sports, The College of Engineering, Art, Design and Technology – Makerere University, National Identification Registration Authority, Makerere University School of Medicine, Taibah Schools, Faculty of Education – Kyambogo University, and CASTLE – Center for Advanced Strategic Leadership.
Some of the policy proposals and recommendations highlighted by stakeholders are outlined here:
The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation proposes an education system which instills foundational knowledge, analytical and technical skills, as well as competence. It lists five key areas of interventions: mindset change – this should be included in the curriculum to condition learners to be patriotic and high achievers; The education content should be tailored to support the strategic development agenda of the country; Pedagogy should be learner-centered and exploratory; Emphasis on research and development to spur national economic growth, where new knowledge is obtained to create new technology, products, services or systems; The structure of higher education should have dual study programs which combine academic studies with experience in a company or vocational training.
The Catholic Church identified some bottlenecks and remedies for all levels of education; all early childhood development teachers should be well trained and well remunerated just like their counterparts in other education levels such that teaching is based on interest and not income; the capitation grant should be increased from time to time to facilitate improved education outcomes in primary education; Government should train all teachers; Christian religious studies should be compulsory in Catholic founded secondary schools; the Secretariate proposes increased Government funding for all universities including private universities, regulation of tuition across universities, increased funding for student’s loan schemes to include students in private universities, among others.
Uganda National Teachers Association recommends an education system which gives all Ugandans the opportunity to thrive in areas/ fields of their passion, natural talent and skill; free and compulsory basic education for learners aged 5-12; eight years of primary learning instead of the current seven years to allow time for vocational training; Secondary schools should be subdivided into: comprehensive secondary schools, vocational secondary schools and specialized talent academies for gifted learners; the Government should consider the provisions of the National Teachers Policy that was approved in 2019 by Cabinet, among others.
The Directorate of Industrial Training –Ministry of Education and Sports recommends the promotion of vocational education at secondary level; the institution of a supportive instruments such as an industrial policy and industrial training act; promote on-the-job training in industry for apprenticeship; increase the use of occupational competence-based assessment to award vocational qualifications to students; among others.
The College of Engineering, Art, Design and Technology – Makerere University admits some of the brightest students but several students opt out of the courses. The College proposes the establishment of an entry assessment to ascertain readiness and suitability; increase admissions of students from rural schools and by lowering the pre-entry grades for rural schools who would be vetted through the pre-entry exam; scrap courses which are not competitive in the market place; allow universities to increase tuition with justification to boost revenue; increase research and innovation through enhanced facilities such as laboratories, infrastructure and space, to facilitate proper teaching methods; among others.
National Identification Registration Authority recommends the promotion of civic education in all schools about the importance of personal identification and registration; require a national identification number for students for accurate student tracking and resource allocation; and tie resource allocation to all education institutions to national identification number for efficient use of resources.
Makerere University School of Medicine recommends strengthening compliance to standards and infrastructure in medical training institutions through enhanced support supervision and enforcement; build resourced laboratory infrastructure across the country for meaningful scientific research and innovation in the complex fields of natural and medical sciences; provide protected funding for graduate degree education to enable students focus on academics and research literature; and invest more in vocational skills education to stimulate hands-on industrial creators and innovators, among others.
Taibah Schools recommends a focus on the implementation of education policies at the classroom level in Uganda; a reduction in the volumes of the curriculum content at all levels; Include inquire and research in teacher training to encourage teachers to become long-life learners; strategically select and retrain leadership in education and raise standards of accountability at all levels; pilot public/private partnerships for lead government schools to operate with a business-like efficiency for better learning outcomes; integrate human capital development and the economic development goals of the country, among others.
The Faculty of Education – Kyambogo University made the following proposals: all teachers should acquire a bachelor degree within the transition period of 15 years; the role of Uganda National Institute for Teacher Education should be to professionalize teaching not training under the regulation of National Teacher Councils; harmonize the remuneration of all teachers; separate pre-primary from primary schools with a play-based curriculum;
CASTLE – Center for Advanced Strategic Leadership recommends quality education for Uganda’s rapidly growing population using digital technology; the adoption of a learner-centered approach of teaching to enhance learner knowledge, confidence, and engagement; and a shift in ranking of students based on exams to more relevant approaches such as gauging for readiness to work or employability. Castle also recommended the recognition of home schooling as mode of education service delivery.
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.