EPRC Meets Students, Hotel Owners, Education Financers and Hon. Rhoda Kalema
The Education Policy Review Commission continues to receive policy proposals from key stakeholders in the education and sports sector. The Commission met Uganda National Students Association, Higher Education Students Financing Board, Uganda Hotel Owners Association, as well as a prominent elder and former minister in the Government of Uganda Honorable Rhoda Kalema.
Some of the issues highlighted by stakeholders during the policy consultations are as follows:
Students Association presented
several issues for consideration by the Commission. Among these are: a call for a fair allocation of loans for
higher education; provision of standardized and quality education in all
schools and institutions of learning; emphasis on training students to be
united as Ugandans; promotion and facilitation of e-learning; promotion of
vocational education at both primary and secondary levels; increase the number
of teachers; the provision of food for all students to maximize learning
outcomes; and the promotion of patriotism and a nationalism among students. The main objective of Uganda National Students
Association is to represent views and opinions of students at post primary
education levels and students studying abroad on policy matters that have a
bearing on educational matters as well as national development issues.
Higher Education Students Financing Board is a government semi-autonomous body which provides loans and scholarships to students to pursue higher education. It was created in 2014. The Board singled out low access rates to higher education with only 10% access, far below the World average of 24%; uneven distribution of higher education institutions as most are located in Kampala and the Central region; a mismatch of skills obtained and those required in the workplace; high demand for loans with about 6000 students applying on average per year; there is inadequate funding which is only 0.3% of GDP far below the recommended share of 1%; the need for a regulated one stop center for all financing schemes; high attrition rates that averages 30%; the need for a
uniform fees structure and admissions system to higher education institutions, among others.
Uganda Hotel Owners Association is the sole trade association for the hotels in Uganda. The Association noted a disconnect between training offered to students and the apprenticeship skills required by the hotel and tourism sector. This has forced the sector to import expatriate manpower to effectively manage and service the industry. The Association proposed an expedited completion of a training and apprenticeship center for the hotel industry, cautioning that the center should be fully equipped, staffed and managed according to global standards. The Association further called for an attitude shift to vocational education, and requests Government to invest in a campaign to make vocational training attractive to young people. The Association was formed in May 2000 and boasts of a membership of 625 across the country.
Hon. Rhoda Kalema emphasized primary seven should be maintained; vocational education should start right from primary level, to address unemployment; the Government should provide adequate funds for the education sector; establishment of suitable structures for learning at all levels of education including pre-primary; the provision of quality training for teachers; and the need to establish fully-fledged technical universities.
Going forward, 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.