In his statement, Mpuuga noted that education is a key component for social growth, economic development, and transformation. He, however, notes that the COVID-19 pandemic poses serious threats to access to Education in the country and that innovative solutions are needed to support the sector.
There is a need for drafting
a comprehensive resurgence plan for the education sector ahead of the
scheduled re-opening of educational
institutions next year, the Leader
of Opposition in Parliament, Mathias Mpuuga has appealed.
According to Mpuuga, the plan should be
tabled before parliament immediately detailing the dates of reopening the
schools for scrutiny and appropriation of funds. He also
notes that the school inspection program at the Local Government level should also be revamped
and adequately funded to ensure a
responsive and continued human capital development.
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These and other
recommendations are carried in Mpuuga’s statement he tabled before Parliament on Tuesday afternoon
regarding the current state of the Education Sector.
In his statement,
Mpuuga noted that education is a key component for social
growth, economic development, and transformation. He, however, notes that the COVID-19
pandemic poses serious threats to access to Education in the country and
that innovative solutions are needed to support the sector.
“The lockdowns that were instituted to contain
the spread of the pandemic disrupted learning across all levels of education.
Pre-primary institutions were completely closed while phased learning was
undertaken in primary, secondary, vocational, and tertiary institutions between
the 1st and 2nd wave of coronavirus infection,” he said.
Regarding the struggling private schools, Mpuuga
recommended that a credit line through Uganda Development Bank -UDB be
established to support some of the struggling private schools, noting that all nursery schools are completely
private and yet are of
great value to the education sector. He said that this support should come from the
IMF loan equivalent to US$ 1billion.
Recently, the Ministry of Education officials told the Education committee of parliament that the government
has established a Small Business Recovery Fund equivalent to Shillings 200 billion to be administered by participating
financial institutions across the country to provide concessional credit to
businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minister of State for Higher Education,
John Muyingo, and the Minister of State for Planning, Amos Lugoloobi then said
that the education sector may also benefit from this intervention. However, Mpuuga says that given the number of
schools requiring financial support, this facility is too insufficient to
accommodate the respective loan requests.
Besides the financial support to
private schools, the LOP also
recommended a review of the taxation policy to offer tax relief to private
educational institutions for at least a year.
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wants the Ministry of Education and Sports to clarify the proposed selective
increment of salaries for some categories of teachers.
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Also recommended by the Opposition is that
public schools should be permitted immediate access to a defined percentage of
the releases of capitation grants ahead of time to take care of the much-needed
renovations so that the school environment is prepared for teaching and
learning. Mpuuga said that this is premised on the fact that whereas the quarterly release of capitation grants has been
ongoing during the lockdown, the money was withheld pending
“Disbursement of these withheld funds will help
school administrators to pay for outstanding bills and also make procurements
required to make schools ready to operate. During this lockdown, schools have
faced many cases of vandalization due to lack of security personnel,
dilapidation because of lack of maintenance, and a general rundown of the school
structures. This same capitation grant should be used to procure hand
temperature guns, hand washing soap, and other sanitary facilities like water
tanks, which will be used in the adherence of the COVID Standard Operating
Procedures –SOPs,” Mpuuga noted.
The Deputy Speaker of
Parliament, Anita Among welcomed the alternative policies presented by the
Opposition to help the education sector recover from the effects of COVID-19. She however noted that the leaders in the
education sector and the President had done well to secure the safety of pupils
when the country was attacked by the pandemic.
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Joyce Moriku Kaducu, the Minister of State for
Primary Education also welcomed the Opposition statement, saying that some of the suggestions are already being addressed by her ministry.
“It’s not one person’s making, it’s not one person’s entity but a collective
responsibility. Together we should be able to really ensure that we have a
sustainable and safe re-opening of schools,” said Kaducu in part.
She added that at an appropriate time, the Ministry of
Education and Sports will issue a
statement on the matter. She
assured the parliament that come January 10th, 2022,
all schools will re-open.
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Among emphasized that the alternative
recommendations are welcome because they help government close the gaps. She
appealed to different
leaders to encourage
Ugandans to vaccinate so that the country goes back to normal.