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Researcher Roots for Private Public Partnership to Access Quality Education

However Mwesigye says the using the case of Promotion of Equality in African Schools –PEAS intervention model, the PPP arrangement under the USE programme has proved to work better than public schools.
Dr. Francis Mwesigye, a Research Fellow at EPRC

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Dr Francis Mwesigye, a Research Fellow at EPRC says Public Private Partnerships (PPP) offer an opportunity to close the gaps in access to education as well as address quality concerns.  

The introduction of USE in 2007 saw government partnering with 863 private schools with a view of expanding access to secondary education.

  According to the Education Management Information System, this partnership saw an increment of students’ enrolment in public and private secondary schools in Uganda in 2016 from 800 to 1.4million students.  

Government however announced in 2014 that it was considering scrapping free education in all partnering private secondary schools to enable it raise funds to set up enough public schools in the countryside. 

However Mwesigye says the using the case of Promotion of Equality in African Schools –PEAS intervention model, the PPP arrangement under the USE programme has proved to work better than public schools. 

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Dr Mwesigye advises that government needs to support private schools through cost sharing.    

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  Mwesigye’s recommendations arise out of EPRC’s three year-study on the role of public-private partnerships in enhancing access to quality education, using PEAS schools as a case study.    

Although USE scholarship increased enrollment to secondary schools, statistics show a significant number of pupils completing primary and not admitted to secondary schools.

For instance, only 326,591 students of the 876,534 who completed the primary cycle transited into secondary school in 2015. 

  Additionally, the USE programme was found to cater for students who are able to score first and secondary grades in Primary Leaving Examinations –PLE.  

  For example, in 2016, of the 640,833 pupils who sat PLE, more than half did not obtain first and second grades, meaning they would not qualify for USE scholarship.  

  According to EPRC’s evaluation, the PEAS intervention enhanced access to education for poor students and those from remote and hard to reach areas. In addition, students in PEAS schools, who hitherto had poor PLE grades, performed as well as those in private and government schools in the assessment exams suggesting that PEAS intervention improved education quality.  

 PEAS programme started in 2008 in Uganda as an intervention aimed to substantially increase the number of secondary schools targeting remote and hard to reach areas. It is currently running 28 schools in the country. 

  Dr Mwesigye observes that from the study, although PEAS schools take in much less advantaged students in terms of prior learning attainment, they effectively levelled the playing field by bringing up average attainment to the same level as more advantaged and higher achieving students in government and private schools.  

It was, for instance, discovered that while government and private schools were admitting pupils with less than 28 aggregates, PEAS schools admitted those with 30 aggregates.  

  “During data collection, the survey teams worked alongside the Uganda National Examinations Board’s staff who administered standardized tests in English and Mathematics to 25 randomly selected students in each of S1, S2 and S3 in each of the schools surveyed. The results indicate that PEAS schools performed as well as other schools (government and private schools),” reads in part, the brief.       

The study discovered that the main pathways for quality improvement were school inspection, functionality of parents-teachers’ associations, effectiveness of child protection policies, and teacher motivation through timely pay and in-service training, among others.  

Dr Mwesigye says involving parents as key stakeholders in schools has been overlooked by government. This, he says make the parents lose a sense of responsibility and ownership.    

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