Increasing number of children joining school every year with a constant budget, is making it hard for the Education ministry to provide services. For example, enrolment increased by 0.6 per cent from 8,337,069 in 2012 to 8,390,674 in 2013.
Secondary sub-sector intake also increased by 0.5 per cent, up from 1,251,507 in 2012 to 1,257,378 in 2013.
Statistics indicate that in the 2013/14 financial year, the ministry operated at a Shs14.3 billion shortfall. At least Shs50.119 billion was spent on capitation grants for Universal Primary Education (UPE), Shs122 billion for Universal Secondary Education (USE) while salaries took Shs619.68 billion.
Experts predict the FY 2014/15 capitation grant for both UPE and USE programmes will not change much as the ministry requires Shs79 billion to run through up to next budget as they have already spent all they were given in February. Another Shs14.5 billion shortfall is expected in the 2014/15 FY because the numbers have gone up.
According to the budget frame work paper 2014/15, Shs1.7 trillion will be set aside for the Education ministry down from this year’s Shs1.76 trillion.
Mr Derrick Namisi, an economist in the planning and policy analysis department Ministry of Education, said their budget has remained constant for the last two years, leaving many departments struggling to utilise the meager resources given to them. “Our budget has been held constant for two consecutive years except for target areas. There is nothing much that will change in the next budget because the tax base has not increased,” Mr Namisi said in an interview.
Ms Margaret Rwabushaija, the Uganda National Teachers’ Union chairperson, said the Shs7,000 allocated to each pupil per term in schools implementing UPE can no longer buy teaching materials because of inflation, adding that they expected government to increase it to Shs10,000.
On the teachers’ salary increment, Ms Rwabushaija warned government not to backtrack on their earlier pledge, saying they agreed that their salaries will be increased by 25 per cent.
“I hope government doesn’t let us down again. If it is not there, we shall call stakeholders so that we speak the language the country understands well,” Ms Rwabushaija said.
Last year, the teachers went on strike because of government’s unfulfilled salary promises. Ms Rwabushaija added that in the budget planning meeting, they were told that Shs461 billion has been allocated for civil servants’ salary increment and of this, teachers’ will get Shs260 billion.
The budget framework already shows an additional Shs2.38billion to last year’s Shs962.3 billion.
But a senior budget planning official in the ministry, who requested for anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter yesterday said that it was agreed on in one of the top management meetings that government increases salaries for all civil servants by 4 per cent to avoid dividing them.
“An extra Shs120 billion was needed to increase teachers’ salaries alone. But government gave Shs200 billion to increase all public servants’ salaries. Donors have withdrawn their money. The tax base has not increased. There is no way you can increase salaries,” the source said.
STUDENT LOAN SCHEME, MINISTRY HEADQUARTERS AND OTHER PROJECTS
The student loan scheme will take off with Shs6 billion after the President launched it last month. Of this, Shs1billion will be for administrative purposes.
Under Skilling Uganda, a Shs119.755 billion fund will be given while universities which are understaffed will take Shs157.92 billion.
At least Shs2billion has been set aside to fund the high altitude training centre, which will kick off in 2015 but universities will continue to operate below 50 per cent staffing level as there was no vote for them.
Plans to construct the ministry’s headquarters’ in Kyambogo stalled as government could not find Shs10 billion in the next financial year opting it out. They will continue to rent in their various areas of Development House, Social Security Fund and Legacy House.
Due to budget cuts, there has been no increment in consumptive areas like travel abroad, inland and fuel. Projects at the centre, especially those funded by donor money suffered 11 per cent budget cut.
Basing on UPE results, the government gave 20 worst performing local governments, Shs272billion to each to construct four units of teachers’ houses.