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Government to review students’ capitation grant

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By  MERCY NALUGO

Posted  Friday, August 22  2014 at  01:00

In Summary

Government pays Shs7,560 but this has reduced to Shs6,800 as per the 2014/2015 ministerial statement proposed.

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Parliament- Government is considering reviewing the students’ capitation grant rates with a view of revising them upwards in the next financial year, the State Minister for Investments has said
.Mr Ajedra told MPs yesterday that the government has no money to revise the rates up to the suggested Shs10,000 for Universal Primary Education programme (UPE) but would look for internal budget reallocations or bring to Parliament a supplementary budget to ensure that the Shs7000 is maintained.

The UPE capitation grant is channelled to schools through local governments and it is meant for the provision of extra instructional or scholastic materials.

It also meets costs for co-curricular activities, and school administration activities among other expenses incurred by the schools.

Government pays Shs7,560 but this has reduced to Shs6,800 as per the 2014/2015 ministerial statement proposed. The reduction is, however, as a result of government’s failure to increase the money to match the increasing number of students enrolled per year and inflation.

“The increasing number of students and the inflation has caused the amount to go down since the Ministry of Finance allocations to the (Education) ministry remained the same.

But we have agreed to look into the matter by looking at the internal reallocations or bringing to Parliament a supplementary budget so that it is maintained at Shs7,000,” said State Minister for Primary Education Kamanda Bataringaya.
He said the Shs10,000 shall be implemented in the next financial year.

The Initiative for Social and Economic Rights, a human rights organization, together with Kalungu West MP Joseph Ssewungu Gonzanga early this year sued the government, seeking to stop the proposed reduction of UPE fund, reasoning that reducing the grant would have negative impact on the quality and standards of education in UPE schools.

They said the budget cuts would further worsen the phenomenon of schools asking for development funds from the pupils, which is currently making a significant contribution to the school dropout rates.

This comes at a time when a number of school heads and other stakeholders have been asking government to increase its contribution for government supported students under the free education for all programme.

While the ministry of Education has asked for an extra Shs19 billion to effect the increment in this financial year’s ministerial statement, it is classified by the ministry of Finance under the unfunded priorities with an explanation that there has been an increment in enrollment.

mnalugo@ug.nationmedia.com