KAMPALA: Government has backtracked on its earlier pledge to provide sanitary pads to school going girls so that they do no run out of school when their menstrual periods start.
While appearing before the Parliament’s Education Committee on Tuesday, Ms Janet Museveni the education minister revealed that this is not possible because the ministry does not have money to cater for the pledge.
“I want you all to understand that we have not got the funding for this in our budget yet,” she told the MPs on the committee.
Ms Museveni informed the MPs that, “we [government] were hoping that if we can get the funds, we could do part of it.”
The legislators, however, expressed displeasure during the four hour meeting on what they called the government tendency to under fund the education sector.
While campaigning in Lango sub region in 2015, President Museveni promised that if elected back into power, his government would provide school going girls with sanitary pads.
“So that the girls do not run out of school because they are embarrassed by their periods when they do not have pads,” the president said then.
The promise was supposed to be effected in the 2017/2018 financial year budget in which the sector has been allocated Shs2.8trillion.
The huge chunk of the money, government says, is going towards the wages of the teachers and other staff across the country.
The MPs also raised concerns over hiking fees and school dues this term saying that it is going to develop social groups in the country, where there is a class that affords the best schools and those who go to other schools.
In response, Mr Alex Kakooza, the Ministry’s permanent secretary, said they do not encourage increment of fees and are planning to issue those guidelines again.
“But also to ensure that we monitor the fees which are charged,” Mr Kakooza noted.
Never the less, the ministry had Okayed secondary schools to increase school fees to meet the rising cost of living, but warning that the increase should “be within the limit” although it didn’t state the minimum or maximum fees to be charged saying this will depend on individual institutions.