National

Universal Primary Education intake to hit 20 million

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By PATIENCE AHIMBISIBWE & AL-MAHDI SSENKABIRW

Posted  Tuesday, December 24  2013 at  02:00

In Summary

Key blockade. According to government, enrollment will by 2025 hit 21 million, however, challenges of funding remain a stumbling block in the achievement of quality education.

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KAMPALA- The government has projected primary school enrollment to hit the 21 million mark by 2025 due to the implementation of Universal Primary Education.

However, technocrats in the ministry of Education warn that if new sources of funding for UPE are not devised early, the projected surge in enrollment would become a burden to government in the next 12 years.

Dr Yusuf Nsubuga, the ministry’s director Basic Education said focus must be put on human resource with an increase in teacher numbers.

“The issue is that although the education system is performing poorly it will have to accommodate 20.6 million children by 2025,” he said.

“This, he said implies that doubling the current number of teachers is key to achieving improved education.”

By 1997, the year UPE was rolled out; enrollment stood at 2.3m children, however it has grown to 8.5m, according to ministry of Education.

Dr Rose Nassali Lukwago, the permanent secretary, said the ministry has budget constraints and in the last two years there have been key priority areas that needed more funding but money was not available.
She said the share of the education sector as a proportion of the national budget continues to decline, dropping from 16.9 per cent in 2010 to 14.6 per cent in 2012/13 financial year.

“Rapid population growth estimated at 3.5 per cent has put pressure on resources,” Dr Lukwago said.
Thus, the government should invest more in recruiting teachers and construction of classrooms to accommodate the high enrollment.

It is estimated that on average between 12,600 and 16,370 new teachers shall be required per annum for primary schools while at least 5,135 shall be needed for secondary schools.
According to Dr Nsubuga, although expenditure has been increasing in real terms, it continues to drop when compared to the share of GDP.

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