New districts affecting free education

Thursday April 22 2010

By Patience Ahimbisibwe & Al-Mahdi Senkabirwa

The creation of many districts is disrupting implementation of universal education, the investigating team into the mismanagement of free education programmes heard yesterday.

Appearing before the committee on its second day of hearings, the acting Commissioner for Secondary Education, Mr Francis Agula, said rapid multiplications of districts affects implementation of the education work plan.

“The number of sub-counties is increasing annually as districts multiply. Our work plan has been distorted and we don’t know whether we shall meet the target,” Mr Agula told the commission.
Mr Agula said when universal education was introduced in 2007, the ministry’s plan was to construct government aided secondary schools in 66 sub-counties where they were non-existent but the number of districts have since multiplied with the sub-counties requiring a redrawing of the plan.

President Museveni appointed the commission last year to review performance of the Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE) programmes and explore reports of massive corruption.

On Tuesday, the five-member team directed the permanent secretary in the Education Ministry, Mr Francis Lubanga, to avail it with documentation pertaining to the programmes.

Justice Ezekiel Muhanguzi chairs the commission. Other members on the commission include; Dr Nassali Lukwago (Deputy Chairperson), Ms Ketrah Katunguka (Secretary ), Mr Lawrence Mukiibi and Mr Patrick Batumbya.

The formation of the commission came after numerous complaints that unchecked graft had crippled the delivery of quality education in the country especially at the lower levels.

According to its terms of reference, the commission has six months to compile and submit a report to the president. Over 7.5 million pupils are currently studying under the Universal Primary Education programme while 579,734 students are under the Universal Secondary Education programme in 1,471 government aided and private secondary schools.

Under USE, Shs47, 000 is paid per child per term in privately owned USE implanting schools while those in government aided schools are allocated Shs41, 000 per student per term.