The Daily Monitor of March 12 reported that the Ministry of Education and Sports together with Uganda Bureau of Statistics (Ubos) have flagged off a team of 311 researchers to compile a master list of education institutions countrywide. The researchers target all institutions at all levels of education and their work ends in April.
This is indeed a desirable step taken in the interest with the aim of ascertaining an authentic list/data that will go a long way in strengthening our education system. It is true that without a proper data, it is difficult to plan or even to review the existing framework for the betterment of the sector. However, the education sector has engaged a new gear.
The rollout of this team raises more questions than answers. For instance, has the Ministry of Education and Sports all along been operating without a valuable list/data of learning institutions in the country? But most importantly, why should it take deploying 311 researchers countrywide to draw this list? Where, for instance, are the ministry’s departments, agencies as well as local government authorities in all this?
Given the necessity to reduce public spending in Uganda where government officials never tire of telling citizens that the national resource envelop is still small, couldn’t this master list have been drawn by the ministry’s officials themselves.
Talk of inspectors/supervisers of learning institutions at all levels, district education officers and school heads. Isn’t deploying a fresh team merely duplication of the work of these officials. Alternatively why doesn’t the ministry demand that such a list from district chairpersons, RDCs, CAOs, and LC3 chairpersons, among others? Are all these officials sleeping on the job?
We believe that for every learning institution to be established, they should first acquire a licence and those without are not allowed to operate. Can’t the ministry draw a list of learning institutions from the licensing bodies?
Besides, one expects that a ministry blessed to have a minister, a state minister for Higher Education, and state minister for Primary Education, collecting and compiling such a data would have been easier and less costly when segmented accordingly.
Nevertheless, let the researchers come up with a master list. With it, we hope that the era of substandard and makeshift structures passing for classes as well as illegally established learning institutions, all of which are challenges in the education sector, will be history.
But most importantly, this latest drive should also help to reawaken the ministry’s officials from their slumber so that they can start work to improve the education sector.