One inspector oversees 148 schools, says Auditor General

Auditor General John Muwanga. The Directorate of Education Standards (DES) has only 54 inspectors to run around 8,000 schools across the country to ensure they stick to the set education standards. Photo | File

What you need to know:

  • Mr Muwanga says this trend will worsen since the Directorate of Education Standards is underfunded and the numbers of schools keep growing. 

The Directorate of Education Standards (DES) has only 54 inspectors to run around 8,000 schools across the country to ensure they stick to the set education standards.

A three-year value-for-money audit by the Auditor General, Mr John Muwanga, shows that only one inspector oversees up to 148 schools. Mr Muwanga warned that this trend would worsen since the directorate is underfunded and yet the numbers of schools keep growing every year.

The report says in 2019/2020, a total of 4,000 schools were inspected by 46 inspectors, meaning one inspector ran around up to 87 schools. In 2020/2021, the number of schools inspected increased to 5,000, with only 56 inspectors deployed. 

But in 2021/2022, the number of schools inspected shot up to 8,000 with only 54 inspectors deployed. This implies one inspector ran around 148 schools.

This publication was unable to get comments from the Education and Sports ministry officials on the report. Our phone calls and text messages to the ministry officials were not responded to by press time.

But a top official from DES, who asked not to be named to speak freely, said the government is closing the gaps highlighted by Mr Muwanga’s report.

“For primary, the gaps have been minimised and as I speak the local governments are still recruiting inspectors and we aim at reducing the ratio to 1:40. It is only at national level where we are still grappling with a big inspector-school gap,” the official said.

“Ideally, we need to inspect each post-primary school at least once in a year but fail due to funding shortage but once we get the funds we shall be able to effectively recruit and carry out effective schools’ inspection,” the official added.

But Mr Muwanga, in his report, said: “Going by the ratios in the three years [under review], if full inspections were to be undertaken as expected, [the ratios] would actually be 1:174 for FY 2019/2020, 1:179 for FY 2020/2021 and 1:296 for FY2021/2022. This demonstrates the magnitude of the staffing challenge at the Directorate.”

He said the audit sampled and analysed 62 schools from 15 Local Governments during the three-year period under review. 

 Mr Muwanga said some schools were not inspected every year as expected.

“Further analysis revealed that two of the sampled schools, namely Buikwe Secondary School [in Buikwe District], and Seeta Hill College [in Mukono District], were never inspected in any of the three financial years under study,” the report said.

“The failure to inspect all schools, as expected, leads to schools dropping their guard in ensuring the maintenance of educational standards, guaranteeing student wellbeing, promotion of equity, provision of professional student development opportunities and enhancement of accountability,” Mr Muwanga said.

The low staffing gap, he said has also affected the directorate in other areas, including the composition of inspection teams, subject specialist inspectors, training of inspectors, and use of Associate Assessors (AAs) and district inspectors.

Time allocated to Inspections

Although the 2019 DES Inspection Handbook requires school inspections to take at least a full day and by two inspectors, the report says this was not done in the period under review.

“[This] audit analysed inspection durations in the 60 schools, where a total of 384 inspection sessions were conducted by Inspectors and noted four head teachers were not aware how long the 10 inspection sessions that were undertaken in their respective schools lasted, given that they had just been posted/transferred to these schools and lacked the required information,” he said.

“From the remaining 56 schools, where 374 school inspection sessions were conducted, none of the inspections lasted 8 hours,” he added.

Mr Muwanga said nine of the schools had inspection sessions lasting between five and eight hours, which was at least closer to the expected target of eight hours per session. He said, “For all the remaining 47 schools (84 percent), the inspections lasted less than five hours.”

Inspection duration

Mr Muwanga said because of the short time allocated to school inspections, the inspectors concentrated more on assessing administrative duties, as opposed to the methods and practices of teaching. He said the latter was deemed to be time-consuming and requiring more effort during inspections.

He said, “The inspection reports will be lacking recommendations geared towards the improvement of student engagement and motivation, meeting diverse learning needs, developing critical thinking skills, building supportive learning environment and promoting lifelong learning for impactful and meaningful learning experiences that empower pupils to reach their full potential.”


During the period under review, Mr Muwanga said DES was not only underfunded but also received only 85 percent of its allocated total budget.

In FY2019, DES received Shs6.91b out of the allocated Shs6.92b. The trend continued in the FY2020/2021 when they received Shs6.8b of the allocated Shs8.2b. This worsened in the FY2021/2022 when the government released only Shs5.8b of the approved Shs7.9b.

This implies DES received only Shs19.6b of the Shs23b approved in the three-year period.

“This funding was for supervision of secondary schools, BTVET institutions, teacher education institutions, monitoring of local governments, including financing operations of the four regional offices,” Mr Muwanga said.

He said while the budget for the Ministry of Education and Sports has been increasing, that DES has been decreasing annually.

The Ministry of Education and Sports spent Shs305b in FY2019/2020 while DES spent Shs6.91b. Similarly, the ministry’s budget expenditure increased to Shs331.9b in FY2020/21 that of DES dropped to Shs6.8b. The ministry’s budget again shot up to Shs403b in FY2021/2022 while that of DES further reduced to Shs5.8b.

Mr Muwanga warned, “Inadequacies in school inspections, demonstrated in the non-frequent inspections, inadequate time allocated to inspection sessions and inadequate number of full inspections undertaken is bound to hamper continuous improvement in teaching methods and content delivery, which are critical in effective learning.”

 He said: “Although the government has made strides in facilitating the school inspection process to improve access, quality, and relevance of education, the lack of Inspection Policy and Strategy, failure to undertake proper annual planning, inadequacies in inspections, failure to adequately disseminate inspection reports to stakeholders, failure to enforce the implementation of inspection recommendations, and the failure to undertake impact assessment may reverse the gains the country has achieved in education.”