Govt on track to overhaul entire education system

Pupils of Primary One in Oseera Primary School, Ongino Sub-county in Kumi District after the reopening of schools on January 10. PHOTO/SIMON PETER EMWAMU

What you need to know:

  • The public will participate in the process of assessing the education system.

Government through the Ministry of Education has started overhauling the entire education system as it looks to replace outdated policies that were formulated in 1992.

Some of the key changes being considered include reviewing  policies on curriculum, assessment, teaching, regulation of private schools, and placement of learners, among others.

Addressing journalists at the Uganda Media Centre yesterday, the Secretary to the Education Policy Review Commission (EPRC), Mr Brighton Barugahare, said the public would participate in the process.

The World Bank in 2018 asked the Ministry of Education to abolish the Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) on the grounds that up to $82m (Shs306.4b) is lost in what they called “unproductive education.” 

Mr Barugahare said they would investigate and analyse the relevance of all the examinations administered to students in school, including the end of cycle exams conducted by the Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb).

“There is a growing public outcry over learners being subjected to a series of exams and tests, including pre-registration exams,” Mr Barugahare said, adding: “The schools are after results and students who do not post the desired results are transferred to other centres. This has led to a mismatch between results produced and the holder of the results.”

Replacing PLE?
Mr Barugahare said: “The public will determine whether we abolish some of these exams, including PLE…[and] suggest other alternatives.” 

The Ministry of Education spokesperson, Dr Denis Mugimba, confirmed that the Education Policy Review Commission starts the exercise today until February 28. 

A report will later be handed over to the Education minister, Ms Janet Museveni, who will present it to the Cabinet, and—once approved—it will become the Government White Paper on Education. 

The new white paper will govern all education institutions from lower primary to the tertiary level.

“As the Ministry, we cannot abolish something based on the directives. We need to bring the people on board to tell us what is relevant and what is irrelevant,” Dr Mugimba said.

The Ministry of Education is also slated to review the placement and admission of learners at both secondary and tertiary level. 

Dr Mugimba said there has been a public outcry that government is currently giving university scholarships to students from rich families. 

He added that the placement at secondary level has also become corrupt, with some top traditional schools opting not to take students on merit in preference for those who have paid some money.

“You find a school saying they are admitting only senior students with Aggregate 4, but after four years you establish that the same schools admitted learners with Aggregate 12. We must come up with policies to change these,” Dr Mugimba said.

The Ministry of Education is also slated to come up with policies to regulate school fees in all government and private schools.

Private schools have on several occasions clashed with the ministry over fees increment.
“Some schools are stubborn. They have always said there are no policies to regulate school fees in private schools, yet there are laws that require the ministry to regulate all schools in the country, ” Mr Barugahare said.

The ministry will also launch an inquest into the need and readiness to adopt open and distance learning.  Topmost will be exclusion from entry in the education system, adequacy and effectiveness of the policies governing teachers and teacher education, among others.

Background

The Education minister in 2021 constituted the Education Policy Review Commission to inquire into the effectiveness and relevance of education policy to achieve the education needs. 

The Commission was supposed to start its work, but hit the pause button as it awaited for the economy to be fully reopened.

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