Trace,  help 49% school dropouts, says Kadaga

Pupils attend a lesson in a makeshift classroom at Bumadibira Primary School in Bunywafa Sub-county, Sironko District on June 15, 2019. In Pallisa, majority of children do not complete the primary education cycle. PHOTO | MICHEAL WONIALA

What you need to know:

  • Ms Frances Atima, the director of  the Education Standards Directorate in the Ministry of Education and Sports, said although the UPE pillars for access and equity had been realised, quality was still a challenge.

The First Deputy Prime Minister, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, has tasked actors in the education sector to trace, support, and train nearly half of the learners who drop out of school.

Ms Kadaga, who represented Vice President Jessica Alupo at the opening of a two-day policy education dialogue at the Office of the President last Thursday, expressed shock at the chronic school dropout rate, especially among learners under the Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme.

“It is a known fact that the enrollment rate at the primary level is 91 percent and completion is 51 percent, what happens to the 49 percent? What are the plans for them so that they are not wasted? I want to hear the proposals?” she wondered.
 
“Education is a human right, but who is ensuring it is right? I want you to think about it. You should join the struggle because education is a shared responsibility,” she added.

She said if the dropouts were skilled or re-enrolled for formal education, they would lead a more productive life and contribute to economic development of the country.

Ms Kadaga, who is also the minister for East African Affairs, was concerned about the swelling number of refugees on the African continent.

“What is embarrassing is that in 1953, there were only 100 refugees on the African content and now we have six million. That is why security is important. Not only in Uganda but also in other African states,” she said.

In a speech read by Ms Kadaga, Ms Alupo said over the years, the government has continued to emphasise commitment to education through programmes such as national outreach to citizens, UPE, and the student loan schemes.

Mr Samuel Kasule, a senior planner-in-charge of education and skills development at the National Planning Authority (NPA), said 41 percent of the youth in Uganda are neither in school nor employed.

Mr David Mwebaza, the head of Unicef, said parental involvement, abolition of corporal punishment, child labour, early marriage, and making education affordable are some of the interventions needed to keep children in school.

Mr Mwebaza also said investing in teacher training and motivation, improving access to high-quality teaching materials and resources, and redefining the content taught are urgently needed.

Ms Frances Atima, the director of  the Education Standards Directorate in the Ministry of Education and Sports, said although the UPE pillars for access and equity had been realised, quality was still a challenge.