Let’s fix gaps in UPE system first and fast
What you need to know:
- The issue: UPE schools system
- Our view: Are there localised arrangements that can be made to help change the situation on ground? UPE is a great initiative even though it must be well-oiled to produce the desired results and right now, it is creaking.
The Vice President Ms Jessica Alupo, has asked parents to shun taking any requirement for their children in schools under universal education ahead of school reopening next week.
Ms Alupo said even school uniforms should not be a stumbling block to taking these learners back to school since parents can get them later. She made these remarks during her visit to Mayuge District where she toured the government demonstration farm before launching a fundraising drive for the construction of St Joseph’s Catholic Church-Bukooba in Kityerera Sub County (‘Reject excessive requirements by govt schools, VP Alupo tells parents’, Daily Monitor, January 31)
While this sounds delightful, especially for parents for whom requirements are a stumbling block right now, delightful pronouncements with all the good intentions might not be enough to change what happens on the ground.
Even if they are not supposed to, UPE school administrators have many times been reported to be charging parents extra fees in what they say is a bid to fill the funding gaps within the UPE system.
Even cautions from the President have not been enough to scare them back in line. So who’s to say the Vice President’s call will be heeded to?
Parents, although they are key stakeholders, often fail miserably to influence decision making at schools perhaps because they are outnumbered or overpowered by the administrators, therefore, shunning taking any requirements might not work out as envisioned by the well-meaning vice president.
Government must be seen to be doing much more to help parents with children in UPE schools who suffer these extra charges.
Start by dealing with why the schools despite several warnings still insist on charging extra fees?
These funding gaps that some of the school administrators speak about, can they be fixed if not entirely at least to a reasonable extent?
Are there localised arrangements that can be made to help change the situation on ground? UPE is a great initiative even though it must be well-oiled to produce the desired results and right now, it is creaking.