President Museveni has said government will scrap off the Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme if it is established that the general standards of living in the country have improved and many people can afford to pay for their children’s education.
Appearing on Radio Open Gate FM in Mbale Town on Tuesday, the President said UPE was introduced to benefit children from poor families but that now many Ugandans have become rich and don’t need free education.
“I was in Tororo on Monday and some people told me they can afford to eat pork in clubs and this implies they have the money,” Museveni said.
However, he said will only scrap off the programme when local leaders and other stakeholders carry out a study and establish how many homesteads can afford to pay fees.
“I call upon all the NRM people to study this issue seriously if we are to change the policy because without proper facts, we shall be considered oppressive,” he said, adding that the money allocated to the programme can be channeled to other government projects that require urgent funding.
UPE was introduced in 1997 as a policy tool for achieving poverty reduction and human development but it has been criticized for producing pupils who cannot read and write.
However, the President said the pupil enrollment has increased from 2.5 million in 1996 to 8.5 million of pupils today, accusing some people of working to frustrate the programme by reinstating charges in schools.
The President, who was in the region to sensitise people on the proposed Land Amendment Bill, assured the people of Bugisu and the surrounding districts that government has no-ill intentions of grabbing their land.
“It’s this same government that returned land to the people and cannot again turn around. This is totally false allegations,” he said.
He also blamed the slow growth of the economy on the Opposition, whom he accused of diverting government.