Namayanja: UPE Will Boost Primary Education

more about sans-serif; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>It is core to the development of knowledge appreciation and mental development of pupils, stomach directing their over-all aptitude and outlook.

Ultimately, primary education represents part of the essential foundation that defines what recipients turn out to be later in life.

Accordingly, primary education remains a central component to the broader, priority education sector.

Government’s investment in primary education is targeted towards expanding access but also enhancing quality of the service delivered in schools around the country.

Under the Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme, Uganda has registered tremendous progress towards achieving the target of particularly universalising basic education.

While the attaining the ideal status of primary education is a work in progress, the indices point towards consistent improvement.

For instance, regarding enrolment, the primary level registered a 4.4% increase in enrolment from 8,098,177in 2011 to 8,459,339 in 2012.

Of these pupils, 4,039,734 were boys while were 4,058,443 girls.

Since education is vital for human resource development, Government is also sensitive to gender parity from primary level.

Thus, in Financial Year 2012/13 for instance, a total of 8,098,177 (4,219,326 boys; 4,240,010 girls) were enrolled in primary schools, with boys representing 49.9% and girls 50.1%.

Specific efforts have also been directed towards maintaining manageable pupil numbers in classrooms.

The objective is to ensure that available space is utilised to capacity, but also deal with crowding which remains a challenge in some public schools.

The Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) has been reporting that on average, the pupil-classroom ratio declined from 68:1 in 2012 to 65:1 in 2013 among government aided primary schools.

To build the capacity of teachers, MoES conducted continuous professional development for 220,327 primary teachers in Financial Year, 2012/2013. 2,400 teachers and head teachers in 430 schools were trained in early grade reading methods.

The Ministry also trained 267 head teachers and 410 care-givers in pedagogical leadership.

Other efforts have been towards improving training teachers and instructors, for instance developing necessary school infrastructure.

This includes construction of libraries, classrooms, dormitories, tutor houses and other facilities at various primary teachers colleges.

Specifically, the Government constructed tutors houses, classroom blocks, office blocks, libraries and laboratories in different primary Teachers Colleges like Nkokonjeru, Ngora, St. George, Ibanda, Kabala, Bukinda, Lodongo, Rukungiri, Bundibugyo, Busikho and Kabwangasi.

Elsewhere, reconstruction and refurbishment of facilities at National Teachers Colleges like Kabala and Mubende was completed, in partnership with the World Bank. Others like Kaliro, Muni National Teachers’ Colleges (NTCs) and Abilonino Instructors’ Colleges were reconstructed and refurbished with support from Belgian Technical Co-operation.

In northern Uganda, Unyama NTC was reconstructed and refurbished under a partnership with the Islamic Development Bank.

For school infrastructure, classrooms and dormitory blocks, kitchens, tutors houses, libraries have been constructed at various Primary Teachers Colleges.

Beneficiaries include Butiti PTC, Paidha PTC, Kiyoora PTC , Nkokonjeru PTC, Kisoro PTC, and at Shimoni Demonstration School.

Relatedly, the number of qualified teachers increased by 2.3% from 129,694(2011) to 132,656 in (2013).

Significant work has also been done, regarding construction and rehabilitation of primary schools.

Again, in FY 2012/13, school infrastructure was built in 10 primary schools in a number of districts.

The primary schools include Bukasa New Model, Wakiso, Seta Church of Uganda, Mukono, St John and Chrisostom Kakoola, Sembabule, St. Thomas Bazadde, Wakiso, Kalubbubu, Luwero, Nakikungube, Wakiso, and Nabalanga in Mukono.

The above interventions contributed to an improvement in Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) pass rate over this period.

It improved by 2% from 86.4% (88% male; 85% female) in 2011 to 88.4% (90% male; 86.8% female) in 2012.

Separately, the Government continues to review the curriculum for primary education, to maintain content that is adjusted to the changing needs of the country and around the globe.

The Revised Primary Teacher Education (PTE) curriculum was rolled out and 1,217 tutors were oriented in its use.

The curriculum includes professional education studies (foundations of teacher education, special needs education, general methods) and traditional disciplines (English language education, social studies education, integrated science education, mathematics education).

It also encompasses cultural disciplines (performing arts, physical and sports education) and the newly introduced disciplines (Kiswahili education, local language education, agricultural education issues of early childhood development).

Government continues to creatively work around challenges in the primary education for instance absenteeism among teachers, head teachers and pupils.

Cases of shortages of classrooms and sanitation facilities resulting from rapid expansion of enrolment is another issue being sorted out, as is incidences of dropout of particularly girl-children.

There is also the regional divide in participation in primary education among social groups and districts.

With Government set to further increase funding to the education sector in the next Financial Years, addressing these remaining constraints to primary educations will be some of the priority considerations.

Other priorities will be instructions materials, recruitment/better remuneration of teachers, provision of housing for teachers and enhancement for school inspection at district levels.

These are the penultimate interventions poised to propel Uganda’s primary education to the ideal we want for our children.

Government invites all stakeholders to come along!


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