Ugandan legislators sitting on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) want the country’s Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme to be reviewed with some suggesting that it be abolished over what they termed ‘it’s deteriorating standards.’
In 1997, the government of Uganda led by President Yoweri Museveni rolled out the Universal Primary Education programme that aimed at ensuring free access to education for it’s citizens. However, 16 years down the road, some legislators feel the programme should be abolished.
While responding to the issues raised in the value for money audit report on the management of the capitation grant under UPE, the MPs told the ministry of education officials that the programme must be reviewed if it is to achieve its intended objective.
PAC members were Thursday concerned that the capitation grant money given to schools under UPE programme arrives late at the schools and that it is too little.
Serere Woman MP Alice Alaso suggested that the ministry of Education writes a proposal to government to abolish the programme. She asked the ministry and government how they expect a child to survive with 2,300 shillings a month.
According to officials from the ministry, each school is entitled to 150,000 per month, which is 7,000 per pupil per annum and 2,300 per pupil per term.
The budget officer in the ministry, Gordon Mukasa, said government has this financial year 2013/2014 allocated 49 billion shillings for seven million pupils.
The ministry’s permanent secretary Doreen Katusiime told the committee that the policy has been like that for the last 15 years and that their efforts to have the money increased have been in vain.
The MPs said the programme has weakened the entire education and warn that if a thorough review is not done the country will have illiterates who went to school.
The commissioner for basic education, Daniel Nkaada informed the committee that he has suggested a number of review plans and figures.
At its inception in 1997, the UPE programme was seen as key in eliminating illiteracy in the country. In its first three years, the number of pupils in school had jumped from about two million to seven million.