Government could scrap the Universal Primary Education-UPE program, should the NRM’s National Delegate’s conference deem so.
In his speech to the Central Executive Committee meeting on Thursday last week, Museveni noted that in 1996, government introduced UPE after noticing that many children were staying out of school because they couldn’t afford the UGX 15,000 that was being charged annually at the time.
He explained that, government spends UGX 950 Billion annually on UPE, which includes wages, salaries and development so that, the children of the poor can study free.
Museveni however, noted that he still hears that children are being chased from school because they didn’t pay lunch money and wonders if this is not sabotage.
Museveni argues that, free education for the poor, some other actors say, purchased education even for the poor”.
He says, if NRM structures and members are convinced that that Ugandans can afford to pay these charges let a resolutions be passed, and advise government that Uganda families are now rich enough and can afford the school charges so that, the UPE money is switched to roads, electricity , railway and piped water.
The president tasked the party structures to study the trend and find out whether there is need to reverse the decision since many people can afford to pay the charges.
According to the annual sector review 2014 , eight million children are enrolled under UPE. The president’s utterances on UPE come at a time, when schools are grappling with inadequate government funding.
At the start of UPE government committed to contribute UGX 5000 for each pupil each term. However, the money has since dropped to UGX 5000 a year, which most school managers say is insufficient to fund their operations.
Despite the fact it is illegal to charge fees under UPE; several schools have been forced to introduce some fees to supplement the government disbursements, which usually come late.