By Joyce Namutebi and Cyprian Musoke
The quality of education in the country has not been equal, with schools in urban centres performing better than those in rural areas, the Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi has said.
He was responding to questions raised by MPs during the Prime Minister’s question time on Wednesday.
Mbabazi attributed the better performance in urban areas to more teachers and more facilities.
“What government has been doing is to try and achieve some level of equalization is to invest in some rural schools in terms of infrastructure and renumeration of teachers,” he said.
He noted that especially in secondary schools in areas where there is the rural electrification, there is a comprehensive programme of distributing as many computers as possible so that children in the rural areas have as much access to information as they can.
MP Lyndah Timbigamba (Kyenkojo) had asked the premier to state Government’s way forward in improving rural schools.
On the concern by Monicah Amoding (youth) that Uganda’s graduates are not only irrelevant to themselves, but to also to the communities, the country and the global market, Mbabazi pointed out that this was a critical question that the government has been addressing over and over again.
“The education we have is a continuation of colonial education we had inherited.” He noted that because of the problems of mismatch between output of the education system and labour demands, the government had embraced change in the direction of education. “We have resolved that our education must conform to demands of the economy,” the premier said.
In December 2012, Mbabazi noted that the government launched a programme of skilling Uganda aimed at changing the orientation of the education and the attitudes of students so that imparting of skills is emphasised.
He explained why the government was suspending funding to private schools partnering with it to implement universal secondary education.
Government, Mbabazi said, has been spending sh53b every year to the private schools in order for them to run the programme, but it would be added on to the budget to build “seed schools.” The withdrawal of funding would be done in a phased manner in a period of five years, he explained. “Each year, we will be withdrawing from this arrangement.”
The premier also answered questions on clearing of Kinawataka, Ntinda and Kyambogo swamps, fake goods infiltrating the market, election of LCs and alternative sources of livelihood to the youth in Karamoja, among others.
Mbabazi said they were set to hold meetings with the Ministries of water and health to ensure that hospitals are supplied constantly with water.