By Innocent Anguyo
THE government will establish A'Level wings in 100 secondary schools across the country that are currently operating “O” level sections only.
Education Minister Jessica Alupo on Sunday told New Vision on phone that the schools will be upgraded in time to admit Senior Five students next year.
“By May next year, we shall get “A” level rolling in these 100 schools. We are yet to pick the schools but I can confirm that all of them will be public institutions,” Alupo stated.
A senior official in the education ministry who preferred anonymity however said schools with the essential infrastructure, personnel and logistical capacity stand higher chances of being selected since the ministry has a limited resource envelope.
Alupo said the move is aimed at increasing the capacity of government institutions to absorb the increasing number of students churned out by the Universal Secondary Education (USE).
She said that the education ministry has included funding for the elevation of the schools in its budget for the next financial year, though she could not reveal the amount committed to the process because she did not have it off-cuff.
The upgrade of the schools comes at a time when over 137,000 Senior Four leavers have not been admitted to Senior Five due to lack of capacity in the “A” level secondary schools countrywide.
Government-aided schools, Primary Teachers Colleges (PTC), Government Universal Post- Ordinary Level Education Training (UPOLET) schools, Private UPOLET Schools and Government-aided technical institutions can only admit a total of 124,334 students out of the 261,438 who passed in Division One to Four, according to Ministry of Education.
The elevation of the schools, Alupo said will enhance government’s efforts to use education for all as a yardstick to prepare the populace for take-off and attainment Vision 2040.
The strategic plan for USE in Uganda (2009-2018) reveals that the school age population (4-18) is expected to continue to grow at a rate of about 3.4% per year over the next decade.
As estimated in the strategic plan, the number of children reaching school is further expected to increase by 37% over the decade between 2009 and 2018.
Moreover, the Plan notes that these projections reflect the fact that half of the cohorts who reached age 12 by 2008/09 need to access secondary education, further putting pressure on government to expand the capacity of secondary education to absorb them.
The transition rate between primary seven and senior one is expected to rise from about 46.9% (2006) to 80% by 2018.
The rate of transition from Senior Four to Senior Five is also expected to rise to about 50% from 37% in 2006.