Opinion
Guard children’s education right
Publish Date: Jun 18, 2014
newvision
  • mail
  • img

By Justine Nakiwala  
 
Uganda joined the rest of the world on June 16, to commemorate the Day of African Child under the theme “A child friendly, quality, free and compulsory education for all children in Uganda”
 
Beyond the commemoration, the Day of African Child seeks to draw the attention of all actors involved in ensuring that children enjoy their rights; Governments, international institutions, CSOs and communities to reflect on the prevailing situation of children in line with the theme and to design interventions that could alleviate the looming challenges still facing children in education.
 
The African Children’s Charter, the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, the Children’s Act; 2000, among others, recognise the right to education for all children and call upon stakeholders to ensure the fulfillment of this right.   Education for children should not only be free and compulsory but also child-friendly.
 
Uganda has remarkably registered success in its efforts towards realising children’s right to education by putting in place a number of interventions including the legal and policy frameworks, plans and programmes, among others. 
 
Pre-primary education is recognised in the Education Act of 2007, as the first level of Education in Uganda under four programmes; day care centres, home-based centres, community centres and nursery schools, however, more than 90% children are not accessing this vital education level.
 
The greatest achievement of this year’s celebrations is the launch of the Uganda Child Helpline (116) under the brand icon “Sauti. This toll free line will link affected children in need of care and protection, to services and resources including but not limited to counseling, rescue, health and Justice Services.
 
This helpline comes at a time when there is rampant child abuse in society ranging from rape, defilement, sexual harassment and bodily harm.
 
Evidently, Uganda has made strides in the education sector particularly in UPE and USE Programmes. However, there are other core aspects of the right to education that need to be addressed ranging from structural, environmental, teacher or children related factors.
 
The programmes are still characterised by high grade repetition rates, poor completion rates and high drop-out rates, caused by, among others; long distances to schools for small children particularly in rural areas and lack of clear guidelines to school feeding.
 
Others include cultural and traditional practices, negative attitudes towards education especially from the parents, planting and harvesting seasons, ignorance and acute poverty. 
 
Education laws emphasise community participation in school governance yet head teachers remain main decision-makers. It is not surprising that parents and learners view education as the sole responsibility of the Government and have minimal participation in  school budgets, policies, management and monitoring processes. 
 
As we commemorate the Day of African Child, focus on the right to education for children in Uganda is, therefore, timely.
 
Improving the quality of education should be embraced as a collective responsibility by all stakeholders, if children are to enjoy this right. Meaningful participation of teachers, parents and children should be emphasised so that they are accountable to uplifting education standards in school systems.
 
This will ultimately help them appreciate individual roles, change of attitude and increase knowledge and practices related to issues pertaining to education. 
 
Approaches like Plan Uganda’s Participatory and School Governance for Children has revealed that the quality of education could significantly be improved, if there is collective responsibility of key stakeholders.
 
With this system, school administration issues cease to be a responsibility of a few individuals. Everyone becomes accountable towards achieving a common goal.
 
Education for vulnerable groups of children, those with disabilities, the girl child especially in poverty stricken homesteads, those trapped in emergencies and children in nomadic communities should be emphasised.
 
Barriers that hinder access to education in these communities like scholastic materials, cultural beliefs and traditions should be addressed.
 
 In line with the African Union Decade, gender inequality issues should be tackled in schools and communities to achieve girls’ and women’s empowerment throughout the education system. 
 
As we commemorate the Day of African Child, let us all ensure that children regardless of sex, age, and race enjoy friendly, quality education. This will only be possible, if we all play our individual roles.
 
The writer is a communications specialist 
 
RELATED STORIES
 

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Poverty and greed: the major culprits of environmental degradation
Our standards of living are based on inexpensive energy in the form of electricity and gasoline powering automobiles that are the major contributors to environmental problems in the world today, but let us not forget that earlier in history; automobiles were actually heralded for solving a distinct...
Climate change: The Impossible deal
For “shall”, substitute “may”. For example, change “countries signing this climate change treaty SHALL state how much they are going to cut their greenhouse emissions” to “countries signing this climate change treaty MAY state how much they are going to cut their emissions if they feel like it, but...
Who really cares about the Ugandan girl?
The UCE and UACE 2014 public examinations are now done with and the other classes are at home for Term Three holidays. The students from the secondary schools especially have flooded our localities. Most conspicuous of them will be the girls; but who cares?...
A delegate conference is not a pilgrimage
At the last NRM delegate’s conference held at Namboole, the National Executive tabled a motion regarding the period at which the holding of a delegate’s conference should be....
Corruption: they that are not corrupt can hurl the stones
So the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index ranks Uganda 142nd out of 175 countries, according to Transparency International. Based on expert opinion, Transparency International says our level of public sector dishonesty is 26 out of 100. Denmark is the most transparent with a score of 92/100 while So...
The evil of deforestation
Africa is facing very many problems but few have been solved. One of the major ones is environmental degradation through deforestation. Deforestation is having a big impact on the environment....
Do you agree with the ban on the export of maids?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter