A lot has been said and little done since the debate on allocation of opportunities for government sponsorship kicked off in Parliament. The present unequal distribution of well equipped secondary schools equal to the task of preparing students to compete in Ugandaâ€™s examination-oriented education, especially at the O- and A-level.
Most of our population live in the countryside, meaning Kanungu, Kalangala, Kotido, Buhweju, Budadiri, Majanji and the like. The common feature of these remote parts of our country is poverty.
The parents there cannot afford to send their children to the schools in the category of Budo, Namilyango or even Mutolere! Even if these parents could afford to send their children to these schools would these first-world schools have the capacity to absorb the numbers? This leaves them the option of resorting to sub-standard schools usually started by private investors whose major motive may not be education but profit.
There you will find unqualified and un-motivated teachers, poor buildings, lacking functional libraries or laboratories and government taxes. This is the tragedy our rural parents face when they want their children to attend school. If any right-thinking planner in the Ministry of Education and Sports is reading, let him compare the bleak situation in the villages with the opulence and capacity that is in the urban schools of St Lawrence Citizens High School.
As a nation, we regard a person from every corner of the country to be equal and to stand equal chances .t hey ought to benefit equally from the countryâ€™s resources especially taxes collected by Uganda Revenue Authority.
These resources are put at the disposal of an elected government to equitably distribute for the advancement of our country. But we can all see, students from the two scenarios highlighted do not compete on leveled ground. This is not to politicise the issue.
I therefore suggest that government sponsorship at tertiary level be subjected to a more equitable formula. Let the funds for sponsorship at Makerere be distributed according to populations in districts. Let it be like this: the bigger the population a district has, the more the scholarships available.
Makerere has done a great job and is considered the mother of all other universities that have sprouted around the country.
It should not suffocate them by solely benefitting from funds meant for government sponsorship. After all, Makerere is a global giant, which can exploit its reputation and attract students globally.
The funds/scholarships given to districts should not be tied to Makerere since this would mean that for many districts the money is not be utilised because few of their candidates can achieve the entry points of Makerere. Yet experience shows that many who fail to join Makerere are more apt than many of those who join.
They deserve the chance for government sponsorship to correct past imbalances.
Government Sponsorship Needs Fundamental Change!