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Experts push for free nursery education

By Vision Reporter

Added 5th April 2013 07:20 PM

The National Council for Children has asked the Government to roll out universal kindergarten and nursery education.

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The National Council for Children has asked the Government to roll out universal kindergarten and nursery education.

By Carol Kasujja

The National Council for Children has asked the Government to roll out universal kindergarten and nursery education.

The council argues that this would expedite prosperity in the country.

A study conducted by US-based scholars in the country early this year revealed that Uganda would benefit from investment in pre-primary school.

According to the study, universal kindergarten and nursery education would improve pupils attainment of numeracy and literacy skills, which would eventually boost their performance at higher levels of eduaction.

The report was compiled by Prof. Jere of Pennsylvania University and Prof. Jan Van Ravens of Yale University.

It was unveiled during the 4th Annual National Early Childhood Development Retreat at Colline Hotel in Mukono town early this week.

The research was conducted to establish the cost and benefits of scaling up pre-primary Education for the children aged 3-5years.

It was supported by the gender ministry, UNICEF and non-government organisations like Plan Uganda, the Agakhan Foundation and Save the Children.

Responding to the recommendations,Daniel Nkaada, the commissioner for pre-primary and primary education, said the right age for a child to start school is between 4 and 6 years.

“Compulsory school age in Uganda is 6 years. Parents should wait until their child is 6 before sending him or her to school. Children need to be given time to grow emotionally,” he said.

Since 1997 when the Universal Primary Education was introduced, the Government has rolled down free education across all levels, including at O’ and A’ level.

Uganda was also the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to introduce Universal Secondary Education, which led to an increase in secondary school enrollment by over 100,000 to the current 790,000.

The same programmes also saw education taking the lion’s share of the national budget, coming off the 7% in the 1990s to over 15% today.

At the tertairy level, the Government sponsors 4,000 students in its five public universities each year. However, pre-primary education has received little attention from both parents and the Government.

The NCC study revealed that in 2011, only 8.6% of children aged 3-5 years were enrolled in pre-primary schools across the country.

Experts push for free nursery education

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