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Experts call for reforms in education, governance

By Betty Amamukirori

Added 19th July 2019 09:51 AM

They argued that once these two sectors are revamped, service delivery will become efficient and human capital will be top-notch and development will be spurred.

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(L-R) Audrey Dralega an education expert at People and Potential, Dr. Ekwaro Obuku the Chairman Uganda Medical Association, Diana Sekaggya Bagarukayo an education specialist of the World Bank, Alain Sibenaler the country representative of the UNFPA and Prof. Waswa Balunywa the Principal MUBS during the third National Development Plan breakfast meeting at Serena Hotel in Kampala on Thursday July 18, 2019. Photos by Karim Ssozi

They argued that once these two sectors are revamped, service delivery will become efficient and human capital will be top-notch and development will be spurred.

KAMPALA - As the government is preparing the National Development Plan III (NDPIII) to replace NDPII, experts have called for more reforms in the education sector and governance in the country.

They argued that once these two sectors are revamped, service delivery will become efficient and human capital will be top-notch and development will be spurred.

They blamed the ‘failure’ of the two National Development Plans (NDP I & II) on the government’s failure to reform the education system to meet the current market demands and on the too-large government.

NDPII expires in June 2020 and according to the National Planning Authority (NPA) board chairperson Prof. Pamela Mbabazi, the NDPIII should be in place by September 2019 to guide the Budget Strategy for FY 2020/21.

Prof. Waswa Balunywa, the Principal Makerere University Business School (MUBS) said the government needs to formulate policies that put emphasis on early childhood development, primary education and secondary education.

“Emphasis in primary and secondary school education will not only solve the issue of child marriages but also nurture innovativeness,” he said  Thursday during the NDP III first breakfast policy series held at Serena conference centre in Kampala.


He also proposed the introduction of skills training at primary and secondary education levels such that once one drops before advancing to institutions of higher learning, they can still do something.

Audrey Dralega, an education expert, said that early childhood development is important especially when a country wants to rip long term gains from its human capital.

She noted that the first six years of a human being are the most important and a nation needs to attract the right minds to help develop its young generation.

Hamis Mugendawala, a senior planner- education and skills development at NPA, said to develop a competitive and highly productive human capital, there is a need to build a strong foundation for human capital development through investment in early childhood development.

He said there is also a need to increase the proportion of appropriately skilled labour force, reduce the proportion of the population living in poor health, increase the proportion of the population accessing social protection and adequately manage population growth and structure.

The meeting was organised by UNDP and the National Planning Authority (NPA) under the theme ‘investing in human capital for shared prosperity in Uganda.’ The breakfast series are aimed at identifying high impact strategic reforms for consideration in NDP III.

Balunywa also noted that the government needs to be trimmed to have a small efficient government that works for everyone.

“We need a prosperous nation and to prosper, we must reform government. We need a smaller more efficient government,” he said.

DR.  Ekwaro Obuku, the president of the Uganda Medical Association, due to bureaucracies in government institutions highly skilled experts have been left jobless while those with no skills have the jobs.

He revealed that 42 Uganda specialists doctors who trained in India have never been deployed, adding that the group has since been disempowered because they cannot use the skills they have attained.

He said when issues of governance are addressed, systems will become more efficient and money will reach the very poor.

Alain Sibenaler, the country representative UNFPA, called for strategies to address the ever-growing population through making family planning more accessible to the Ugandan women.

He said for the country to develop, the fertility rate has to reduce from 5.5 children to 2.5.  He said NDPIII should put in place strategies to keep girls in school and put to an end child labour.
 
 rof amela  babazi the board hairperson  ational lanning uthority left and lsie ttafuah the esident epresentative nited ations evelopment rogramme  interacting after the breakfast meeting Prof. Pamela K. Mbabazi the board Chairperson National Planning Authority (left) and Elsie Attafuah the Resident Representative United Nations Development Programme interacting after the breakfast meeting

Mbabazi, the NPA board chairperson said the goal for NDP III will be to increase household incomes and improve quality of life. This will be achieved through sustainable industrialisation for inclusive growth, employment and wealth creation.

Mungendawala said in the proposed strategies under NDP III, they have maintained the NDPII lifecycle approach to human capital development such that all high impact strategic interventions particularly in health, education, and social protection must be planned from age 0 to retirement.

“Over the next 5-10 years, we suggest that strategic investments for human capital development be around maternal nutrition and health and early childhood development, mandatory antenatal and post-natal, communicable diseases surveillance, prevention and management, functionalising health facilities and health insurance,” he said.
 
The other suggested areas of focus by NPA include institutionalisation of career guidance, talent identification and nurturing, support for transition from training to employment and enterprise development, enforcement of protection policies and laws across the development cycle of labor and population management.

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