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Universal Primary Education does well on numbers

By Vision Reporter

Added 18th November 2009 03:00 AM

A total of 516,890 pupils sat Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) this year. This is the first time such a number has been recorded since Universal Primary Education was introduced 12 years ago.

A total of 516,890 pupils sat Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) this year. This is the first time such a number has been recorded since Universal Primary Education was introduced 12 years ago.

Fortunate Ahimbisibwe

A total of 516,890 pupils sat Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) this year. This is the first time such a number has been recorded since Universal Primary Education was introduced 12 years ago.

Over the years, there has been an increase in the number of candidates sitting PLE, but the number had not hit the half-a-million mark. Last year, 463,631 candidates sat PLE with an average of 450,000 in the last years.

When the Government introduced UPE in 1997, enrolment more than doubled from 2.5 million in 1996 to 6.5 million in 1997. This was a great achievement, but came along with many challenges associated with overcrowding.

However, many pupils have benefited from the scheme. This is a step towards achieving Education For All (EFA) goals as well as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Half-a-million pupils sitting PLE in one year is not a mean achievement. It is proof that the completion rate has improved to more than 60%.

Such a development guarantees that the literacy levels will improve tremendously in the next few years. According to the National Assessment of Progress in Education report 2007, the level of achievement of pupils has been steadily improving in English, literacy, numeracy and oral reading. This is a contributing factor to national development.

The enforcement of the Education Act 2008 should not be underestimated. The ministry has also stepped up inspection by setting up a directorate of inspection. Improved inspection translates into proper utilisation of resources.

The Government and development partners have put in place measures to ensure efficiency at primary level. The measures include increasing teachers’ salaries, training and recruiting more teachers, construction and rehabilitation of new classrooms, distribution and effective utilisation of instructional materials and improved inspection.

The Government is now focused on the challenges such as high pupil-teacher ratio, inadequate classroom space, underutilisation of instructional material, drop out rate, absenteeism for both teachers and pupils, especially in hard to reach areas.

The continued efforts ensure efficiency and effectiveness which will lead to quality education.
The writer is a communications officer, World Bank Project, Ministry of Education and Sports

Universal Primary Education does well on numbers

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