PIC: Vikas-Pota, chief executive officer of the Varkey Foundation. (Courtesy photo)
By David Obita
A survey conducted by the global education charity, the Varkey Foundation, has revealed that over half (56%) of Ugandan parents would not mind topping up on the school fees they pay, if it is to enhance teachers’ pay.
Research has revealed that when parents are choosing their child’s school, they place great emphasis on the quality of teaching and are more likely to consider spending any extra funds for their child’s education - not on new facilities or technology - but on employing more teachers or increasing existing teachers’ pay.
The survey done in 29 countries put Ugandan parents at a higher rate than their counterparts in countries such as Kenya, South Africa and the UK.
It also found that Ugandan parents are the least concerned of their children’s happiness at school. Only 20% consider it among the top three concerns they have for their children at school. The top concerns are costs and the choice of school.
According to the report, 29% of Ugandan parents say they did not get their first choice of school for their child.
At least two thirds (66%) of Ugandan parents rate government schools in their country as poor or very poor - more than in any other country surveyed. Only 20% of Ugandan parents rate the quality of government schools in their country as fairly good or very good, well below the global average of 45%.
Almost two thirds (65%) of Ugandan parents would love private companies to run government schools – higher than the global average of 46%, but lower than the other African countries surveyed. In Kenya it is 72% and in South Africa it is 67%.
According to the executive director Varkey Foundation, Vikas Pota, despite headlines of funding shortfalls and educational failure around the world, it is remarkable to see how much faith parents have in quality of teaching in their children’s school.
“However good or bad their country's education system is, according to the global rankings, parents throughout the world have strong confidence in the abilities of their own children's teachers. And almost two thirds of parents believe their child's school is preparing them well for the world of 2030 and beyond,” Pota added.
According to Pota, their research has shown that parents, especially in emerging economies, are taking their role in education seriously by devoting many hours a week to help their child out of school.
He, however, stressed that governments need to support parents by ensuring that school budgets are protected and ensure that more funds are directed to the education sector in the poorest parts of the world.
“A $39b annual shortfall in financial support must be found if we are to meet the sustainable development goals on education - and to ensure we give every child their birthright of a decent education,” Pota noted.