Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Education Ministry has been asked to introduce minimum academic qualifications for members of School Management Committees.
With a maximum composition of 12 members, the committees established through provisions of the Education Act are mandated to oversee the management of schools and represent the interests of the local community and parents. Some of their functions include disciplining teachers and ensuring the headteachers are present at schools.
They are also supposed to budget and disburse capitation grants given to schools by the government. Under the current arrangement, six of the committee members are appointed by the school’s foundation body. The other members include an old student of the school, a staff representative, a parent and a local government representative.
Educationists argue that although the committees are very important organs in the management of schools, they are often made up of members who hardly know their mandate and as a result, they ignore their tasks, a move which affects the smooth running of the schools.
They are demanding that the government attaches academic qualifications to the appointment of members of the committees, in order to ensure that the composition is made up of people who value education as well as those who want to see the school grow and develop.
Dr Tony Mukasa Lusambu, the Commissioner of Basic Education says that School Management Committees are supposed to run schools on behalf of the government. However, he adds, their performance has been affected by the inability to monitor the day to day activities of the school.
According to Dr Lusambu, there are no stipulations on who should be on the committee currently. As a result, some members found on these committees have no vested interest in the school.
Patrick Kaboyo, the National Secretary of the Federation of Non-State Education Institutions says qualifications are needed to determine who can be chosen as a member of a School Management Committee.
In addition to academic qualifications as a pre-requisite for being a member of a School Management Committee, Kaboyo suggests that members should be given an allowance to encourage them to take an interest in the running of the schools.
According to a 2017 survey carried out by Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment –ACODE to assess public expenditure governance of Universal Primary Schools, School Management Committees in many schools are not functional.
The study was based in 14 districts, among them; Mpigi, Wakiso, Mukono, Mbale, Kamuli, Amuria Mbarara, Kabarole, Hoima, Gulu, Nebbi, Nakapiripirit and Amuru. The districts were chosen based on their performance at national examinations like Primary Leaving Examinations.
A research fellow at ACODE says that during the study they found out that School Management Committees were functional in many schools although there were concerns on their level of education and orientation of their duties.
According to ACODE’s findings, most chairpersons of the committees did not have post-secondary education at a tertiary institute or university. They also found that most committees were made up mostly of men.