Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |The Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Kataha Museveni says that her Ministry faces a risk of not implementing several activities because of the reduction in budget.
She says activities worth Shillings 1.68 trillion in the coming financial year 2020/2021 will not be implemented in the face of the declining budget allocation and failure to secure more funding.
The Minister was this afternoon appearing before Parliament’s Education Committee chaired by Pallisa County MP Jacob Opolot to present the sector’s budget framework paper. She appeared alongside the Minister of State for Higher Education John Muyingo, Minister of State for Primary Education Rosemary Sseninde and Minister of State for Sports Hamson Obua.
Janet Museveni revealed that the proposed Education and Sports Sector allocation for the coming financial year 2020/2021 is 3.286 trillion reducing by shillings 111.17 billion from 3.397 trillion budget appropriated in the current financial year 2019/2020.
She says that the reduction is on account of the donor-funded projects that are expected to exit the Public Investment Plan (PIP) upon conclusion. The projects include; Support to implementation of Skilling Uganda, Albertine Regional Sustainable Development Project, Uganda Teacher and Social Effectiveness Project and Higher Education, Science and Technology Project.
Out of the proposed 3.286 trillion sector budget for the coming financial year 2020/2021, 1.810 trillion (55 percent) is wage, 963.66 billion (29 percent) is non-wage, 307.59 billion (9 percent) is government of Uganda Development and 204.45 billion (6 percent) is external financing.
According to the Education Minister Janet Museveni, the Sector’s share of the National budget is reducing from 10.4 percent in the current financial year 2019/2020 to 9 percent in the coming financial year 2020/2021 against an increased population of learners each year.
“This ceiling in allocated resources constitutes a strain in the provision of quality education. Pupils in UPE have increased from 7,474,600 in 2018 to 7,624,490 pupils in 2019. Learners in USE have increased from 669,922 in 2018 to 707,980 students in 2019,” said Janet Museveni.
She said that if the Education Sector budget is not increased, they will not be able to carry out some critical and strategic activities that make a significant push in the transformation of the Education and Sports Sector.
Some of the activities highlighted include; review of the 1992 Government White Paper on Education meant to provide modern policy guidance on necessary reforms to drive the sector, operationalization of the National Teacher Policy and the TVET policy due to absence of funds to establish the Teacher Council and TVET Council, implementation of the new lower secondary curriculum across the country and others.
The others are; operationalization of the yet to be completed seed secondary schools, inability to roll out the Early Grade Reading Methodology to 27 districts that do not have it yet and participation of the National Sports and Athletics teams in events like AFCON, Olympic Games, CHAN and others.
The Minister also noted that understaffing continues to pose a challenge to the sector right from primary schools to universities. She cited that the 22 percent staffing levels in the Public University is of concern.
She said that the declining financial allocation in the face of increasing enrolments at all levels of the Education system has left the Sector with critical unfunded priorities to the tune of 1.686 trillion.
Janet Museveni however said that her ministry will be able to complete the development of the implementation standards and guidelines for the TVET policy maintain capitation grants for UPE at Shillings 10,000 per pupil per year, provide instructional materials to primary, secondary and BTVET institutions worth Shillings 15.5 billion and complete construction of 117 seed schools embarked on under the first phase of the Uganda Inter-Governmental Fiscal Transfer Program (UgIFT) among others with funding of 29.72 billion.
Worker’s MP Margaret Rwabushaija expressed concern about the decline in the budgetary allocation to the Education Sector.
Jonam County MP Emmanuel Ongiertho noted that it was surprising that the Education Sector budget is cut year in, year out even when the First Lady is the Minister of Education.