Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Kampala City Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago has attributed the decline in performance of once best schools in Kampala, and the country in general, to the Universal Primary Education (UPE) program.
While addressing journalists at the City Hall in Kampala, Lukwago said that the once cherished traditional schools have now become a shadow of their former selves due to this government program, and the process of declining is set to continue.
Kampala district has 79 public schools, and from the recently released 2022 Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) results, these schools had a total of 38,105 candidates.
From results published, 12,896 (34.4 percent) passed in the first division, 17,402 (46.4%) in division two, 3,451 (9.2%) in division three, 2,426 (6.5 %) in the fourth division, 1,333 (3.5 %) were ungraded, and 597 (1.6%) had their results cancelled.
Statistics show that though the number of the candidates who passed with first division in 2022 increased from 26.3 percent to 34.4 percent, the overall passing dropped from 96.2 percent to 95 percent in the same period.
From these results, no candidate scored aggregate four from any of these schools. Only two candidates scored five, and four candidates scored six, and these were the best of all.
Lukwago says that this performance is due to a number of factors, but UPE is taking the lead. He adds that the central government has continued to under finance the programme, which is failing its performance.
“In all our UPE schools, each child is allocated a paltry sum of 9,300 shillings (USD 2.5) per year, which translates to 1,033 shillings per month per child. Considering the very high cost of living and inflation, we find this very illogical and next to impossible for these schools to perform as expected, and thus condemning the unfortunate learners as failures at a tender age on account of ineptitude,” he said.
According to Lukwago, since UPE has been around for so many years and government has failed to invest in it meaningfully, it is high time the nation rolled it up because it is apparently killing the education institutions.
To fix the problem, Lukwago says the government must urgently implement the five-year KCCA education master plan which has been shelved since its inception two years ago.
The KCCA strategic plan for education, 2020/21 to 2024/25, is estimated to cost up to 500 billion shillings for the whole period, which means it requires 100 billion annually, however, as of now the program is allocated only 48 billion.
Among remedies to the challenge, he proposes more teacher recruitment to fill the staffing gap, and reverse the trend of education privatization in the city.