Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Education and Sports says it cannot provide financial support to private education institutions that have been hit hard by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meeting Members of Parliament on the Education Committee on Thursday, the Commissioner Private Schools at the Ministry, Edward Sebukyu said that whereas it is true that private schools play a big role in the education sector, the ministry is financially constrained to support them.
Sebukyu also said the policy on financing education does not support this proposal, adding that the policy only regulates but does not talk about support except for the capitation grant.
Sebukyu adds that the ministry has instead supported private schools through providing textbooks, home study materials to learners and the 20 Billion Shillings grant that was allocated to teachers among others.
The Kalungu West MP Joseph Sewungu asked the ministry to divert the 48 Billion Shillings allocated for study materials and assist private schools since they are soon reopening.
Cuthbert Abigaba, the Kibale County MP says that he supports the proposal to help private institutions and the government should find a solution.
The Luweero Woman MP Brenda Nabukenya says that government should first account for the study materials it purportedly supplied to schools.
On Wednesday, the Minister of State for Planning, Amos Lugoloobi told MPs that the government has no money to support a special recovery fund for the education sector.
Lugoloobi instead appealed to private institutions of learning to compete for 200 billion Shillings that has been set aside under the Small Businesses Recovery Fund to provide credit to businesses affected by COVID-19.
Private school owners under the National Private Educational Institutions Association-Uganda (NPEIA-UG) had petitioned parliament seeking a recovery fund of 100 million Shillings per school, as a stimulus package to enable a re-start of operations of the sector.
Education institutions were first closed on March 18, 2020, when President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni announced a national lockdown to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This directly impacted 73,240 government and private pre-primary, primary, secondary, tertiary and higher institutions with a combined population of 15.12 million learners and 548,182 teachers.