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World Bank should rethink call to scrap PLE

Children have a right to meaningful education and not a right of simply walking through the system

COMMENT | M. G. Katusabe – Ssemwezi  | The New Vision paper of May 31 quoted the World Bank’s (WB) 13th Edition of the Uganda Economic update report, recommending to the Uganda Government to scrap the Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) and implement the policy on automatic promotion.

The WB’s advisor on global education was reported to have acknowledged that the recommendation was controversial and would not come easy. He said the recommendation would save millions of money and improve the quality of education.

The recommendation springs from the Bank’s finding that the rate of transition from primary to secondary has continued to drop. Repetition in lower primary has led to a bulge in the early classes. The report argues that this leads to inefficiency and affects the quality of education. Therefore, the WB prescription is that PLE be scrapped and pupils should transit to another level – regardless of attained standard.

It is a shame that we cannot offer acceptable attainment standards to our children particularly those in rural Uganda. When I went to primary school in the 1960s, I started by writing on banana leaves with a pencil and even a sharpened stick could do the same job. That is right; a stick. I then “transited” to writing on a slate. Another transition declared me worthy of writing in a half exercise book with a pencil until I graduated to using a whole exercise book and a fountain pen. The rest is history.

Why was this possible at Bunena Primary School, located in Kitagwenda County of Kamwenge District; a typical rural setting but is not the case today? Simple response – we had great professional dedicated teachers who cared for our education and who enjoyed their work. Their productivity was high.

A miserable teacher in poor working conditions cannot deliver quality education. Period. The sorry state of many of our schools is common knowledge. Just travel a few kilometres into a rural setting and verify this.

Back then, we worked hard to achieve; read, write, get the arithmetic correct and speak English. What is the scenario today? We have illiterate children if they are not among the privileged class going to good private or international schools. But WB recommends they should transit in that state! How will scrapping PLE and automatic transition help the child make progress?

WB recommends continuous assessment to replace PLE. This is a good thing to do but if those meant to implement it are not motivated it will come to naught.

The repeaters are blamed for attracting big bills and rendering teachers exhausted through over working but WB does not say why in the first place this condition exists. Uganda subscribes to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children (UNCRC) yet appears to be in cahoots with the WB to violate the rights of children to education. If the children were able they would challenge the system and drag the perpetrators to the International Criminal Court for trial.

A child will be happy to learn from a conducive environment. These poor schools lead to apathy and disaffection about school leading to high dropout and decreasing rates of transition. Children have a right to meaningful education and not a right of simply walking through the system in a bid to improve transition rates.

Today we are in the e-world. How many of the repeaters have ever touched a computer button in our schools let alone the teachers. If the beneficiaries of our system cannot even make good use of the traditional pen and paper, what are their chances of surviving in the e- world? Provide adequate and appropriate teaching materials. If the WB cannot look into the question of funding the factors which lead to low transition, then the WB is taking this country for a ride in the wilderness.

The children are thirsty for real education. Therefore, WB if your intention is to help the child, think again: what leads to low transition?

*****
M. G. Katusabe – Ssemwezi is the Academic Registrar of Victoria University

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4 comments

  1. Thanks for your genuine opinion Mr. Katusabe. You are spot-on about World Bank not having serious interventions on PLE improvements rather condemning it altogether by recommending scrapping. These guys are sadists and want us to go into ruin like they did in early 90s when they said Government cannot do business so privatise and sale off all pastorals. Shame upon the WB, if they have nothing tangible to recommend let them keep quiet otherwise leave PLE alone. PLE has had graduates from Unities allover Uganda despite challenges. True there may be challenges which WB should be highlighting with suggestions to solutions that can better PLE.

    • CHURCHES ALL COPIED BIBLE CAME FROM.
      CHURCHES ARE A MIX OF A RELIGION CHANGED THE ORIGINAL JEWISH PROPHETS, CHURCHES ARE WEAK TO HELP THE PEOPLE. THE CHURCHES HAVE GOOD AND EVIL IN THEM WHY BLACK PEOPLES LIVES HARSH.
      GOOD LIVING IS STOPPED BY THE CHURCHES LIKE WIND BLOWS TO TAKE AWAY WHEN GOOD ON ITS WAY. THE JEWISH RELIGION DIDNT WORK BECAUSE JEWS TOOK HALF A BIBLE WITHOUT JESUS MARY. TAKE CHURCHES WITH JESUS THE CROSS WITH MARY 12 JEWISH DESCIPLES ALL JEWISH WITH JEWISH BIBLE. MINIMAL STATUES ALL JEWISH PROPHETS. CHANGE THE NAME OF THE CHURCHES TO SYNAGOGUE. CONNECT TO THE LORD PRAYING TO HIM AND HE WILL REMOVE THE PUNISHMENT PUT ON YOU ON PURPOSE AND REBUILD THE BLACK PEOPLES LIVES BY KNOWING HIM FOR THE FIRST TIME
      PUT YOUR COMMENTS ON YOUR NEWS. I AM THE MESSIAH WHO ORGANIZED ISRAEL MIDDLE EAST
      I AM ON FACEBOOK TWITER DON SKYLAR

  2. Swaib K Nsereko

    There’s is more to the WB suggestion that many seem not to appreciate. I have previously observed that the annual ritual by ministry of education to announce PLE results has nothing to help the country about. Exam results only help schools to justify their reasons of fleecing parents as they claim to simply have big numbers passing in first divisions. Moreover, to do so they cheat in exams–teaching our young people the habits of fraud from such a tender age. In fact the seeds of corruption in this country are first sowed in primary schools. There is no way you will change a civil servant’s perception about corruption who was first introduced to the practice by a trusted role model (HM, teacher) in a primary school. But how’s PLE advancing the country’s interests? No wonder most of those with flying colors are ending up taking menial jobs in Arab countries–despite the several inhuman challenges existing there!

    So WB is right to say let school managers concentrate on turning pupils into innovators and be assessed on that. If they were to do that virtually all pupils would be able to demonstrate an innovation and that would automatically make all able to progress to another level. And that would be more useful to the nation–producing capable job creators, regardless of their individual quality of the handwriting.

    • CHURCHES ALL COPIED BIBLE CAME FROM.
      CHURCHES ARE A MIX OF A RELIGION CHANGED THE ORIGINAL JEWISH PROPHETS, CHURCHES ARE WEAK TO HELP THE PEOPLE. THE CHURCHES HAVE GOOD AND EVIL IN THEM WHY BLACK PEOPLES LIVES HARSH.
      GOOD LIVING IS STOPPED BY THE CHURCHES LIKE WIND BLOWS TO TAKE AWAY WHEN GOOD ON ITS WAY. THE JEWISH RELIGION DIDNT WORK BECAUSE JEWS TOOK HALF A BIBLE WITHOUT JESUS MARY. TAKE CHURCHES WITH JESUS THE CROSS WITH MARY 12 JEWISH DESCIPLES ALL JEWISH WITH JEWISH BIBLE. MINIMAL STATUES ALL JEWISH PROPHETS. CHANGE THE NAME OF THE CHURCHES TO SYNAGOGUE. CONNECT TO THE LORD PRAYING TO HIM AND HE WILL REMOVE THE PUNISHMENT PUT ON YOU ON PURPOSE AND REBUILD THE BLACK PEOPLES LIVES BY KNOWING HIM FOR THE FIRST TIME
      PUT YOUR COMMENTS ON YOUR NEWS. I AM THE MESSIAH WHO ORGANIZED ISRAEL MIDDLE EAST
      I AM ON FACEBOOK TWITER DON SKYLAR
      LORD WILL NOT TAKE CARE OF THEM THRU CHURCHES

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