Alternative Policy interventions key in enhancing access to quality Education

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 30th July 2012remarkedthat Education is the key to everything the UN wishes to achieve and that it should be the first priority in all member states and over the years, Uganda has adopted a number of policies that focus on the education sector. According to Uganda Education Sector Policy Overview Paper” May 2006, the current education policy focuses on expanding the functional capacity of education structures and reducing on the inequalities of access to education between sexes, geographical areas and social classes in Uganda.  It also advocates for redistribution of resources vis-à-vis reforming the education sector. More resources have therefore been allocated to lower educational public sector through the UPE program in order to enhance equity of access at that level between boys and girls. The impact of the shift in policy on the female gender is yet to be ascertained, but for females from poor districts, their chances for higher education have become increasingly small which is increasingly becoming liberalized.

The education sector further focuses on providing for, guiding, coordinating, supporting, regulating and promoting quality education and sports to all persons in Uganda for national integration, individual and national development.  The Ministry has accomplished this through promoting universal and equitable access to quality basic education for all children through early childhood care and development for children up to 8 years, Universal Primary Education for Children from 6 years to 12 years, education for the disadvantaged groups from 6 years to 18 years. Quality education is accomplished through ensuring pass rates in literacy and numeracy at primary level and also ensuring that pass rates in English, Mathematics, Science and Information Technology at post primary education level. Additionally, The Ministry has various directorates and departments that implement Government Policies in the Education Sector. They include the Directorate of Industrial Training, the Department of Physical Education and Sports Department, the department of Guidance and Counseling, the Special Needs Department and the HIV/AIDS Unit. Thus While the above concerns can be summed up into three major challenges of access, Equity and Quality, it should however be noted that Quality is the greatest challenge facing the Education process in Uganda. It is therefore acceptable to assert that closing the above gaps will dramatically increase completion rates, enhance the learning process and ensure the outcomes of education in Uganda are more responsive and meaningful for the different social and economic demands that this developing nation comes face to face with.

In light of the above, Specific policy interventions should be directed towards the Development of a youth friendly and gender responsive policy and implementation of regulations, for the effective implementation of the Business, Technical and Vocational Training (BTVET) Act in order to comprehensively to establish skills development programmes mismatch between skills and labour market requirements. There is need to Increase resource allocations especially to Universal Secondary Education, to ensure the provision of quality education in addition to Re-designing training curriculums in all institutions of education with involvement of the relevant stakeholders (such as the private sector and civil society organizations), to ensure that they are responsive to current Educational needs including those of persons with specialized needs.

Further still, there is need for Reviewing the Affirmative Action Policy in the education sector, to promote the enrolment of girls in Teacher Training Colleges and Polytechnics Enforcement of laws and regulations that encourage girl’s enrolment and retention in schools, while addressing barriers to their education such as: child sacrifice, sexual harassment, FGM, early marriages and the lack of sanitary towels. In the nutshell, there is need to analyze to what extent the various programs, policies and laws have enabled the realization of the dream of quality education, accessible to all.

Kaviri Ali

Young Leaders Think Tank for Policy Alternatives

An initiative of Konrad Adenour Stiftung (KAS) in Uganda

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