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Gov’t Free Education Policy Has Made Ugandans Only Active In Producing Children-MP Sarah Opendi

The Tororo District Woman MP, Sarah Opendi (pictured) has questioned the Ministry of Education and Sports why it has failed to implement the Education Tax as required in the Education Act, saying that the current policy on free primary and secondary education has left some Ugandans lazy to the extent of not providing scholastic materials for their children

Opendi made the remarks during a meeting held between lawmakers on Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and officials from the Ministry of Education and Sports who had been summoned to respond to queries in the June 2021 Auditor General report.

“We have made Ugandans so lazy that people are only producing children and leaving government to take care of children including buying scholastic materials such that if a parent can’t afford to buy scholastic materials, the child either sit in class and listen, or drop out of school. So why aren’t you implementing the law as it is? Because the law is there, that provides for the education tax as a means of raising revenue so that we can provide quality education for our people,” said Opendi.

Her remarks were in response to a plea by John Muyingo, State Minister for Higher Education requesting Parliament support against plans by Government to reduce the budget for the Education sector by over Shs1Trn come 2023/2024.

“However, we appeal to Parliament for intervention with regard to resource cuts and reprioritization indicators which is affecting our budget. The indicative budget for the next FY2023/2024 shows that the resource for the programme will reduce by Shs1Trn, definitely this will affect the various activities of the sector,” said Muyingo.

Opendi however asked the Ministry to implement the provision of education tax in order to enable government raise revenue to fund the country’s education system instead of lamenting about the lack of funds.

“While there are pupils learning under trees, there are also those in class, squeezed like grasshoppers in a bottle, there is no space between the children. How do you expect these children to really learn or pick anything when you the managers are just looking on and not implementing what is in the law? While you are lamenting about resources being cut, why are you not implementing what is in the law?” asked Opendi.

It should be recalled that in 1997, Government unveiled the Uganda Primary Education in public schools, where pupils were meant to study for free and in 2006, the subsidized education was also introduced in Secondary schools. The Minister promised to respond to the concern raised by writing formally to the Committee.

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