The Ministry of Education and Sports is pursuing another grant to revamp and transform the nation’s educational system. The grant, to the tune of USD 216.3 million (approximately 840 billion Shillings), is expected to be obtained from the Global Partnership for Education-GPE.
Dr Jane Egau, the Director of Higher, Technical, Vocational Education and Training, notes that although domestic public funding for education has been growing, the percentage of spending on education has been steadily declining.
Dr Egau explains that the ministry has used a piecemeal approach to solve the current problems in several projects. However, if the said grant is obtained, she says, the focus will be put on addressing the root causes of barriers to equitable learning and unlocking bottlenecks in the education sector.
Dr Egau further points out that the funds will cater for infrastructural development, equipping of schools, curriculum and instructional materials and breathing new life into the inspection directorate. The fund will also help in the recruitment of new teachers to lower the teacher-learner ratio among other critical things.
Commenting on the ministry’s move, Dr Badru Musisi, a senior educationist and lecturer at Makerere University, asserted that it would be preferable to have such broad programmes targeting the entire sector as a whole rather than concentrating on individual initiatives.
Musisi hastened to add, however, that it is crucial to ensure that the grant is used for its stated purpose if it is obtained. Citing instances where Uganda has presented ‘lovely’ ideas on paper but fallen short in practice.
Musisi emphasized the need for the ministry to take a close look at the sector’s management and leadership practices as it considers how to reform the industry. He pointed out that the bulk of programs and initiatives had been unsuccessfully implemented because of inadequate management, starting at the level of schools or institutions.
Meanwhile, in recent days, officials from GPE led by Fazle Rabbani, the Regional Manager of East and Southern Africa, have been in the country holding meetings with the education authorities regarding the grant.
In a message posted on her Twitter handle, the education minister Janet Kataaha Museveni noted the delegation was in Uganda “to support the education ministry to complete the partnership compact agreement, a prerequisite document for a country before applying for the GPE 2 grant.”
On August 12, the said document was finalized and an agreement for the grant was signed bringing Uganda closer to the funding. Uganda has previously received USD 15 million (55.8 billion Shillings) from the same organisation to facilitate the COVID-19 Emergency Education Response project.