17 November 2012

Uganda: Govt Releases Funds for UPE, USE

Photo: New Vision
Maria Kiwanuka, Minister of Finance and Economic Development suspends cash payments to the government over fraud.

Government has released over sh496m for free primary and secondary education programmes in Kampala city.

According to Ann Galiwango, the KCCA director of education and social services, part of the money will be used to pay teachers' salaries and clear outstanding debts.

She told New Vision online that KCCA had asked the Government for sh2.2b this financial year for 103 UPE and USE schools in the city, but only sh735m was approved.

In a letter dated September 20, the permanent secretary for ministry of Education and Sports, Francis Lubanga, said the funds were deducted after anomalies were realised in city schools.

"During the headcount exercises in schools, there were anomalies which led to the cancellation of the headcount results by enumerators. This affected some schools whimissing out on budget allocation for USE /UPOLET capitation grants for financial year 2012/2013," the letter reads.

Galiwango said the money was deposited in the school accounts yesterday evening. This money was supposed to be released in September but it delayed. He however failed to explain the delay.

"Right now we are issuing circulars to head teachers. We want them to clear all the debts before the term ends," she said.

The money has been released when schools are remaining with two weeks to end the term and yet most of them have debts.

Head teachers told Saturday vision they increased school fees to enable them meet daily operational expenses like scholastic materials and running internal exams.

"Since September, we did not receive any money from Government, forcing us to charge sh40,000 per pupil to avoid crisis," a head teacher said.

This, however, is illegal according to the UPE and USE regulations policy.

"We had planned to renovate some classrooms, but suspended it because there was no money," said one headteacher.

Teachers in Kampala recently petitioned the minister of education, Jessica Alupo, threatening to close schools before the official date, if Government did not release money.

Upcountry schools are also waiting for money, but no money has yet been released.

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