14 February 2017

Uganda: Councillors Call for Privatisation of Universal Primary Education Schools

Sembabule — Sembabule District councillors are mooting a proposal to have run down public schools under government's Universal Primary Education (UPE) scheme privatised to improve academic standards.

During a council sitting on Monday, the councillors decried the sorry state of some UPE schools in the district and proposed that such schools be put in the hands of private proprietors who can effectively manage them.

Mr Robert Ambikiri, the Ntuusi male councillor, who also chairs the district works and technical service committee, while presenting a report from his committee, said: "The committee members recommended that Katikamu, Keirasitya and Kanjunju primary schools in Lugusuulu Sub-county be privatised to enhance good service delivery." The recommendation was supported by Ms Jowelia Mukabalisa, a councillor representing Lwebitakuli Sub-county and district secretary for health and education. However, Mr Willy Bantaringaya, the Sembabule District Chief Administrative Officer told councillors that the issue required further consultation from the central government and couldn't be rushed.

"This issue requires further consultations from policy makers. My role as the chief administrative officer is to bring it to the attention of central government particularly the ministry of Education and I promise to give you feedback," Mr Bataringaya said.

Some residents who talked to Daily Monitor supported the proposal, saying this will help improve the quality of education in the area.

Mr Peter Semaganda, a resident of Sembabule Town said private schools are performing better than public schools because there is close supervision and monitoring from the proprietors.

Mr David Mpuuga, a resident of Mateete Town said the move will be good because the government is preoccupied with other things and cannot effectively manage some of its public institutions yet parents want better education for their children.

"I know private schools will charge them some money which is not the case in public schools, but parents are ready to pay if they receive quality services," Mr Mpuuga said.

Sembabule District has a total of 179 public primary schools but most of them are poorly managed. Recently, Mr Simon Bimbona, the former chief administrative officer decried the sorry state of public schools especially in Ntuusi where some of the pupils study under tree sheds.

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