Kampala — Government has finalised drafting of a policy that seeks to regulate tuition fees in nursery schools.
State minister for Primary Education Rosemary Seninde said the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Policy, once approved by Cabinet and Parliament, will see the ministry come up with a harmonised school fees rate for nursery schools.
She said the ministry of Education will conduct research to establish how much each school charges and come up with a uniform figure.
"At a moment, the early childhood development centre is in the hands of private people. As government, we cannot just watch our children being charged abnormal amounts of money. This policy will help minimise these challenges," Ms Seninde said yesterday during the Uganda Teacher and School Effectiveness Project (UTSEP) in Kampala.
"Most parents have resorted to taking their children directly to Primary One [due to high charges in nursery] and those children who do not attend nursery education do not progress well academically. So if private schools providing early childhood education charge reasonable fees, parents will be motivated to follow the right channel," she added.
The ministry of Education in 2012 proposed that all public primary schools must have a nursery section to improve numeracy and literacy skills after reports showed majority of Primary Three pupils failed to grasp literacy and numeracy skills.
Ms Seninde said the government does not have the necessary funding to fulfil the proposal, asserting that what they can do is to ensure that those providing it charge a reasonable amount of money.
Mr Kirill Vasilliev, a senior education specialist at World Bank, said the government of Uganda has neglected early childhood education to the private sector who have made it very expensive.
He said as a result, most children go to primary school when they are not prepared and underaged, making it difficult for them to learn appropriately and pass.
"International evidence has showed that investment in early childhood education years is crucial in promoting high learning outcomes because it prepares pupils on how to read and pronounce words. It is difficult for teachers to teach pupils who have not gone through nursery," Mr Vasilliev said.
He advised the government to prioritise the sector and provide early education to disadvantaged children, especially in rural areas where private investors are not well established.