Recently the Minister in charge of ICT and National Guidance, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi said that the Cabinet had resolved all Universal Primary (UPE) and Secondary Schools (USE) to stop charging learners any fees as schools reopen in January next year. But parents, headteachers and local leaders have asked the government not to abolish the PTA fees until it's able to fund the schools adequately.
Members of Parliament sitting on the Education Committee have recommended a provision of Shillings 36 billion by government to the Education and Sports Ministry to kick-start the recruitment process of 22,000 primary teachers.
According to the new salary structure, science teachers in U4 salary scale will have their earnings almost doubled from 1.1 million to two million shillings, while those under U5 scale will be paid 1.75 million, up from 625,000 shillings. Salaries of head teachers, their deputies and principals were also increased from between the current range of 900,000 and 1.7 million shillings to 1.1 million shillings for tertiary institutions and 2.2 million shillings for principals in national colleges.
According to the Education Sector Policy Statement for the coming financial year 2018/2019, the budget is proposed to slightly increase from the current 2.5 trillion to 2.6 trillion Shillings. Despite the slight increase in the total budget, different budget line items within the sector are affected by budget cuts totalling to 7.8 billion Shillings.
Plans by the Ministry of Education to recruit 2000 science teachers may fall flat as the proposal is not catered for in the 2018/2019 financial year. The ministry had requested for 18 billion for the recruitment exercise in a phased manner but the funds have not been provided in the proposed 2018/2019 financial year budget. Fredrick Mutyama, the Commissioner Education Planning and Analysis in the Ministry of Education says the available budget is to be mainly spent on wages making it hard for them to undertake most of the development activities.
The Education Sector is seeking an additional funding of 160.9 billion Shillings in the next financial year 2018/2019 to cater for several activities including recruitment of science teachers and construction of secondary schools among others.
The Scheme had remained among the unfunded priorities under the education sector. But, a report by the Education Committee, intra-sectoral reallocations were made within the education sector budget to cover requirements under the loan scheme. The funding will cater for education needs of 1200 students at university level.
According to the Ministry of Education and Sports ministerial policy statement, there is a funding shortfall of 18 billion Shillings needed for the next cohort of students under the Students Loan Scheme. This is in addition to recruitment of 2,000 science teachers for secondary schools that also requires 18 billion Shillings, construction of 100 primary schools costed at 49.1 billion and 20 secondary schools in sub-counties without any government-aided secondary school costed at 9.4 billion Shillings.
Legislators sitting on the Education Committee of Parliament have expressed concern over the growing amount of presidential pledges in the sector that go unfulfilled. According to the education committee vice chairperson, Pallisa County MP Jacob Opolot, the presidential pledges in the education sector alone currently total 100 billion Shillings with no plan to ensure their fulfilment.
Kiwanuka noted that 450 billion was allocated to enhance the salary of all Public Servants including provisions for the teachersâ€™ pay increase in line with Governmentâ€™s agreement with the Uganda National Teachersâ€™ Union (UNATU).
. During the opening session yesterday, several participants had questioned why government continues to inject huge amounts of funds to the big schools yet many seed schools the government had started in sub-counties have either failed to take off, or at the verge of collapse due o shortages of funds.