Education officers in western Uganda have complained that Government is not doing enough to cater for the increasing number of pupils enrolling in the Universal Primary Education Program.
Speaking at the launch of iGo to School, Back to School, Stay in Schooli campaign at Karambi Primary School in Kabarole, the District Education Officer Victoria Rusoke said there was a sharp contrast between student enrollment and the availability of teachers and learning spaces. Speaking on behalf of her colleagues, Rusoke said that unless more investment was made in increasing the numbers of teachers and classrooms, school drop-out figures would continue to rise.
The State Minister for Primary Education Peter Lokeris, who launched the Back to School campaign, said that contrary to popular belief, Government is willing and able to build more classrooms and increase the number of teachers. He said it was impossible for the Ministry of Education to respond to needs it was not aware of and asked the district education officers to be more vigilant in providing assessments and situation reports to Government.
Although Uganda's introduction of universal primary education in 1997 dramatically improved enrollment, the latest census data indicate that more than 700,000 children aged 6 to 12 have never attended school. Furthermore, at least two-thirds of children enrolled in primary school do not complete their full primary education cycle, and a significant gender gap remains.
The iGo to School, Back to School, Stay in Schooli campaign is a program of the United Nations children's fund (UNICEF), the Government of Uganda and its partners. It is aimed at helping to help 1.3 million children, particularly those in underprivileged and post-conflict areas, get primary education.
The initiative strives to accelerate primary school completion by both girls and boys. Besides the targeted children, it will benefit 13,000 teachers in 1,600 schools throughout 18 districts.
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