MPs Warn Minister on Funding Gaps in Education Sector

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In short
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 parliament's education committee have threatened of blocking the education ministry budget if key sector areas remain unfunded.

Education ministry officials led by Minister Janet Museveni were appearing before the committee chaired by Mbale Woman MP Connie Nakayenze. The minister was accompanied by her junior colleagues, John Chrysostom Muyingo for higher education and Charles Bakabulindi for sports.
 
MP Nakayenze notified the ministers that her committee had resolved not to approve the sector budget unless funds are availed for the students' loan scheme, recruitment of science teachers for secondary schools and inspection of schools among others.
 
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 also tasked the minister on the stagnating staffing levels of universities below 50% on average of their establishment. According to the education sector budget estimates, 10 billion Shillings required to improve on staffing levels in public universities is not provided.
 
Jacob Opolot, the education committee vice chairperson described the absence of funds for the students' loan scheme as morally and socially funny saying that the students that it targets are the poorest of the poor.
 
"This is the only unique facility that touches poor children, we cannot let it remain unfunded," said Opolot, the Pallisa County MP.
 
Janet Museveni pleaded with the MPs to allow the sector budget pass saying that her ministry is only counting on the Finance ministry to provide them with a supplementary budget to cater for some of these unfunded areas.
 
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MP Nakayenze appealed to the minister to take the committee's decision in good faith also noting that her committee is still looking through the ministry's policy statement with a view of carrying out re-allocations of funds.  
 
According to the proposed education sector budget for 2017-2018, the ministry's budget is cut from 12% to 10% of the total budget.
 
In the financial year 2016/17, the Ministry was allocated 2.7 trillion Shillings. 
 
 

 

About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.