Article 30 of the Constitution guarantees citizens a right to education and provides for affirmative action for disadvantaged people in education.
With universal primary and secondary education in place, many Ugandan children have been enrolled in school. However, studies have shown that poverty makes it hard for many to complete primary level.
A 2013 Unesco report noted thus: “Research shows that 97% of children from rich households enrol in schools and 80% of those are able to complete their education. On the contrary, 90% of the children in the poorest households enrol for school but only 49% complete the education cycle.”
It is also evident that resources that facilitate learning such as the number and quality of teachers and physical learning environment which includes adequate classrooms, desks, and sanitation facilities are very uneven.
According to the Education and Sports Sector Review (ESSR) 2015/2016 report, only 50 per cent of children in northern Uganda have adequate sitting facilities in both the primary and secondary schools. The annual national examinations by Uneb have also indicated how some schools excel almost every year compared to others.
Today, several schools have teachers that are not adequately trained. They lack the teaching skills and have not mastered the syllabi. Such teachers are very unlikely to use creative teaching methods that help children learn. Instead, they adopt easier ways of, for example, using pamphlets where children are encouraged to practice and memorize answers.
It is more likely that students who have access to qualified teachers and have other necessary learning tools will perform better than their counterparts. We need to give all children the opportunity to access the necessary learning tools, qualified teachers, and a good learning environment regardless of their region, academic abilities, gender, culture or physical state.
It is vital that stakeholders involved in the day-to-day running of schools actively help children have equal opportunity to education.
The ministry of Education and Sports should also ensure that all schools have qualified teachers and the distribution should be fair in all government-aided schools.
Govt move on local drugs good
On July 10, 2017, the state minister for health, Sarah Opendi, addressed the media at Uganda Media Centre about government’s move to increase the verification fees of locally-made drugs.
The government also promised to heighten monitoring and supervision and National Drug Authority has been tasked to establish a rigorous post-market surveillance system to monitor all medicines on the market, both imported and locally manufactured.
Government is doing this to discourage importation of drugs that can be manufactured here. This decision was taken following the ministry’s assessment of the domestic manufacturers’ capacity to sufficiently meet the demand for 37 selected medicines.
I trust that this move is commendable for it will support domestic production and safeguard against substandard drugs.
Also this move aims at reduction of reliance on imports and contributes towards national development aspirations of industrialization. Industrialization is one of the initiatives that will enable us achieve our agenda of becoming a middle-income country.
I appeal to manufacturers to embrace this move and help Uganda reach another level of development since health is one of the factors that deter growth because an unhealthy nation cannot be productive.
Look beyond age limit
While many people are talking about amendment of article 102 (b) of the Constitution, there are other serious clauses in the same law that need inclusion or removal.
As we wait for the government to appoint a constitutional review commission to gather people’s views, we should sit down and make a list of issues that need amendment.
Before last year’s elections, several groups had come up with various proposals for constitutional amendment which the government ignored, saying there was no time.
The proposals included restoration of presidential term limits, reduction of presidential and parliamentary powers, reduction in the number of MPs and size of parliament and districts, and a change in land tenure systems, etc.
And these are not the only issues we need to be amended. I personally think the Constitution has some weak articles such as those that provide for simple punishments or fines to hardcore criminals.
Kudos to govt for Mulago hospital
The revamped Mulago hospital will surely bring a big impact on the health sector of Uganda. This new facility will house private suites, a helipad, maternal and neonatal centre, spacious laboratories, etc.
The government also plans to improve other referral hospitals such as Mbale and Jinja which will help to improve on service delivery in many parts of the country.
I urge government to build new hospitals and renovate more that are in bad shape. Otherwise, job well done to President Museveni! To say that he has done nothing is simply absurd.
Crane bank case is unsurprising
Sudhir Ruparelia is again back in the news for the wrong reasons. The media has so far reported that Ruparelia, through his Crane bank, robbed Uganda of more than Shs 400bn and faces jail if found guilty.
To me, this turn of events is not surprising given Ruparelia’s shrewd way of doing business that saw him controversially acquire public property and even seize people’s property for ‘failure’ to pay.
In Mario Puzo’s book titled The Godfather narrating the death of a certain pope who died in the late 1970s, a certain mafia character called Sindona made a profound revelation.
He said that when you want to rob a bank, you don’t do it by force of gun, start one and rob it from inside. Sindona’s words have been ringing in my head whenever the reason for Crane bank’s collapse is raised by my friends.
Fortunately, the current stories of Ruparelia’s bank robbery seem to have vindicated me and I will not be surprised if courts find him culpable. Ruparelia’s predicament should also serve as a lesson to those who want to grow rich through dubious means at the expense of the communities in which they live.
I believe that one can only become rich through genuine means.