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Close non-performing private schools - report

A report by Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (Iser) has recommended that public-private partnership (PPP) schools in the country that provide poor-quality education services be closed.

Introduced in 2007 under the Universal Secondary Education (USE) scheme, PPP schools were meant to effectively absorb the increasing number of students completing primary education.

This was due to an explosion of P7 graduates, as a result of the country’s Universal Primary Education policy (UPE) started in 1997. However, the 44-page report, unveiled at Makerere University recently, found that a significant number of PPP schools were below par.

“PPP schools are not providing the high quality of education that was promised through the programme and agreed upon through each school’s MoU with the government,” the report reads in part. “PPP schools lack basic infrastructure, instructional materials and laboratory inputs to facilitate learning, which has had an adverse effect on the quality of education students receive.”

ISER ED Salima Namusobya (2nd L) discussing the report

Presenting the report, Iser executive director, Salima Namusobya, explained that according to her research in nine districts, 28 schools were not compliant with the human rights standards applicable to the right to education.

“Data collected illustrates that despite the overall increase in enrollment, equitable geographical access to education has not yet been achieved under the PPP programme,” she said.

“The evidence further suggests that the PPP initiative has not succeeded in effectively reducing the significant obstacles impeding vulnerable and/or marginalised groups of students from accessing quality education.”

The report recommends that the government provide community schools with more support to meet the minimum standards, while regulating fees (tuition and non-tuition) and any other financial charges by PPP schools.

“There is need for a comprehensive policy on PPP in education that ensures adherence to human rights standards by both the government and private actors at all stages of PPP relation,” Namusobya added.

The state was also faulted for maintaining the capitation grant for private secondary schools at Shs 47,000 per student per year, yet this was economically-unsustainable. They called for the grant to be increased in tune with inflation.

Although he was speaking before the release of this report, president Museveni, speaking at the recent cabinet retreat in Munyonyo, appeared to be aware of the problem and pledged to plug the gaps in school performance.

tusiime.chris20@gmail.com

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