For the past five years, the ministry of Education and Sports has been heavily relying on estimates for the number of learners and educational institutions across the country.
This follows the cessation of the partly donor-funded Educational Management Information System (EMIS) adopted by the ministry in 1999. The old system was abused by schools to the extent of inflating the figures of learners during the annual school censuses that ended in 2017.
According to the commissioner of Education planning, Robert Bellarmine Okudi, the ministry has embarked on a training spree for local government officials to roll out the redeveloped EMIS that is fully funded by the government.
The ministry plans to train 1,327 stakeholders comprising 339 local government officials and 988 selected heads of education institutions from 174 local governments across the country. Okudi said the local government core teams and 52 EMIS support officers are expected to further build the capacity of other stakeholders to ensure timely submissions of data.
“The ministry will not rely on hard copies of enrolment figures to plan for the next financial year 2024/25. This is why EMIS is important for us to capture the accurate statistics so that we spend accordingly,” Okudi said while closing an EMIS training workshop for local government officials at Kibuli Core Primary Teachers College on September 8.
He said all government-aided schools must submit data through EMIS by the end of October while the deadline for private ones has been fixed for December 2023. Headteachers who fail to adhere to the set deadlines will be penalized accordingly.
“We have the power of appointment and dismissal of head teachers who fail to comply and we shall ensure that all government-aided schools are compliant. For private schools, we still hold onto the power of registering and licensing all education institutions,” he said.
To date, the ministry has uploaded 11.5 million students into the system, against the projected number of about 15 million learners across the entire education system.
Currently, the actual figures for educational institutions and learners remain unknown. Okudi is hopeful that by the end of 2023, there will be a “fair picture” of the status of all institutions in the country.
The EMIS captures data on learners, teaching and non-teaching staff, instruction materials, and school infrastructure, among others.
The assistant commissioner in charge of Statistics, Monitoring, and Evaluation at the ministry, Vincent Sozzi, observed that since the rollout of the revised system, uptake has been a challenge at an institutional level.
“During the training, you would see that education officials did not fully take up their responsibilities in the system. For instance, at the divisional level, KCCA didn’t know it has rights to approve accounts of schools,” Sozzi said.
The ministry also found that some head teachers hired ICT personnel to upload learners. They used personal instead of institutional emails to log onto the system and declined to share passwords with the school administrators. Sozzi said while generating an account, a password must be shared with at least three people in the school’s top management.
At least 45,000 schools have created accounts and can log onto the system. Of these, about 39,000 schools have uploaded data for learners, according to Sozzi. Some 25,000 schools are yet to be onboarded on the EMIS.