By: Mugisha Gilbert Karengye
Before government incepted UPE in Uganda, store http://davidyoho.com/wp-content/plugins/woocommerce/templates/archive-product.php there used to be staff houses in school premises. These houses were so important that my teachers would attend to class in time and attend to all other curricular activities and this was one of the tenets that contributed to some good grades at PLE.
It is not only at my school but to be honest, sale even other schools had staff houses. Members in this forum that studied before the coming of UPE, stomach can bear witness. These houses used to be constructed by parents in partnership with the school management committees and foundations bodies.
When the government programme of UPE came in, the government just scrapped off the building funds and some other little amounts of money that parents used to pay to help in our studies and the welfare of teachers and this means those houses are no long there.
What amuses me is that the government transfers a teacher from his village school to a distant place and what happens is that a teacher finds no staff house for him/her and opts to rent a house in an urban or semi-urban centers which centers are even far from the villages where these UPE schools are located putting in Mind the fact that there are no rental houses in villages.
How will this teacher make it under UPE programme? I have heard some CAOs and District chairpersons especially in my home district of Kabale, threatening to transfer, suspend, demote or even expel teachers whose schools they are teaching have not performed at UPE. This is a shame if you put in consideration what used to be there in schools for better grades before UPE was incepted in 1997.
I have on several occasions heard the president and his wife who is minister for education, directing school head teachers under UPE, to deter them from charging even the trivial fees which they charge currently yet these monies are so useful in the performance of children at PLE.
Does the president and other leaders really know the use of money in education? By then, the building fund due to the economic situation of that time would not go beyond even 1000, for remedial studies we used to pay not more than 2000 every term and this was not much money for a parent who wanted to lay a firm foundation for his/ her child’s bright future.
I appreciate the government for introducing free education whose aim was to tap those Ugandans who would have not joined education at all, but I think the government hurriedly introduced it without considering some issues that are so crucial when it comes to Education and this has greatly affected the academic performance.
I think it is high time we looked at what used to raise the standard of education before UPE.
I think UPE was wrongly introduced. There is a need for the government to sit down and look at the core requirements of a successful and fruitful education system instead of playing blame games every year after releasing shameful results of our children after accomplishing primary seven.
UPE was supposed to consider the issue of staff houses and renovate them annually or termly and if possible construct new ones. When you plan for pupils and neglect teachers, then the whole system is incomplete. Of course there are other factors but I have singled out staff houses and the money paid by parents.
God bless you all, God bless Uganda.
The author is a radio presenter at Western Uganda based Endigyito Radio.