By Nancy Emily Nagujja
The Ministry of Education through a press briefing released a statement on the distribution of S.1 and S.2 text books for the revised lower secondary school curriculum which was rolled out starting academic year 2020 with the S.1 Class.
The Ministry of Education and Sports would like to clarify and inform the public as follows: these textbooks are being distributed to all government and private Secondary Schools as per the data in the Education Management Information System (EMIS) of 2017. This explains that some Secondary Schools will not be ably availed with the textbooks during this distribution cycle. The Ministry is aiming at achieving a student-to-textbook ratio of 3 learners per textbook for Core Subjects like: English, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, History and Political Education. On the other hand, for the non-core subjects textbooks shall be distributed to attain a student-to-textbook ratio of 6:1.
Of the materials each school is to receive, 80 percent are textbooks for regular use, whereas 20 percent of the materials consist of textbooks for reference purposes. Relatedly, each school shall receive materials from three suppliers as follows: Supplier A will provide the 80 percent textbooks, Supplier B and C shall supply 15 percent and 5 percent to make 20 percent of the reference materials. Therefore, since all the suppliers are not using the same distribution means, schools should expect not to receive 100 percent of the materials at the same time. The publishers are expected to deliver the textbooks to the school door as per contract and the target is finalize distribution by the end of February 2022.
However the Ministry of Education and Sports is experiencing late completion of the distribution exercise than anticipated. More than 80 percent of our supplies were held up during the strike of truck drivers at Malaba border which has since come to an end. The delivery of the textbooks for S.1 and S.2 is intended to quality assure implementation of the Revised Lower Secondary School curriculum. Other textbooks that are used for the old curriculum may be utilized as reference materials where applicable.
The Ministry appeals to all stakeholders especially Local Governments, RDCs, and Members of Parliament to support its initiative by being vigilant in ensuring that the schools that are expected to receive the textbooks do so and in the correct quantities as per the distribution list which was uploaded on our Ministry’s website. Schools that will not have received any textbooks by end of February are advised to write to the Permanent Secretary by providing the details of the school including the enrolment of students in all Classes. The procurement of S.3 and S.4 textbooks for the cohorts that shall be using the Revised Lower Secondary Curriculum in those levels is in the final stages. These books are expected in schools before the next School Academic Year commences.
On commissioning of seed secondary schools, the Government of Uganda started the construction of 117 Seed Secondary Schools under the first Phase of the Uganda Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers Program for Results (UgIFT) in calendar year 2019. Of the 117, 69 are ready for commissioning in addition to the one earlier commissioned by His Excellency the President.
The summary of the ready schools per region are as follows: Ankole-7, Buganda-13, Bukedi-4, Bunyoro-4, Busoga-6, Elgon-4, Karamoja-5, Kigezi-4, Lango-8, Teso-7, Tooro-4 and West Nile with 3. Some of the schools include Kyankanda seed school, Ssugu seed school, Bukiiro seed school, Olok seed school, Malaba seed school, Ngwedo seed school, Lwemba seed school, Mukuto seed school, Rupa seed school, Nakapiripirit seed school, Nyakinama seed school, Muntu seed school, Kisuba seed school, Atyak seed school among others.
When a school that is ready for commissioning, it means that all the infrastructure that was set to be built is now in place and complete and the Schedule for commissioning shall be released within the coming days. These schools are already operational; implying that they are admitting learners and government has already availed them with: Capitation grants for at least 240 learners for the start and shall be increased once the CAOs inform us of the actual enrollment. Each school has some teachers out of the expected target of thirty-one. The Education Service Commission has promised to conclude the recruitment process by end of February 2022.
It has come to the attention of The Ministry of Education and Sports that some schools have converted some classrooms into dormitories. This action is not acceptable. All the Seed Secondary Schools under UgIFT are not boarding facilities except where express permission was granted by His Excellency the President. The Ministry calls upon the Chief Administrative Officers and Town Clerks to ensure that no Seed Secondary School is converted into a boarding facility without evidence of written permission from His Excellency the President and knowledge of the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education and Sports.
The Ministry appreciates the public for the enthusiasm with which the call for participation in the Education Policy review process was received. The Commission has since sent out formal requests for Memoranda to over eight hundred various individual and institutional stakeholders. These include individual Members of the 11th Parliament, government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, local governments, non-state actors among others. It encourages those who have received the call for submission of Memoranda to seize this opportunity to make their contribution on what needs to be done to make the Education and Sports system in our country become the catalyst for social-economic transformation.