52 years later: Is colonial education system relevant?
As Uganda celebrates 52 years of independence, unemployment and lack of skills are some of the major challenges hindering national development. This is attributed to the Uganda education system, which is more of theory than practical.
Experts say the current education system produces more of job seekers than creators.
According to Mr Fagil Monday, an educationist, the current education system focuses more on academics leading to the production of job seekers rather than job creators.
He says educational programmes such as mental work and vocational education were neglected and this is attributed to the public’s negative perception towards vocational institutions and courses and lack of proper sensitisation about the importance of such studies.
“There are few programmes aimed at promoting vocational education. Because of this, many students go to school targeting university education and white-collar jobs which are not available,” Mr Mandy says.
Mr Mandy , however, recommends the efforts being undertaken by the government in promoting the teaching of skill based programmes through the Skilling Uganda project but says a lot of sensitisation has to be made if the programme is to achieve its main objective of producing job creators.
“We need to appreciate the steps being taken to improve the study of vocational courses. The compulsory sciences being taught at O-Level, Information and Communications Technology courses and Sub math are all aimed at promoting vocational courses in the education system,” he adds.
The minister of Education and Sports, Jessica Alupo, says NRM government has transformed the education sector right from pre-primary to higher education. She says the Education Review Commission (EPRC) was set up in July 1987 to appraise the education system and recommend measures and strategies for improving the system. The commission was to focus on improving the system in order to progressively embrace modern curriculum and educational trends and development.
“It was also to equip students with productive and modern marketable skills, produce socially responsible citizens, review and reformulate the general objectives of the school as a whole as well as at each level among others,” she says.
Following the recommendations of EPRC, government through the Government White Paper of 1992, put in a set of recommendations for implementation. It was considered necessary to introduce and implement major reforms in education in line with the Education White Paper.
“Such reforms were in the areas of policy and legal framework as well as other measures to increase access, improve quality and enhance equity at all levels of the education system,” Ms Alupo says. The government also introduced Universal Primary Education in 1997 to reduce illiteracy levels in the country.
The number of teachers has also increased from 64,779 in 1986 to181, 346 and the number of primary schools grew from7, 351 to 22, 000 by 2012.With the introduction of hardship allowances to primary school teachers in hard to reach areas the quality of education has improved.
The government has also rehabilitated war affected schools in the northern region under the peace, recovery and development programme.