The World Bank is calling for further investment in Uganda’s education, particularly at the Secondary school level, to enable the country realize its 2025 target of increasing the lower secondary enrolment rate from 32 percent to 46 percent.
The recommendation is contained in the recently released World Bank economic update report which is issued after every after six months.
On Tuesday, the World Bank in Uganda held an engagement at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST), Kihumuro main campus, to discuss the findings of the 13th Uganda economic update report.
This year’s Update focused on basic education suggesting a package of measures to improve the efficiency of the sector.
Speaking at the forum, the World Bank country manager for Uganda, Antony Thompson said there’s more that needs to be done for Uganda to improve on is education outcomes.
The report highlights challenges including; congestion of lower classroom blocks, sharp drop out the rate in pupils’ enrolment and the insufficient number of secondary schools to absorb the growing demand associated with schooling.
“We are looking at how Uganda can expand particularly secondary education. Uganda has a commitment to universal access to secondary education but it still has a long way to go,” said Thompson.
“How can Uganda increase the lower secondary enrolment rate from 32% to 46% by 2025?”
During the meeting, different panelists supported the idea of reviewing the education curriculum, arguing that the current curriculum has failed to nurture students to compete in the job market.
They debated that Ugandans spend much time on studying theory yet the work space requires hands-on skills that can solve the real societal challenges.
In his submissions, the Youth MP for Western Uganda, Mwine Mpaka had reservations in regards to the proposal by the World Bank to scrap Primary Leaving Examinations.
He asked his fellow legislators to go slow on changing the curriculum at Primary School level.
“Much as you are making recommendations, let us go slow. Don’t be quick to adopt things from other areas and bring them to your home, they might affect you somewhere somehow,” the legislator said.
He says the outstanding challenge in Uganda’s education sector is the mismatch between what is taught in the classroom and what is required in the job market.
“You’re talking about increasing the budget for education and we have actually increased the education budget for the next financial year by about Shs 504billion. But is increasing the budget a solution? Is our problem the quality of education or the amount of money invested in education?” queried.
He rooted for a curriculum that will nurture job creators instead of job seekers who are the majority today.
“South Africa was mentioned among the countries investing a lot in education but the unemployment rate in South Africa now is 27% yet I would believe that a good indicator of a good education system is lower levels of unemployment”.
So, much as we want to increase the budget but we must increase the budget as we improve on the quality of education” the youth MP explained.
“We should standardize our education qualifications to the international level. The Degrees you get here can you get a job abroad. It is very bad how many universities in Uganda are recognized abroad? These are the questions we should be asking ourselves”.