Education innovation introduces uniform material for all schools

By Deo Wasswa

In a move to bridge the gap between rural and urban education, Ugandan innovators have introduced an education digital platform that can avail uniform education material to all students across the country at free cost.

According to Alfred Opio the Executive Director, Kaino Africa and co-founder of the Kaino tablets, these gadgets have all textbooks required by  Ugandan curriculum and can as well generate self-assessments to students.

He said their mission is to avail these tablets to all schools in East Africa at free cost in a period of 12 month and the whole of Africa in three month.

He added that these gadgets are user friendly, cost effective and can be used in all regions regardless of their geographical difficulties

Karamoja needs more school: MP Lokeris

By Moses Kidandi
Members of parliament  from Karamoja sub region have attributed he poor performance of pupils to lack of basic school necessities in their area. The MPs have explained that the the entire population in Karamoja has adopted a positive attitude towards education.
However Member of Parliament Dodoth East Kabong ,Samson Lokeris  says much as they have embraced the need to go to school,they don’t have schools and teachers. Lokeris is appealing to the ministry of Education to prioritize the setting up of more schools in the region so as to have more children enrolled.

President Museveni endorses new O’level curriculum

The Director of the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) Dr Grace Birungi is optimistic that the new O’level curriculum will reduce learners load.

Dr Birungi says overlapping and repeated content has been merged and irrelevant content dropped because the curriculum was content heavy, sometimes beyond the capacity that O’level students could handle. Dr Birungi says the content in the new curriculum will be commiserating to the age level of students.

President Museveni last week gave a nod to the new O’level curriculum. Salient changes in the new curriculum include merging subjects such as Principles of Accounts and Commerce into Entrepreneurship while Technical Drawing, Wood Work and Metal Work have been merged into the newly-introduced subject – Technology and Design.

The number of O-Level subjects has been reduced to 20 from 32. The approved subjects include; English language, Mathematics, Geography, History, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Religious Education, Entrepreneurship, Foreign Languages, Local Languages, Kiswahili, Information Communication and Technology, Nutrition and Food Technology, Technology and Design, Performing Arts (Music, Dance and Drama), Fine Art, Physical Education, Agriculture and Literature in English.

Dr Birungi says the new curriculum will bring a huge relief to O’level learners who are young and still growing. There is no reason, she argued why these children should be given too much content.

She says the new curriculum does not mean current teachers will be dropped and new ones hired. The current teachers will go through rigorous training in the next two years before a new curriculum is rolled out in 2020.

Dr Birungi says there will be no back and forth movements in the new curriculum development since it has been approved by the president. The president had rejected an earlier curriculum in December 2016. She said NCDC got good advice in 2016 which helped them in the revision of the curriculum that has been accepted.

A continuous competence assessment based on skills attained in subjects taught from Senior One to four has also been introduced in the new curriculum. The continuous assessment will account for 20 percent of the O-Level final score at senior four.

Dr Birungi made the remarks at Uganda Media Centre today while addressing journalists on the revival of African Curriculum Organisation conference which will be hosted by Uganda from 28th to 31st. The conference will bring together and unite continental curriculum experts in a bid to improve education in Africa and share good practices.

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You can now save for your children’s education with ease

By Deo Wasswa

A parent spends between 10 to 14 million Uganda shilling on average to facilitate the education of three children on annual basis.
This is according to a simple research conducted by liberty Assurance in Kampala to provide the solution to the burden that parents are facing in meeting all costs of sustaining their children in schools.
Agatha Namara, the business Development manager at Liberty Assurance says following the survey, the company has developed the new product which was launched today dubbed ‘’SOMA PLAN’’ an education savings product that allows parents to save for their children’s education from as low as 50.000 Uganda shillings monthly.

Minister Muyingo says Government is looking at the University scholarship abolishment proposals

Government is studying proposals from key education stakeholders calling for the abolishing of government scholarships at the University.

Recently, Makerere University council, the supreme governing body of the university passed a resolution asking government to abolish government the scholarship scheme and replace it with government ls.

The university was responding to the queries raised by the 2016 Visitation Committee chaired by the late Dr. Abel Rwendeire. The committee recommended that Makerere implements a diversified funding model in order to make the institution financially sustainable and reduce reliance on government funding.

In response, the university said that while the university had already embarked on internal interventions to increase its revenue such as Makerere Holdings Company, endowment fund, the council advised government to consider abolishing the existing scholarships and loan the money to all university student.

Now, the Higher Education State Minister, John Chrysostom Muyingo, says government is studying the proposal, arguing that government cannot implement the proposal with conducting several studies.

He however, says government is still interested in both the loan scheme and the merit government schemes and that funding had been provided for both.

Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba, the former Makerere University Vice Chancellor, says such a decision to abolish scholarships at university must be consultative.

He argues that even if money was diverted to the loan scheme, government cannot be sure that the students who benefit from them will repay the money owning to lack of jobs.

Aggrey David Kibenge, the Under Secretary in the Education and Sports Ministry, says government will follow systematic processes to analyze such a decision and all recommendations by the Visitation Committee

 

 

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UCE examination leakage started in Iganga says UNEB boss

The recent leakage of Uganda Certificate of Examination (UCE) papers has been traced to Iganga district. The confirmation comes a week after media reports indicating that examination papers were circulating on social media long before they were done by the candidates.

UNEB Executive Secretary Dan Odongo says preliminary investigations have traced the leakage to storage station in Busesa. He adds that the area supervisor and scouts have since been arrested to aid investigations into the matter.

“The scout sent to guard the exam confessed that he was paid 1 million Shillings to give his keys to perpetrators of the fraud,” Odong told journalists in Kampala today.

According to Odongo, over 26 people from various districts have so far been arrested in relation to the examination leakage. Of the arrested; five were from Entebbe, five from Rwizi, four from Rwenzori west region, two from Serere, one from Amuria, nine from Kampala and one from Iganga.

They include private school teachers, a student, a director of a private school and bursar of a government school among others.

Odongo says the involvement of teachers is an “indictment of teachers who have made education a business.” He however adds that UNEB was still pondering the next course of action.

“Our scouts from other parts of the country have told us that examinations in their areas were going on well and were not affected by news of the examination leaks.”

“Until the impact is established, we shall not know what appropriate measure to take to handle the after effect of the exam. So for now we do not know whether we shall cancel the exam or reduce or increase the pass mark. We shall only know what to do after we establish what can be done.”

 

 

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Makerere assistant lecturer on spot for sexually transmitted marks

A report into sex for marks and sexual harassment scandal at Makerere University has implicated a lecturer of unprofessional conduct. Six of the eight female students interviewed by the Committee that investigated the scandal implicate Brian Musaga, a former Assistant lecturer in the College of Business and Management Studies- CoBAMS for sexual harassment.

The lecturer is battling similar accusations in court. A copy of the July 25th 2016 report seen by URN shows that, the lecturer would work until late in the night and weekends where he would invite female students to his A22 school of Statistics and Planning SSP office and make sexual advances.

“All students’ testimonies consistently indicated that Musaga worked very late hours which was further confirmed by the security guards and custodians,” reads the report. It notes that once at his office, Musaga would psychologically torture the female students and reprimand them for being there illegally before arousing them sexually to succumb to his advances.

The information that was compiled from students written submissions and oral testimonies was found to be consistent, according to the report. “The committee noted several similarities in the testimonies regarding the modus operandi used by Musaga to sexually harass students. The committee noted that the testimonies from independent students could only be similar if they were pointing to the same thing- the truth,” reads the report.

Adding that; “the contrary would hold only if the students had been coached on what to say, but the committee did not get evidence to this effect.” During the investigations, the Committee invited Musaga to present his defense to the allegations by the students in vain, saying he would only show with his lawyer. The report notes that when Musaga finally appeared with his lawyer he threatened to sue the University for Defamation.

Only of the all the staff from the college who interfaced with the committee indicated that they had heard claims from students implicating Musaga for sexually harassing him but they didn’t present any specific evidence. The committee noted that although rumors cannot be relied on to discipline a staff member, persistent and consistent rumors were basis for investigations.

“Failure to undertake an investigation by the department, school or college was considered by the committee as a great omission,” notes the report. URN understands that there were formal complaints about sexual harassment against Musaga dating back to November 2015. The complaints were handled at the school level, which led to his sacking in October 2015 as examinations coordinator.

“The school was unfair to the students by not undertaking an investigation of sexual harassment but instead took a lighter different direction,” the committee notes in its report. It was discovered that using his position as the examinations coordinator, Musaga, intimidated female students who had been caught in examination malpractice or failed papers by threatening that they would be dismissed from the university if they did not yield to his sexual demands.

“Threatening students with dismissal, he was misusing his authority as a lecturer and supervisor to solicit for sex and this is a basic ingredient of sexual harassment.” According to the report, Musaga appeared on July 19th 2016 with his lawyer, Robert Kayobyo to present his defense. However, his lawyer asked for adjournment, saying his client was too traumatized to appear yet he also had just received a letter to represent him.

However, the committee rejected the request, saying Musaga should have remained behind since the committee wanted to engage him not his lawyer. Musaga decided to leave with his lawyer. While the report was submitted to Makerere University Appointments Board for appropriate action, the Board Chairperson, Bruce Balaba Kabaasa, says they can’t take any action since the matter is before court.

He declined to comment on Mugasa’s contract, saying they will tackle the matter once court disposes off the matter.

The tribunal was chaired by Dr. Betty Ezati, Dean School of Education. Other members included Prof Florence Mutonyi D’ujanga, Moses Musinguzi, Goddy Muhumuza and Janet Nabukeera. The committee was among other things tasked to investigate allegations into Musaga’s case any other staff of the college and investigate allegations of sex for marks by staff and other related issues at the college.

 

 

 

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Arua school struggles to educate refugees, numbers are overwhelming

Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary General may have visited Arua last week, but it might take hours for Inyau Primary School to benefit from such a high-profile visit.

Guterres, who was in Uganda for the UN-backed Solidarity Summit on Refugees, on Thursday briefly visited Inyau on his way to Imvepi Refugee Settlement, home to over 100,000 refugees from South Sudan.

Located 57km from Arua town,  Inyau primary school is a Universal Primary Education school in Ijako Village, Lugbari Parish; Odupi Sub County. Being the nearest primary school to the refugee settlement, thousands of refugee children have flocked the school for lessons.

Hosting refugees appears to have had a toll on Inyau Primary School. The school has only nine teachers taking charge of 1,642 pupils. Of these, 1,050 are refugees. This has impacted on pupil assessment leading to poor performance.

Charles Draga, the School head teacher, says the numbers are overwhelming and have stretched the meagre resources including the seven classrooms and four toilet facilities.

According to Draga, the school has 896 boys and 746 girls. Boys share two latrines while girls share four which he says are not enough. Pupils sit on the floor while others stand due to shortage of furniture.

In an interview with the school head teacher, on average each classroom has 240 pupils compared to 55 the classes are designed for. He says that at the school, the conditions have worsened due to high numbers of pupils.

Draga notes that because majority of the pupils in the school are refugees, their attention span is low since the school doesn’t provide them with lunch.

“They leave earlier than expected. Few look healthy and others look really weak because of the hunger and other conditions,” Draga says.

Even with the overwhelming pupil numbers, Inyau primary school is yet to receive additional funding from government to take care of the pupils. From the previous pupil registration, Draga says that government has been giving the school about 800,000 Shillings quarterly as subvention.

He however says that they have not received any additional funding since the influx of refugees, something that has put pressure on the available facilities including toilets.

Ahead of Guterres’ visit to the Imvepi, the school benefited from construction of four temporary toilet structures.

While the world pays attention to the refugees in different settlement camps, Draga’s attention is on managing thousands of pupils in a school with space enough to accommodate less than half the number.

 

 

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The nation will miss a great educationist say minister Janet Museveni

By Segawa Robert
The first lady and minister of education Janet Museveni has described the late prof.Lawrence Mukiibi who died early this week as a great educationist.  Minister added that the nation will miss will miss him.
Speaking during the requiem mass at Rubaga Cathedral on Wednesday, the education minister said that the deceased lived a selfless life and worked to improve the education system of the country through his schools.
Cardinal Emmanuel Wamala said that the deceased was a great pillar of education in both Uganda and East African region at large.
His children described him as one who lived a simple life of helping and mentoring others.

Education minister, Janet Kataha urges UMI to research on cause of corruption

By Wasswa Deo

Minister for Education, Janet Kataha Museveni has urged the Uganda Management Institute to go beyond their usual research, and carryout a special research on behaviors of workers in both private and public sectors aimed at finding out what the major causes of  corruption and the immediate solution to this challenge.

Janet made the remarks during the Uganda Management Institute graduation ceremony, where hundreds graduated in management skills.

She also also advised the grandaunts to put into practice the skills  they have acquired from the institute in order to get the few jobs that are on labour market in the country.