Development partners urge government to intervene on menstrual hygiene issues

By Zirimala Daudi
Uganda will be joining the rest of the world to mark the menstrual hygiene management day on 28th may at a time when Uganda is still facing a huge burden of having menstrual hygiene among her female population mainly among school going girls.
According to health expert Dr. Edson Muhwezi ,there is need for every Ugandan be it a cultural, religious, political, community, CSO leaders and parents to take up the matter to help facilitate girls with sanitary pads during their menstrual periods for them to enjoy living a comfortable life.
He says Ugandans should utilize this day to embrace the plight of the girl’s education by eliminating the barriers to their education through putting in place policies to help them.
 Development partners and advocacy groups have also advised government that menstrual hygiene issues need a comprehensive approach if the country is to register positive results that will see female citizens in this country live a respectable life.
According to the development manager at straight talk foundation, Walakira Godfrey said that Menstrual hygiene in Uganda is a less discussed topic in Uganda with less budgetary allocation towards this vote by govt which has seen many Ugandan school going girls either drop out of school or loose most of their school time trying to attend to this issue which has continued to impact negatively on their lives.
Govt had to allocate UGX.16Bn in this financial year to give out free sanitary pads to school but later it was revealed that it has insufficient funds to facilitate this vote in the national budget which has created worries among school going girls in rural areas.

Makerere appointments committee commence search for new Vice chancellor

The Makerere University Council, the supreme governing body of the institution, has kicked off the search process for the next Vice Chancellor.

In a day-long meeting on Thursday at Makerere University Council room, the council chaired by Eng. Dr. Charles Wana Etyem nominated Hon. Irene Ovonji Odida, the Vice Chairperson of council together with Bruce Balaba Kabaasa, the appointments committee chairperson as council representatives to search committee.

Section 31 (3) of the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act stipulates that a search committee composed of two members from the University Council and three members from the University Senate shall identify suitable candidates for the post of Vice Chancellor and forward them to the Senate to nominate three candidates for recommendation to the University Council.

Section 31 (4) of the Act stipulates that the Vice-Chancellor shall be appointed on terms and conditions determined by the University Council for five years and shall be eligible for re-appointment for one more term.

Kabaasa told URN that this is a routine process required by the law and that council had just started the process.

During the 67th graduation ceremony, the Vice Chancellor Prof. John Ddumba Ssentamu thanked the University Chancellor for an opportunity to serve as the vice Chancellor. Prof. Ddumba assumed office on September 1, 2012 and his five-year renewable term will come to a close on August 31.

The University Council agreed that Hon. Irene Ovonji Odida will Chair the Search Committee for the next Vice Chancellor.

Speaking after the council meeting, Ritah Namisango, the University senior Publicist told URN that the fiver-member search committee will be fully constituted in two weeks’ time.

“The three remaining representatives will be nominated by Makerere University Senate within two weeks.”





Makerere deputy registrar fired over extortion

Margaret Etuusa, the Makerere University Deputy Registrar in charge Certification, Ceremonies and Production Division-CCPD has been suspended.

Etuusa is accused of illegally hiring a company that fleeced money from parents and graduands during the just concluded 67th graduation ceremonies at the university under the guise of securing their mobile phones and gadgets.

In a March 7th 2017 letter, Acting Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Associate Prof. Okello Ogwang, suspends Etuusa over what he termed as abuse of office and overstepping her mandate. “Preliminary investigations have shown that you are the officer at the centre of the controversy of purported fleecing of money from unsuspecting members of the public, and attempting to paint the good image of Makerere University “black”,” Ogwang said.

Ogwang adds: “It has been discovered that you irregularly handled the process of charging phone owners without approval of the University Authority.”  Etuusa reportedly single-handedly permitted Exxon Contractors Limited to provide phone custody services during the 67th graduation ceremony after paying Shillings 1 million into the academic registrar’s account.

Prof. Ogwang says that by single handedly contracting the company, Etuusa overstepped her powers. “You overstepped your powers and abused your office by single-handedly procuring the phone handler, which resulted into fleecing money from the unsuspecting members of the public and denting the university image,” reads Ogwang’s letter.

According to Prof. Ogwang, Etuusa’s conduct flouted provisions of the public procurement law –PPDA Act– because she usurped the powers of the Contracts Committee. “So your actions are susceptible to fraud, abuse of office, and tantamount to gross misconduct contrary to the well-known and laid down procurement laws, policies and procedures,” he contends.

Prof. Ogwang has ordered Etuusa to vacate the university office with immediate effect and stay away from the Senate Building during her suspension period. Etuusa will be on half pay during her suspension. “Your written explanation was found not convincing. Accordingly, you are hereby suspended on half pay with immediate effect and your matter is forwarded to the Appointments Board for disciplinary action,” Ogwang’s letter reads.

Ogwang instructs Etuusa to handover all university property in her possession to the Academic Registrar and and the Director of Human Resources.

Etuusa’s suspension follows a public outcry during and after the 67th Graduation Ceremony last month about the university decision to charge them for securing their phones and electronic gadgets. This prompted Dr. Tanga Odoi, the Makerere University Convocation-MUC chairman to write to the university secretary calling for Etuusa’s suspension and inquiries into the matter.

In his February 27th, 2017 letter, Dr. Odoi noted that while the function was colourfully organised, it had selfish members of the university who used it as an extortion avenue to reap money from parents and graduands.

“Media reports on mismanagement of graduation ceremony casted doubts on our ability to manage financial resources as the university. I have received numerous calls from staff and alumni over these reports, citing possible ramifications on the perimeter wall project funding. Reports also cites loss of university income due to insider trading involving some university officers which were illegal,” noted Dr. Tanga.

Etuusa has not yet commented on the accusations and the new development as she couldn’t be reached by our reporter.




Premier Rugunda announces government plan to send food supplies to schools across the country

Government plans to supply food to schools across the country due to a shortage triggered by a prolonged dry spell, Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has said.

Rugunda told parliament last evening that food will be provided through the District Education Committees in all the 116 districts. The committees will then determine the schools that need urgent relief noting that severe food shortages have impacted on school attendance.

Rugunda added that the matter will further be discussed at a Cabinet meeting today.

The commitment followed a passionate and heated debate on an action plan to mitigate the food insecurity situation in the country. This was part of a joint statement presented by Agriculture Minister Vincent Ssempijja and State Minister for Disaster Preparedness Musa Ecweru.

Ecweru said that the most food insecure regions include Teso, Karamoja, Bukedi, the Cattle Corridor, Busoga, Lango, Acholi and parts of central Uganda. He said that these areas had started receiving relief food from the Office of the Prime Minister.

He added that the food crisis situation had impacted severely on the attendance in schools especially in the rural government primary schools where children find it hard to go to school on empty stomach.

Ecweru told parliament that the current relief stocks stand at 30,000-100kgs bags of maize flour, 7000- 100kgs bags of beans and 119,660 50kgs bags of rice. He said the food items worth 22.2 billion Shillings were a donation from the government of China.

Ecweru told parliament that the Japanese government has pledged to support particularly the Karamoja Sub-region through the World Food Program towards feeding in schools.

Agriculture Minister Vincent Ssempijja said that bean seeds are scarce due to the drought and that government can only provide 600,000 kilograms worth 2.4 billion Shillings.

Members of parliament demanded for adequate funding to the agriculture sector.




Education ministry to approve private and government school budgets

The Ministry of Education has directed both private and government schools to submit their school fees structures for the last three years not later than March, 10 2017. Schools will equally be expected to seek authorization before increasing charges.

The directive comes amid public outcry on the ‘unrealistic’ and ‘prohibitive’ school charges a trend which could deny Ugandan children access to education.

Last week, a Civil Society Organisation – the Initiative for Social and Economic rights (ISER), petitioned parliament challenging high tuition and non-tuition fees charged by government aided schools.

The CSO presented a breakdown of fees structures which they described as problematic citing non-tuition charges like development fees and entrance fees among others that need to be justified.

They presented a circular from St. Mary’ College Kisubi indicating special development fees of 500,000 Shillings required from each student prior to admission.

They also presented is an admission circular from St. Henry’s College Kitovu indicating payments like maintenance fees of to 391,600 Shillings, Centenary project fund of 120,000 Shillings, Pastoral care of 35,000 Shillings, and development fund 120,000 Shillings among others.

But Education Minister Janet Kataaha Museveni says that such exorbitant fees compromise government’s objective of providing affordable education for all.

She said that the fees are in most cases raised arbitrarily and without recourse to established official procedure which requires a head teacher who intends to raise school fees to seek and obtain official permission from the education ministry Permanent Secretary (PS).

She directed that no secondary school shall increase school charges for whatever reason without authorization from the Permanent Secretary Education Ministry.

Kataaha added that some secondary schools have been operating without approved budget estimates as required by the law.

She said that she has already instructed the education ministry PS Alex Kakooza to re-issue the existing guidelines that should be followed by all head teachers and secondary schools boards of governors and enforced by authorities at the central and local government levels.

Public Schools will be now required to submit their school fees structure to the commissioner in charge of government secondary schools while privately owned secondary schools shall submit to commissioner private schools and institutions.

UACE results out, female students perform better than the males

By Wasswa Deo
UNEB withholds results of 64 candidates that sat from 11 center over malpractice pending further investigation.  Indicating a significant drop from 279 Cases with held in 2017. 
  The examinations body has registered an improvement in the performance of students who sat for 2016 UACE as compared to 2015.
According to the results, a very high percentage of candidates 98.7% qualified for the award of the UACE certificate,  2016 performance. 39,797 candidates passed with 3 principal passes,27,831 with 2 principal passes,21,031 with principal passes,12,836 with one subsidiary 
Districts with highest students who passed with 3 principle passes are Wakiso 9299 at , Mukono 3374 , Kampala 6366 ,  and Mbarara 1000 . 1363 candidates  failed completely and a total of  102858 sat examination . 
In terms of percentages,female candidates performed better at A- level in all the large entry subjects accept general paper . Economics and sciences were generally poorly done,Biology was the worst done with only 40.8 % obtaining an E principal level pass .
District with fewer students with principal pass 3 are Buvuma 00, Nakapiripirit 00, Napaka 8 Zombo 9 Katakwi  .
The best performed subjects include, History, Islamic and religious education, Literature in English ,Art,  and geography while the worst done were  biology, sub math,physics

NSSF ,KCCA organize a run for a cause to renovate 2 Kampala schools

By Wasswa Deo

The National Social security Fund and Kampala Capital City Authority have launched the second edition of NSSF Hash Seven Hills Run aimed at raising 200 million to renovate Makerere University primary school and Summit Vienna Army primary school in Kampala to create better learning environment.

The run will take place on March 12th and will cover 22 kilometers while traversing seven historical hills in Kampala and these are Kibuli, Old Kampala, Namirembe, Ribaga, Lubiri, Nsambya and Nakasero.

Speaking at the launch, the executive director KCCA has noted that, they still need a lot of funds to effectively improve the infrastructure of the 79 public schools  in Kampala

Musisi says by the time was appointed the executive director, infrastructure in Kampala public schools was even worse to an extent that one toilet was serving 100 pupils.  “With efforts put in place the situation has changed and one toilet is now serving 50 pupils’’ she added.

Richard Byarugaba, the executive director, NSSF Richard Byarugaba says, this campaign will go far to support education of the underprivileged in the society.

A total of 65 million shillings was collected in the first edition of the run and went to the renovation of Nakivubo settlement primary schools and construction of a water facility at St. Ponsiano Kyamula primary school.

Rural government aided schools register low student turn up due to food shortage

A severe food crisis that hit Soroti district in Eastern Uganda is affecting classroom attendance in schools across the district. A decline in pupils is visible in all government aided schools especially in rural areas.

The schools including Akaikai P.7, Moruapesur P/S, Telamot Primary School, Akisim P.7 School, Fr. Hilders P/S, Pamba P/S, Omodoi P/S ,Teso boarding P/s and Majengo Primary school have continued to receive low number of pupils reporting for term one.

In January, the district disaster preparedness committee confirmed that over 17,000 households were starving after a prolonged drought that devastated gardens during first and second planting seasons.

As a result, some parents keep their children at home to help them look for food while others are unable to afford scholastic materials including books, uniforms and other requirements due to loss of livelihood.

The inspection report for the first week of the school term obtained from all the 79 government schools in Soroti indicates that on average about 40 percent of learners have not reported at all. Soroti District Inspector of Schools Simon Emoru Enangu says the drought has terribly affected enrollment in schools.

Enangu warned parents against holding their children at home saying this may affect the learner’s ability hence poor performing.

Philemon Oryada, the head teacher of Akaikai primary school in Soroti district says enrollment of pupils at this school has dropped by over 40 percent.  Oryada says the school used to register over 1,000 pupils within the first week of the school term. However, today, as the second week comes to an end, only 600 pupils are actively attending classes.

Stella Chebet, a resident of Soroti town says she is struggling to make her children find food before sending them to schools. Chebet adds that for her, food is a priority before she can start looking for books.

Guidelines for School Feeding and Nutrition issued by the Ministry of Education provide for a parent-led school feeding programme which gives parents the responsibility to provide food for their children.



Authorities task Kabale headteachers to explain poor performances

Head teachers of all government aided schools in Kabale District have been directed to explain the poor performance of candidates in the 2016 Primary Leaving Examinations.

According to results released last month by the Uganda National Examinations Board, only 334 candidates out of a total of 5,519 candidates obtained division one. Another 2018 students obtained division two, 1314 obtained division three.

The results further indicate that 502 students obtained division four while 153 failed the examinations. In addition, 81 out of 152 primary schools in the District, failed to register any single candidate in division one.

The most disturbing results were from Musamba primary school in Rubaya Sub County where, 17 out of the 23 candidates were ungraded, four obtained fourth grade, and only two attained grade two.

Now authorities have tasked head teachers in whose schools failed to register impressive results to explain the cause of the poor performance.

Kabale Chief Administrative Officer Abert Matsiko Mutungwire says that every primary school in the district was capable of recording more than four candidates in division one. To his dismay, many of the schools struggled to excel adding that head teachers need to take full responsibility for the decline in performance.

Mutungwiire says that authorities will use the reports from head teachers as a basis for future action to redeem the education sector and improve performance of students. He adds that some head teachers could be severely punished if it turns out that they failed to play their part. Such punishment could include demotions, among others.

Kabale District Chairperson Patrick Besigye Keihwa says that education authorities will table the reports and apology letters written by head teachers before education stakeholders and District Service Commission for discussion.

Kabale District Education Officer Sabiiti Kenneth Baabo says that the head teachers whose schools performed poorly yet they have a record of absenteeism will not survive the demotion.

S.4 results out , females beat males at English

By Wasswa Deo

The Uganda National Examination Board has today released the S.4 examination results for the year 2016.

Female candidates performed better than males in English and Christian religious education, whereas their male counterparts performed better in all the other large entry subjects.

A total of 323276 candidates sat examination of these 157364 where USE beneficiaries.

The worst performed science subject was physics whereas CRE, Geography, Mathematics, Agriculture and Art showed improved performance at distinction grades.