Brac master card foundation to boost businesses affected by COVID-19

By Alice Lubwama

Brac Uganda bank has received funding worth 4.6 million dollars from Master card foundation to support clients whose Business have been affected by COVID-19 pandemic and support on line education for over 2000 learners.

While launching the master card foundation COVID-19 recovery and resilience program in Kampala the managing director Brac Uganda Jimmy Adiga said that the money will mainly support women entrepreneurs who have been hit hard by COVID-19. So that they can have new working capital to revive their business.

Adiga also says that part of this money will be extended to learners in form buying them tablets and data so that teachers can provide them with learning material to enable them continue studying at home.

Adiga says the funds will also be used to procure health preventive facilities such as hand washing materials and sanitizers in public places such as markets because this where majority of their clients operate.

The head business development and strategy Brac Uganda Alemi William Kenyi says over 5400 clients will benefit from the funds at a
discounted rate of 15% to help the them kick start their businesses that closed down due to the pandemic.

He says that the survey they conducted amongst their clients revealed that 31% of the clients wanted support to push their businesses.

Kole MP Okello asks government to regulate school fees

By Alice Lubwama

Kole North legislator Bonny Okello has appealed to Government to come up with standard fees for public secondary schools so that students can complete their education.

In an interview with the lawmaker, he noted that many bright children have dropped out of school after primary seven because their parents cannot afford to pay the high fees in government schools.

Okello says majority of the parents have been in the IDP camps for a long time and depend on subsistence farming so they cannot raise 400,000 shillings charged per term.

“Right now an average government school pays around UGX400,000 per term which is quiet pricey for an ordinary person in the constituency to raise that money”. Okello said

The MP says seed schools were meant to support those areas which are disadvantaged but they are also charge exorbitant fees.

The mp says that the children would have joined the technical and vocational institutions after primary seven but there is no single institution in his constituency.

Okello adds that more girls were dropping out of schools to pave way for the boys to continue with their studies.

According to census report 2014, only 16000 people with had O`Level in Kole district considering a population of 40,000 people.

MPs oppose guidelines to allow pregnant girls in school

By Alice Lubwama

A section of lawmakers have opposed the guidelines being drafted by the ministry of Education to retain pregnant girls in schools saying this will encourage more to get pregnant.

This was during a consultation meeting between MPS under Uganda parliamentary association and officials from the Ministry of education on the guidelines.

The commissioner basic education in the ministry of education Mugenyi Cleophus says the number of teenage pregnancies have escalated during this time of Covid19 pandemic when school girls are Idle at home.

But legislators such as James Waira Magyegere Bunya east and Noeline Kisembo Kibaale woman MP say that the girls should be only allowed to continue with their studies after giving birth ,because keeping them pregnant in schools with others will be sending a bad signal.

Among the proposals in the guidelines all teachers shall protect the pregnant girls and adolescent mothers from stigma and discrimination.

The schools will also be required to form health committees with counselors who will be in charge of counseling the pregnant girls who will be allowed in schools till six months.

The parents shall be required to report the schools that fails to admit their daughter to the district education officer.

UBA holds virtual mentoring and reading sessions in commemoration of day of the African child

By Edwin Muhumuza

UBA Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of United Bank for Africa (UBA) , joined the rest of the world to celebrate African children in this year’s edition of the International Day of the African Child.

The United Nations set aside June 16 every year, as the International Day of the African Child to celebrate children in Africa where it recognizes the courage of students who marched for their right to better education in Soweto South Africa.

The Managing Director, UBA Foundation, Bola Atta, said, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant lock down on educational institutions, they were not able to visit schools and community centers as is its usual practice, however, the Foundation held activities online, where students of secondary schools were afforded the opportunity to watch and listen to virtual mentoring and reading sessions.

During the virtual session, Bola Atta, spoke to the students on various issues, ranging from financial literacy and the importance of imbibing good reading culture to nation building further explaining why UBA Foundation centers on three key pillars of Education, Empowerment and Environment, adding that the bank through its foundation, recognizes the huge role that education and indeed a good reading culture has to play in the lives of the youth.

She said, “These days school children barely make out time to read and are easily distracted by the presence of electronic social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others; and to curb this declining culture of reading across the continent, UBA Foundation came up with the ‘Read Africa’ project, designed to resuscitate the reading culture amongst our youths across the African continent.

“As a pan-African institution, we believe that the future of Africa lies in her youth and for this reason, UBA Foundation is actively involved in facilitating educational projects and bridging the literacy-wide gap on a pan-African scale, and is helping to rekindle the dwindling reading and literacy culture amongst African youths as they pursue their education,” Atta said.

While emphasising the belief that a highly educated and well-informed youth is critical to the future of Africa, Atta seized the opportunity to read a few passages of the recommended novel to students and encouraged them to visit the UBA Foundation website to register and gain access to read some more at their leisure.

UBA through its Foundation has been at the forefront to developing the manpower needed by Africa to exploit emerging opportunities and propel the continent to higher levels of development.

Private teachers’ association asks government for financial intervention

By Alice Lubwama

The National Private Educational Institutions Association are asking government to help them pay salaries for the teachers in private schools for at least a year.

The leaders of the association made the request while appearing before the National Economy committee of Parliament to present a situation report on their sector in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic.

The National Research officer to the association Karabira Hasadu Iwho presented the report before the committee lamenting that the education sector has been one of the most affected by the pandemic. He states that many schools are now in debt due to rent and salary arrears.

Kirabira has also called upon government to waive direct tax subscriptions and fees like PAYE income tax and property rates for a period of three years to enable parents and schools to recover from the economic shock.

Kirabira noted that by time schools closed about 80 percent of the parents had not cleared their school dues and they would like to be assisted.

Janet Museveni : Cheating in schools show inadequacies in the education system

By Deo Wasswa
Minister for education and sports, Janet Kataha Museveni has noted with great concern the increasing number of teachers are getting involved in circulation of fake examination papers to make money. Sadly, many schools fell victim of this and taught their candidates through the night, only for poor learners to find that the examination papers had very different content.

She noted this while releasing 2019 Primary leaving examination at Kampala parents school.

According to Janet, the corrupt and fraudulent action of these teachers caused candidates to perform poorly.

She has also commended the security agencies for arresting many of these criminals and hopes the courts of law will hand down appropriate punishments upon conviction.

She added that when school participate in buying these papers and teaching the content to the candidates overnight , it is a sign of serious inadequacies in the teaching / learning process in schools.

Uganda National Examinations Board has registered an improvement in the performance of the pupils who sat for the 2019 Uganda leaving examinations.

According to UNEB executive secretary Daniel Odongo, out of the Total Number of candidates 695,804 of which 336,040 (48.3) boys and 359,764 (51.7) are female who sat for exams,617,150 (90.4%) passed the exams.

According to the results,69,243 (10.1%) passes with division one,318,155 in second division and 140,420 in third division.

89,332 have passed in the forth division while 66,152 accounting for 9.6% are ungraded.

Odongo says that the performance of this year has improved silently compared to the performance of pupils who sat in 2018.

Minister Bahati says refugees are not to blame for under development

By Deo Waswa

High teenage pregnancy rates, high school dropout rates, unemployment and lack of access to reproductive health services are some of major challenges that have persisted in the country despite the efforts put in place by government, private sector and civil society organization to ensure development of the country.

According to the state minister for finance and planning David Bahati, while addressing journalists about government’s preparations ahead of world population day celebrations due to take place on 11 July at Paridi stadium in Adjumani district.

According to him, Teenage pregnancy has remained high at 25% which translates that one in four girls getting pregnant before the age of 19, and as result, many adolescent girls are denied their right and opportunity to education which traps them in a cycle of poverty.

He however noted that the coming of refuges in the country is not a threat to the increasing population of the country because the rate at which they produce is far below than the Ugandans(Nationals)

Currently Uganda has a population of not less that 40.3 million people and by the year 2050 the population is projected to increase up to 101 million people.

In Africa Nigeria still ranked no one with population of about 191 million people, followed by Ethiopia with over 104 million people, Egypt in third with over 90 million people and Uganda in 10th position.

Education minister warns against PTCs operating without minimum requirements

By Deo Wasswa

The 2018 examination results for grade three teachers’ Certificate in primary teacher education have been released today by the minister for education Janat Kataha Museveni.

The results show there was a slight improvement in all subjects except mathematics where the average performance was at 72.2% compared to 85.5% in other subjects.

A total of 11164 candidates registered for the examinations as compared to 15944 who sat for the same examinations in 2017.

The results show that the best done subjects were Agriculture education, integrated production skills, early childhood education, physical education, local language education, professional education studies, social studies education, and religious education.

The examinations were done in 58 examination centers of which 46 are government and 12 privately owned.

The results further show that out of 11164 candidates who sat the examination, 7304 passed, 3316 failed and 554 are ungraded.

The results also show that only 16 distinction was registered, 725 credits and 263 passes.

The best two performing colleges in order were, Rukungiri PTC in Rukungiri district and Canon Apolo PTC in Kabalole district, all of them attained an overall percentage pass over 90%.

While releasing the results, Kataha has urged Primary teaching colleges not only to celebrate for the performance but should work tirelessly for a better quality of the education sector in the country.

She has also noted with concern that the ministry of education will not tolerate with those colleges that operate with less than 100 students and also those operating with no minimum required standards because it may lead colleges to produce half backed professionals.

Innovation fund to help with poverty alleviation

By Daudi Zirimala

The government of Uganda has come up with an Innovation Fund Frame work intended to promote innovators work by identifying those scientists who come up with innovations that help alleviate poverty.

This was revealed by the commissioner in the ministry of Science, Technology and Innovations Willy Ofwono Osinde saying the Innovation Fund framework was passed by parliament and through this fund the government will be able to support innovations in the country.

Speaking during the Academia Meet industry conference, Ofwono through this fund the ministry of science will be able to identify who qualifies for this fund most especially those innovators that come up with innovation that can generate household incomes.

The conference is intended to bridge the gap between the labor market and the education sector in partnership with action aid Uganda, silver bullet among others to bring together various stakeholders including policy makers, students, young innovators, employers and scholars to foster a discussion on career and opportunities in science, technology, industry and innovation fields under the them harnessing engineering, science and innovation for Uganda’s economic growth.

Speaking at the official opening, Didas Muhumuza,Extractives coordinator action aid Uganda said that there is visible misalignment between education sector and potential employers on the skill set and workforce requirements.

“Through collaborative efforts such as these, there can be full awareness of the skills the industry needs to achieve its goals to enable targeted actions such as expanding the skills base and inform employee development and hiring program,” said Muhumuza.

“In order for Uganda to fast track socioeconomic development, there is need for expansion of engineering capacity, we want to ensure that the workforce is suitably prepared for the current and future needs of the industry and the country,”said Maryanne Karamagi Executive director of Silver Bullet, the brain behind the Academia meet industry Convention 2019.

According to Vision 2040, Uganda intends to re-orient itself to make innovation the main driver of economic growth and the key pillar of competitiveness in trade and this necessitates drastic change of approach to education sector with full support from government and the private sector so that the linkage between Science, Technology and Innovation and economic development is strengthened.

Vocational and technical institutes examination results out

By Alice Lubwama
The directorate of industrial training and the Uganda business and technical examinations board has released results for vocational and technical examinations for October November,December 2818,indicating an improvement in the enrollment of candidates.

The results being released at office of the prime minister at function presided over by the first lady who is also minister of education Janet museveni show that female candidates still dominate business programs leaving the vocational programs to their male counterparts.

The overall enrollment of male students tripled that of females in technical programes.

Releasing the business and technical examinations, the
Executive secretary of UBTEB Onesmus oyesigye called for a campaign to attract more female in the technical training saying because this will reduce on the level of unemployment.

About 69candidates will have their results cancelled due to examination malpractices.

The vocational and technical examination bodies observed that most institutions we’re teaching subjects like soft skills,entrepreneurship,and mathematics with out the technical background affecting the performance of candidates in mathematics, English and computer aided drawing.

The regulatory bodies for the vocational and technical institutions also want the ministry of education to prevail over the instructions which are issuing certificates to candidates without them being assessed by these bodies.

UBTEB has also asked the first lady Janet Museveni to act as a role model for the young girls to attract them into vocational education.