Government launches graduate volunteer scheme

By Edwin Muhumuza

The government of Uganda through the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development (MGLSD)with support from the United Nations Development Program have launched the Graduate Volunteer Scheme (GVS).

The project aims at contributing to efforts of addressing persistent employment challenges faced by Ugandan young graduates by leveraging volunteerism as an essential mechanism for skills development.
It aims to create employment avenues for young graduates while building capacity of national institutions, private sector and other partners to mainstream youth employment into their work places. This while ensuring young graduates have a full-on job package that includes coaching, mentor ship, linkages to role models to guide them along their career path.
‘This is our contribution to the national strategy to increase availability and quality of employment and enhance human capital in this country. Said Rosa Malango ,the UN Resident Representative.

Volunteers are matched depending on the available placement opportunities. The process of matching and placing volunteers is led by the selection committee and both volunteers and host institutions have opportunity to participate in the recruitment process. Volunteers also go through a 3 days residential orientation training to induct them on their volunteer placements.

‘Through this scheme our aspirations is that total of 500 young graduates will be placed in various institutions for 12 months period at a time. During that time they will acquire skills related to their area of study.’ Malango added.
So far 100 graduates have been recruited, trained and placed,50% male and female,18% masters ,78% bachelors and 4% diploma/advanced certificate; and 5 graduates with disabilities.
On his part Permanent secretary Ministry of Gender Pius Birimana noted that ‘’This scheme is going to impart hands-on skill to graduates and should be noted that the future prosperity of this country depends ultimately on the number of persons in employment and also how productive they are at work’

According to the 2017 Uganda National Household Survey,78% of the population is below 30 years. Related to that every year about 600,000- 700,000 Ugandans enter the labor market,95% of whom are youth. Youth unemployment persists since many of them lack work experience, skills needed by the labor market plus limited connection to enterprise role models and innovative solutions.

Janet Museveni calls upon religious leaders to join struggle against early marriages

By Deo Wasswa

The first lady also the minister for education and sports, Janet Kataha Museveni has challenged religious and cultural leaders to break the cycle of teenage pregnancy and early marriage in communities.

Speaking during the commemoration of international day for girl child, Janet noted that if it means to arrest family members that have continue to marrying off children, should start now.

“Africa cannot continue in this direction where girls are being married off below 18 years.’’ Janet said. She noted that marrying off children at early age will contribute the creation of families that have no future.

She said cultural and religious leaders must be at the forefront in fighting early marriages and each priest or bishop should consider condemning early marriages whenever they are preaching word of God to believers in their respective churches or mosques.

Speaking at the same event, the UN resident coordinator Rosa Amalong has noted that the United Nations will continue to support the fight against girls up to the level where all communities in Uganda are declared early marriage free zones. She however expressed the concern over the high prevalence rates of HIV/aids among adolescents due to early marriages.

At the same commemoration, a section of girls called up on the government to track those schools that are not implementing the school re-entry policy for pregnant girls and young mothers as a way of addressing gender gaps in the education sector. The girls led by Nalumansi Faridah a 20 year old and a mother of two noted that many girls , who drop out of school due to pregnancy, are victimized by schools, fellow pupils and communities adding that the implementation of a re-entry policy would go a long way in improving retention levels for girls in schools.

Until recent years, the policy in government was that pregnant girls should be expelled from schools. However, this revised in 2009 with a directive allowing students to go back to school especially those in candidate classes to sit their final examinations.

Despite the policy being put in place, girls are still subjected to expulsion and suspension as a disciplinary measure to deter others from getting pregnant.

Since 2012, the United Nations marks 11 October as the ‘International Day of the Girl Child’. The day promotes girls’ human rights, highlights gender inequalities that remain between girls and boys and addresses the various forms of discrimination and abuse suffered by girls around the world.

Education ministry funded to improve refugees’ education

By Daudi Zirimala

The ministry of Education and sports,Education cannot wait and UN education partners have launched the first set of activities under Uganda’s new education response plan for refugees and host communities targeting 100,00 refugees and Ugandan children.

Education cannot wait is a global fund dedicated to providing education in emergencies with 11million dollars aimed at implementing this cause.

According Achillies Nsheki the country director FINALI ,the funds will be managed by the NGO Education consortium and UNHCR in close coordination with ministry of education and Sports and activities will begin in January and will cover nine of 12 refugee hosting districts in Uganda.

He says the initial funding will focus on providing primary education and accelerated education programmes which help children who have missed years of schooling to catch up by teaching a specially adapted primary curriculum in just three years.

“These new funds will support quality education for more than 100,000 children both refugees and local host communities of whom 50% are girls” says Nsheki.

According to Aggrey Kibinge the under secretary ministry of Education ,Under these funds activities will include constructing at least 100 new classrooms, training nearly 1000 teachers,building more than 489 gender sensitive sanitation facilities in schools and providing thousands of new texts books.

The Education Response plan is the first of its kind world wide and was developed to help respond to huge needs in whats in Africa’s biggest refugee education crisis.

Uganda hosts more than 1.1 million refugees and at least 57% of refugee children and 34% of children from local host communities are out of school.

Kibuku leaders ask that electricity be extended to schools and homes

By Deo Wasswa

Local leaders in Kibuku District want the government to extend electricity to schools and homesteads to help in improving the learning of pupils and to reduce on eye health relate problems that come as a result of revising books using candles (Tadoba) especially by pupils in candidate classes.

Timothy Mamberu, the chairperson of Kobolwo village located in Kibuku town council in Kibuku district says lack of electricity  in the areas is among obstacles to pupil’s performance.

Mr. Mamberu was speaking to our reporter amidst  of ongoing exercise of assessing the learning of children in Kubuku district spearheaded by Uwezo Twaweza East Africa.

Other obstacle cited including lack of scholastic materials, lack of school feeding programs, parents attitude to send their children to school, poverty in communities to raise school fees among other

Education ministry highlights measures to curb school drop outs

The ministry of education has put in place a number of measures in order to curb school drop outs.

The minister of education also first lady Janet Museveni said that as one of the measures, it   has started community dialogues to engage parents on elimination of violence against children and encourage them
to support the education of their children.

While responding to concerns of MPs on what measures her ministry was taking to reduce children drop out from schools, she noted that a national strategic plan for local governments   to curb school dropout
has been put in place and the ministry will continue challenging parents on child labor.

The first lady also said   that several   circulars banning corporal punishments have been issued to schools and local Governments on top of the guide lines that were issued as alternatives to corporal

Other measures according to the minister include school feeding and nutrition program, reporting tracking guidelines for violence against children at schools of which minor offenses will be reported to the
head teachers and disciplinary committees as capital offenses must be reported to police.

Minister Janet Museveni also say that her ministry was working with the Gender ministry to disseminate guidelines on responsible parenting.

The ministry of education has also asked teachers to follow up learners who absent themselves from schools by doing home visits.

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.



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