The Department for International Development (DFID Uganda), UK aid education advisor, Ed Barnett, has said the Universal secondary Education (USE) in Uganda is not free as many tend to believe.
Barnett made the remarks while chairing a panelist discussion during Promoting Equality in African Schools (PEAS) Ark Learning Summit Event at Kampala Hotel Africana on Wednesday.
“There is no way one can say Universal Secondary Education is free when parents are paying for school uniforms, bedding materials for boarding students, parents/teachers Association funds, sanitary materials and exercise or text books among others. When you add up the cost of these materials, it’s higher than school fees itself”, said Barnett.
He advised government to promote public private partnership (PPP) with education stakeholders such as PEAS Uganda, to make education affordable and promote quality education.
“PEAS have interesting insights and qualified teachers and DFID supports their education model to empower teachers with teaching skills”, he added.
On his part, PEAS Country director, Henry Senkasi, said PAS Schools in Uganda admits students at affordable fees cost in comparison with other schools.
“PEAS operate in hard to reach areas, have tremendously expanded and are more generous to needy students”, he said.
He added that PEAS students have managed to score better than those in secondary schools, despite the fact that PEAS admission cut off points are lower than other schools.
PEAS Head of Education Libby Hills said: “Our interest in PEAS is to bring School fees to zero”, she added that; despite their teachers earning a lower salary than other schools, the teachers are motivated through provision of housing, regular trainings and food rations.
“Our teachers are highly marketable to other schools because of the additional training
programmes we offer”, she added.
In his closing remarks, the Assistant Commissioner for Secondary Schools, Alfred Chaka, reiterated the need for secondary schools to encourage public private partnership, saying: “PPP came because of inefficiencies. “We need
to support public private partnership as an arm to support secondary education”.
PEAS – Promoting Equality in African Schools, a non-profit organisation – aims to give poor children access to secondary education by building and running sustainable, high quality secondary schools.
“Uganda has been successful in increasing primary education, but enrolments in secondary education have been much slower,” added Chaka.