detail - Foundation Office Uganda
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Education is an issue that concerns young people's ability to pursue sustainable livelihoods, participate politically, and make healthy life choices on the one hand, and is also key to their contribution to the economic and political development of Uganda on the other.
Uganda offers a universal cost-free education programme at primary and secondary school levels introduced respectively in 1997 and 2007. While this has been recognised in promoting ‘education for all’ and contributing to Uganda’s attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MGDs), evidence shows that the programme has come with significant compromises on the quality of education. Among the major concerns within the education system is the limited availability of school infrastructure and teaching materials as well as the inadequacy of qualified teaching professionals. Consequently, performance grades at both primary and secondary school levels are on the decline, as evidenced in the recently published results of the Primary Leaving Examination (PLE) and Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE, graduation of secondary schools). Additionally learners’ educational achievements continue to be limited by cultural, religious and economic factors. With these challenges at hand the education system fails to provide the necessary skills and competence for Uganda to realise her development prospects.
These challenges demand for a detailed debate on the policy goals and alternatives in Uganda’s education sector. The inter-party debate organised within the framework of the Inter-Party Youth Platform (IYOP), brought together youth representatives from seven major political parties in Uganda, namely: Conservative Party (CP), Democratic Party (DP), Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Justice Forum (JEEMA), National Resistance Movement (NRM), People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC). The goal of the debate was to examine the current education system and its ability to provide the necessary skills, knowledge, and guidance to young people so that they can be empowered to become effective drivers of development in their communities and country. The discussion that unfolded during the event was very lively and confined to the exchange of detailed arguments – between the party representatives on the one hand and between the panellists and the audience on the other – on the complex issue of education.