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Malala Day Youth Assembly

On July 12th 2013, young leaders from around the world convened at the United Nations in support of the United Nations Secretary – General’s Global Education First Initiative. The objective was to ensure that all children, especially girls, are in school and learning by the year 2015. The main event was the youth assembly held in the Trusteeship Council Chamber where Malala Yousafzai celebrated her 16th birthday by addressing hundreds of young leaders who support education for every child. The day also marked the start of a youth movement where the youth representatives from around the world advocate for global education. For the full report see here>>> and for the youth resolution see here>>>


Break Tea News update

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Every week James from FENU writes a break tea news update – a roundup of education in the news:

  • Uneb has no room for lazy workers, says Fagil Mandy-“ The chair person of UNEB while speaking at the inauguration of the 26 board members  said he will not tolerate lazy people. He said this referring to the mess up of the chemistry practicals…”Daily Monitor >>
  • No major hitches as PLE starts-“A 51 year old, soldier and a father of 12 is sitting PLE exams with his 17 year old son in the same school (at Kabarwa Primary School in Malera Sub-county). Though there were no major hitches,  some schools did not start until 11am due to bad roads.  Also, in  Luweero District, four examination centers accessed the morning exam papers late following mix ups at different exam storage stations…” Daily Monitor >>
  • Education gets 59 billion shillings– This is a five year project to renovate training colleges for secondary and technical teachers. The grant came from Belgium …  Daily Monitor >>
  • End of PLE marked by delayed deliveries   -Despite the fact that Uganda National Examination Board’s assurance that exams would arrive on time, some schools for instance in Luwero and Wakiso, pupils sat for the papers at least after an hour of the official starting time… Daily Monitor >>
  • Some related exam issues need reviewing-The funding of exams needs to be given serious thought since the money is not enough to facilitate the process. These exams normally run for weeks but when money runs out, there is no monitoring and supervision of the examination process. The current security threats leave all examination centers very vulnerable since the gates are to be open all the time while the exams are in the process…The Observer >>
  • 63inmates sit for PLE at Luzira– The inmates at Luzira prison received teachers from the Ministry of Education and sports . This will help them perform better than last year in their PLE exams…New Vision>>
  • PLE exams start  -457071 pupils are from the UPE schools while 125014 are from the non UPE schools making the total number of candidates completing the primary level to be 582085  … New Vision>>

 

Break Tea News Update

tea cup imaga

Every week James from FENU writes a break tea news update – a round up of education in the news:

3,000 sit for vocational examinations –“ Some 3,351 students have started doing their Competence Based Assessments (CBA) for certificates in various vocational trainings. Announcing the development yesterday, , the Ministry of Education through the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT), said more than…” Daily Monitor >>

Wakiso boss calls for re-introduction of PTA in schools-“ Wakiso district chairman, Matiya Lwanga Bwanika has petition government to re-introduce the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) system in schools countrywide…” New Vision>>

Public school teacher living on the edge –“We [receive our] money when it has no value. It is by [sheer accident] that people [like us] are living. How do you earn Shs 300,000 and spend a million? A good number of teachers are highly qualified with ordinary and master’s degrees…   ”The Observer >>

Sex education could have made all the difference –“ Adong enrolled for a six-month course in Tailoring and Design in August this year, having dropped out of school two years earlier because of getting pregnant. Apart from tailoring, the centre also offers reproductive health and literacy skills and gives counselling, mostly to the youth…” The Observer >>

Cabinet directs on promotion of Swahili-“ The cabinet has directed for the renewing efforts to promote the teaching and use of Swahili as an alternative language in Uganda…” New Vision>>

UPE,USE fails in Buvuma Islands –“ The Secretary of Education in Buvuma district, Veronica Awori, has revealed that due to its geographical location, many teachers have shunned teaching on the islands of Buvuma, on Lake Victoria…” The Observer >>

Refugee children miss out on school-“ It is a common sight to see male youths playing football and females breastfeeding their babies at Rwamwanja settlement camp in Kamwenge district…” The Observer >>

Address refugees’ education needs appropriately-“Refugees, by the nature of their circumstances, are already disadvantaged. They have been forced to relocate to other countries by conditions …” The Observer >>

Workshop on female teacher study and the reviewed National Strategy for Girls’ Education

gender image

© Working group for girls

The Gender Unit in the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) organised a workshop on 16-17th October at Hotel Triangle. The workshop discussed the “Female teacher study dissemination” and the “review of the national strategy for girls’ education.”

The workshop was opened by the Permanent Secretary (PS) MoES, Dr Rose Nassali Lukwago. In her opening remarks, The PS  noted that the position of the girl child has remained disadvantaged over the years. She emphasised that there is a need to be more practical.

The PS informed the workshop that she was committed to fully support girls’ education.  For the full report, please see here >>.

International Day of the Girl Child

girls in school_Mvule trust

©Mvule Trust

On Friday October 11th 2013, the International Day of the Girl Child was celebrated at Imperial Royale hotel. The International Day of the Girl Child was introduced in 2011 by the United Nations General Assembly.

The Government, Civil Society Organisations, teachers, pupils and parents among other stakeholders utilised this day to address girls’ issues. The theme for this year’s International Day of the Girl Child was “Innovating for Girls’ education.”

The activities included book launches, panel discussions, exhibitions and children’s petitions throughout the day. For the full report, please see here>>.

Break Tea News update

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Every week James from FENU writes a break tea news update – a round up of education in the news:

Vocational studies lacking “The study conducted in four districts shows that vocational institutions are inefficient…” Daily Monitor>>

The 70 – year –old in primary four “At the seminar, they were given books and pens to write what was being taught that day. As others wrote, like a lost sheep, he just looked…” Daily Monitor >>

Let’s embrace girl-child education “October 10, the world commemorates the International Day of the Girl Child for the second time…” The Observer >>

5500 fail tertiary exams “The executive secretary of the Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board (UBTEB), John Twesigye, wants a change in the …” The Observer >>

MPs want government to stop teenage pregnancies  “MPs have asked government to invest more resources on contraceptives to fight the increasing number of teenage pregnancies in the country…” New Vision>>

Break tea news update

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Every week James from FENU writes a break tea news update – a round up of education in the news:

This is  another week focusing on teachers as you will read in different articles from different papers.

  • “Parents have to accept some responsibility and complement the Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme by providing lunch and the required scholastic materials for their children.” Read more here.
  • “Teachers have, in a new twist threatened not to mark Uganda National Examination Board exams, days after they agreed to suspend their strike over pay rises.” Read more here.
  • “Majority of the primary teachers in government schools have indicated an urgency to leave the profession in the next two years, a latest ministry of Education survey has shown”. Read more here.
  • “The ministry of Education and Sports is struggling to attract graduates, owing to poor pay and working conditions.” Read more here.
  • “The teachers’ strike dominated news in Uganda over the last two weeks until September 25 when the teachers called it off. It is interesting that …” Read more here.

 

Education sector reviews progress

FENU Civil Society contribution to ESSR

FENU Civil Society contribution to ESSR

On the 1st-2nd October 2013 the education sector came together to review progress made over the last year and set priorities for the coming year.

The Education and Sports Sector Review (ESSR) brought together Ministry of Education and Sports officials, District Officials,  donors and civil society.

Together the delegates assessed the state of education in Uganda and made suggestions for how improvements can be made over the next year.

The theme of this year’s ESSR was ‘improving teacher effectiveness for enhanced quality learning outcomes‘ and many of the presentations focused on the importance of teachers and the challenges they currently face.

The average primary school teacher is estimated to be absent for two days a week which has a devastating impact on learners. Addressing some of the underlying issues that lead to teacher absenteeism such as low pay, low motivation and infrequent inspection are therefore key to improving education in Uganda.

The Education and Sports Sector Review

The Education and Sports Sector Review

Mr Frederick Mwesigye, Executive Director of the Forum for Education NGOs in Uganda (FENU) said ‘our teachers are the heart of our education system. Without good teachers who are well trained, frequently inspected and receive a decent salary on time our education system will remain in crisis. I am pleased that the issue of teacher effectiveness is the topic for this year’s ESSR and I hope that the sector will use the opportunity to address some of these crucial issues.’

FENU represented civil society at the ESSR. Every delegate who attended received a copy of the ‘FENU Civil Society Contribution to ESSR‘ booklet which outlines the civil society’s key recommendations for change.

Recruiting more teachers, supporting special needs education and improving access to pre-primary education were also among some of the issues civil society raised.

FENU posters on display

FENU posters on display

In addition, seven of civil societies key messages were illustrated by a poster display put together for the event.

Speaking at the end of the ESSR Mr Mwesigye commented ‘With the ESSR finished for another year the hard work must now begin. We all want improvements in the education sector, but this year 70% of children who started primary school dropped out before the end of the primary education cycle. We will need radical changes if we are to address this and achieve a Uganda where every child has access to good quality public education.’

Break tea news update

tea cup imaga

Every week James from FENU writes a break tea news update – a round up of education in the news:

‘As we come to the end of this week, the common talk has been about teachers strike. Also find out what the experts have been saying on education.  From the Daily Monitor we also learn that UNEB has not yet revealed the figures for pupils sitting PLE .

  • A new compulsory secondary school curriculum to be introduced in 2017 will focus on Life Education, which includes sex and physical education. Read more here.
  • Experts on vocational skills training have called for an urgent review in the Business, Technical, Vocational Education Training (BTVET) so as to benefit from the Skilling Uganda project. Read more here.
  • Teachers strike may be worrying for parents but we must understand why teachers are striking. Read more here.
  • At least 411,521 students have registered with Uganda National Examination Board (Uneb) to do Senior Four and Senior Six national examinations. Read more here.’

“Government should honour its promise” says civil society

16th September 2013– A press conference was held today at the Forum for Education NGOs in Uganda (FENU). Civil society joined together to call on Government to honour its promise to increase teachers pay.

Press conf

Teachers have pledged to strike until their pay is increased as promised. Civil Society stressed that if Government does not honour its promise to increase teacher’s pay Uganda’s children will suffer.

The full civil society statement is below:

Civil Society Statement
Teachers Demand for their Promised 20% Salary Increase.

Today – 16th September 2013 as schools countrywide open for the last and most important school term in the year, the teachers have declared an industrial action demanding that Government honours its promise of a pay rise of 20%.

In 2011, when the teachers staged a countrywide sit-down strike demanding for a 100% salary increase (from a paltry 250, 000/= to 500,000/=), Government argued that this money can’t be found. Instead, Government offered a 50% salary increase to be phased over three financial years (2012/13; 2013/14 and 2014/15) – paying 15%; 20% and 15% respectively. For FY2012/13, this promise was honoured and the teachers were paid.

Broken Promise

It was in the teachers’ expectations therefore this FY 2013/14 that another 20% salary increase would be paid by Government. However, this has not come to pass. Government seems to be surprisingly going back on its own promise. The argument that the money for teachers cannot be found is a matter of Government priotisation. Negotiations have taken place over the last 3 months over this issue till now when teachers are saying enough is enough, and have laid down their tools. Teachers have also called for moral support from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Foundation Bodies, Members of Parliament, Public officials, Parents and the Public at large.

As CSOs we feel and believe that teachers’ should first and foremost be treated with the utmost respect they deserve. Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere once said:

“A nation is as great, as good, as its citizens make it… it is teachers more than any other single group of people who determine attitudes, and who shape the ideas and aspirations of the nation” (Julius K. Nyerere “The Power of Teachers”; 1966).

Mwalimu Nyerere strongly cautioned against the perception of teachers as a powerless group that can be treated in any way any one wishes including intimidation which he called one of the biggest fallacies of our society. For teachers can make or ruin our society. As a group they have power which is second to none.  ‘It is not the power of a man with a gun; it is not a power which can be seen by a fool” (Nyerere 1968a: 228).

In this Nyerere underscored the point that even if you coarse and intimidate teachers, they possess some invisible power that cannot be suppressed. This power is at times manifested in deliberate absenteeism and lack of motivation to teach. In Uganda we have already started seeing the results of this power and our failure to respect teachers. This is manifested in the appallingly low learning achievements. For example, government own assessment reports show that, just 17% of S.2 students exhibited the  competence expected of them in biology. Other studies have shown that, literacy and numeracy levels at primary level are as low as 10% (UWEZO, 2012).

Given that background and for the sake of  millions of  Ugandan children, we as CSOs call upon Government to simply honour the promise made to the teachers by increasing their salary by the promised 20% in this FY 2013/14.  Empty promises and intimidations to our teachers is a fallacy.  No amount of coercion and intimidation can make a teacher teach.  An untaught society is a doomed society. We can’t afford such a society.

For God and my Country!

Signed:

Executive Director

Forum for Education NGOs in Uganda – (FENU)

 

Executive Director

Uganda National NGO Forum – (UNNGOF)

 

Executive Director

Development Network for Voluntary Indigenous NGOs (DENIVA)