Education gets big budget, teachers still grumbling

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KAMPALA. The Education and Sports ministry headed by First Lady Janet Museveni is one of big sectors cutting away a huge Shs2.4 trillion from Shs29 trillion provided in the 2017/18 Budget, but this lion’s share still leave the teachers and lecturers grumbling.
The allocation represents an 11.3 per cent share of the national budget, meaning the Education budget has slightly been increased by Shs2b from Shs2.44 trillion last financial year to Shs2.47 in the new 2017/2018 financial year.
Education, which ranks third among the sectors, with the largest budgets, is to dedicate Shs1,455.86 trillion of its budget to paying wages.
While reading the budget yesterday, Finance minister Matia Kasaija said Shs15.23b will go into rehabilitation of dilapidated primary schools and traditional secondary schools while Shs8.58b would go into establishing 12 seed secondary schools in sub-counties which lack these schools.

He said an additional Shs19.6b has been provided for salary enhancement of teaching and non-teaching staff at all public universities.
Mr Aggrey Kibenge, the Under Secretary in charge of Finance and Administration at Education ministry, said of the Shs2.4 trillion the ministry has been allocated, Shs1.4 trillion would be dedicated to salary payments, accounting for 59 per cent, and another Shs231b parceled for payment of capitation grant for primary, secondary and post-primary institutions, accounting for 16 per cent of the its budget.
Shs388b is to support donor-funded projects and loans, accounting for 15 per cent, and Shs153b to support domestic development; accounting for 6 per cent, while non-wage would consume the remaining 4 per cent.

But Mr Kibenge said the Education budget is still not enough to cater for all the needs the ministry had planned for.
He said lecturers in public universities remain understaffed and are operating at 30 per cent capacity instead of the 50 per cent as planned. He also said there were few science teachers.
But teachers through their umbrella body, the Uganda National Association of Teachers’ Union, have expressed dissatisfaction with the budget insisting that the government has not highlighted the money for recruitment of more teachers.
Mr James Tweheyo, the secretary general of the union, said despite an increase in the number of student, the budget has not provided the money for recruitment of teachers to cover the huge gap in the student-teacher ratio.
“There is a shortfall of over 8,000 teachers for the gap to be covered,” Mr Tweheyo said.

He also said the budget does not cover the money for student’s loan scheme, pension for teachers and teacher’s SACCO.
Meanwhile, the academic staff at Makerere University under their umbrella Makerere University Academic Staff Association were also not contended with their salary enhancement.
Mr Deus Kamunyu, the Muasa spokesperson, said the government was to include Shs50b salary enhancement for both teaching and non-teaching staff of all public universities but included only Shs19b.
But he said they agreed with the government that the balance will be provided for in the next financial year budget.

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