Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) has appealed to Parliament to quickly enact a law to make parents take their children to school.
Presenting a paper on education’s ministerial policy statement for the financial year 2013/2014 before the parliamentary committee on education and sports on Thursday, the programme assistant, David Walakira, noted with sadness that although there is Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE) policies in place to increase educational opportunities for poor students, the ministry continues to register huge drop outs.
“Gov’t should crack the whip on these parents because it’s mind-boggling to see students in this day and age especially in UPE and USE dropping out of school. We recommend that a law should be put in place before the situation exacerbates,” Walakira told the committee, chaired by the Mityana Woman MP, Sylvia Namabidde.
He said according to their statistics, 93.8% of the pupils who got enrolled in Primary one in the year 2000 did not sit for PLE in 2006; in the same way, 92.9% of the pupils who got enrolled in 2005 did not sit for PLE in 2011.
Last week MPs expressed concern that as the ministry plans to pay registration fees for 111,900 students to sit for UCE this year, there had been a reduction of 32% (drop out) of students compared to last year’s 165,561, something that will undermine Government’s policy of USE.
Speaking to New Vision recently, the principal education officer for secondary education, Alfred Kyaka, attributed the drop outs to early marriages and limited participation of parents in school activities, among others.
“Even some of our schools are not gender friendly to most of the girls; they lack washrooms which assist girls especially in their menstruation periods to cope up,” he said, before adding: “Some students are indiscipline while others want to make quick money doing petty jobs and thus see education as a stumbling block,” he explained.
He, however, said measures which include retention campaigns, guidance and counseling and construction of separate toilets for boys and girls in schools are being put in place to address the problem.
“Much as we are putting up these measures, we urge parents and the community to sensitize their children about the importance of education. No student can dream of dropping out; they want to complete and even graduate. However, they need to be sensitized about the need to keep in school so that in future they can get a better job and a better life,” he added.
By Umaru Kashaka,