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Uganda’s leader of the opposition in parliament advocates for increased capitation grants in government primary schools

The Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, (LoP), Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi, has urged the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to raise the capitation grant for government-aided primary schools, stating that the current amount of Shs20,000 per pupil per annum is inadequate.

The capitation grant for Universal Primary Schools (UPE) is intended for the procurement of instructional materials such as chalk and stationery, which are not provided by the government.

“And we expect good standards from these schools, to operate and compete at an international level, it is not possible, I hope we can review it,” said Ssenyonyi.

He also emphasized that ensuring a good future for learners is dependent on the quality of education they receive.

Ssenyonyi further highlighted that even the insufficient capitation grant is not disbursed in a timely manner.

He brought up this issue during a plenary sitting on Tuesday, 06 February 2024.

Ssenyonyi, in reference to the recent start of the new school term, noted that several schools have been unable to open due to a lack of funds.

“I do not know why we delay in sending this money even though we know when the schools will open,” Ssenyonyi commented.

Hon. Laura Kanushu (NRM, Persons with Disabilities) also expressed concern about the absence of learning materials for pupils with disabilities in government-aided schools, stating that as a result, these learners with special needs end up as the worst performers.

She pointed out that 99 percent of schools for pupils with disabilities are government aided and yet they are operating without learning materials.

“I think as a government, we have decided that PWDS should not go to school or if they go, they should fail. How can we deny children learning material?” she inquired.

The Minister of State for Finance, Planning and Economic Development (General Duties), Hon. Henry Musasizi, indicated that the delay in releasing the capitation grant to schools is caused by delays at the Local Government level.

“When we release the capitation grant to districts, we expect local governments to warrant and sometimes districts take their time. Some schools have already received funds, others are still in the process of warranting,” he explained.

He also mentioned that the government has already released Shs134 billion in the third quarter for the capitation grant.

Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa instructed the minister to make a statement on the matter on Tuesday, 13 February 2024, with specific focus on the performance of learners with disabilities.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.

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