Universal Primary Education a Tool to End Early Marriages In Uganda

In 1997, the Government of Uganda under the good leadership of General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni thought wise and introduced Universal Primary Education (UPE), which acted as a powerful tool that ended early marriages especially in girls below the age of 18 years.

Uganda became the first Country in Sub Saharan to introduce free Universal Primary Education a credit that goes to President Museveni and his NRA Government.

When it had started, the government said it was paying school fees for only four children per family. However, this did not end the early marriages amongst girls especially in extended families where girls were many.

President Yoweri Museveni later revised the system and said all children should get free primary Education. This reduced the number of early marriages in Uganda, which was a very big problem. According to the research conducted in different schools before the introduction of UPE early marriages was high amongst girls.

Before the introduction of UPE by President Museveni, girls would get married as early as 13 years due to lack of education. Most parents were poor and could not manage to raise school fees for girls and boys.

In most families, parents would prefer to educate boys than girls and at the end; parents would force girls in to early marriages such that they would get cows to help in boys’ education.  Even in some families, boys would also fail to get more education and end up marrying at early stages.

UPE increased from 3.1m children in 1997 to 8.4 m children in 2013 and now it is estimated to be more than 12m children . This means that since 1997 to date more than 10m children have benefited from UPE. This gives a credit to President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his good leadership.

In 1986 when President Museveni took over power Uganda Primary, teachers were 64779 but with his good leadership the number has increased to 224436 with increased in payments. Furthermore, in 1986, Uganda had 45000 constructed classrooms but records show that we have 164513 classrooms. President Museveni also increased primary schools 7357 in 1986 to 27000 in 2018 where every each sub county has a UPE school.

President Museveni in 2007 just ten years of UPE again thought wise and started Universal Secondary Education where all children would get secondary education. Research shows that in 2007, USE had 172000 students and currently the number is more than 265000.

As we talk now UPE and USE are among the most performed schools in Uganda. The products of UPE and USE have finished University level. The statistics current show that out of 50 best-performed students from every University, 30 are products of UPE and USE.

President Museveni interacts with UPE Pupils. Courtesy photo

In 2017/18, using Schools Facility Grant (SFG), 256 new classrooms in 45 another 933 classrooms using Global Partnership for Education (GPE) grant were completed and only 138 of these await furniture.

Skilling the Girl child project: 12,651 beneficiaries between 2017-2019, UGX 5,158,000,000 startup capital and UGX 1,981,150,000 worth of equipment procured and distributed. Additional 5 points for female students geared towards increasing female enrolment in institutions of higher learning.

Government also provided P1-P7 text books for English and Mathematics to all public primary schools, and as a result, Pupil to Book ratio (PBR) has improved from 14:1 to 2:1 and 3:1 in respective subjects.

The wage bill of primary school teachers has increased from 779 Bn in FY 2015/16 to 918Bn in FY 2018/19. Hence Primary School teachers’ salaries have increased from 280,000/= to 469,000/=

Government recruited a total of 4,520 secondary school teachers in the last 3 years and an additional 3,610 jobs have been advertised.

Museveni launching 20 years of UPE.

Reforming the lower secondary curriculum and introducing continuous assessment has been done. Subject menu reduced from 44 to 20, hence focusing students to Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), problem solving and reasoning.

Teacher attendance has improved from 70% in 2015 to 85% in 2018.

Sports budget increased to 7 Bn in 2017/18 to facilitate talent development.

Adult literacy stands at 2% for Males and 61.97% females. 6bn allocated annually under the Students Loan Scheme.

Adult Literacy has increased to 2% in 2018 from 56.11% in 1991.

Access has increased – distances to access education reduced, choices for different social classes available, generally, there is affordability.

Job creation in the sector – for both teaching and nonteaching staff.

Skilling through tertiary institutions has enhanced employment

Uganda continues to shine on global sports scene especially Netball and Athletics.



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