Professor Julius Kiiza of Makerere University has proposed government introduces new education tax in order to improve funding of the sector.
Speaking to journalists at the research launch by Twaweza dubbed "Preparing the Next Generation; Uganda's opinions and experiences on education, Prof. Kiiza viewed from the current situation under which parents are supposed to contribute towards the education of their children. The political science lecturer argued that since government is able to impose Over the Top Tax (OTT) and other taxes, there is no way it can fail to impose a tax specifically intended to improve the education sector budget.
Professor Kiiza observed that with a population relying on agriculture as their source of livelihood, government cannot ask parents to contribute to Universal Primary Education (UPE) yet they are poor.
Dr Mukasa Lusambu, the Commissioner for Basic Education in the Ministry of Education, said that parents need to contribute at least a small fee to supplement the 7,000 shillings government gives to each child per term.
Dr Lusambu insists that the country cannot run education without the help of the parents and while the government has done a lot in setting up infrastructure, paying teachers and providing teaching aids, parents need to mobilize and feed their children. Professor Kiiza said Ugandans should not think that the current levels of financing education will be adequate.
In the current 2018/2019 budget, the Education sector was allocated 2.4 trillion shillings, while Health took 2.2 trillion shillings. Local governments were given three trillion shillings.
“With the current 15% increment on tuition in university, students are getting more frustrated and that kind of tax wouldn’t do any of us any good,” said Mugaga Trevor, a third year government sponsored student at Makerere University.
According to Uganda Christian University Vice Chancellor, Reverend Dr John Ssenyonyi, the government needs to scrap even the current taxes they levy on higher institutions.
Speaking earlier after the launch of the new journalism faculty at UCU Kampala campus two weeks ago, Reverend Ssenyonyi referred to other countries like Ghana whose government has completely scrapped off education taxes since it benefits students that are the future of the nation.
He has also revealed that he has already written a letter to the President Yoweri Museveni requesting for a meeting to discuss issues concerning higher institutions in the country.