A report produced by Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER), an NGO, has revealed that Public Private Partnership (PPP) schools in the country are providing poor quality education services and should be phased out.
Introduced in 2007 under the Universal Secondary Education (USE) scheme, PPP schools' initiative was meant to effectively absorb the increasing number of students completing primary schools as a result of the country's 1997 Universal Primary Education policy (UPE), and failing to go for secondary education.
However, the 44-page report that was released during a conference organised by ISER and Public Interest Law Clinic (Pilac) at Makerere University on September 15 revealed the contrary.
"The study further revealed that PPP schools are not providing the high quality of education that was promised through the program and agreed upon through each school's MoU with h government. PPP schools lack basic infrastructure, instructional materials and laboratory inputs to facilitate learning which has had an adverse effect on the quality of education students receive," the report reads in part.
It also indicates that, according to the research that was done in 28 schools in 9 districts, PPP program is not compliant with the human rights standards applicable to the right to education.
The report further states: "Data collected illustrates that despite the overall increases in enrollment, equitable geographical access to education has not yet been achieved under the PPP program. The evidence further suggests that PPP initiative has not succeeded in effectively reducing the significant obstacles impending vulnerable and/or marginalised groups of students from accessing quality education."
After compiling the findings, ISER made a number of recommendations for both the government of Uganda and the private sector.
The report recommends that the government of Uganda should provide community schools with more support to meet the minimum standards, regulate fees (tuition and non-tuition) and any other financial charges by PPP schools.
"There is need for a comprehensive policy on PPP in education that ensures adherence to human rights standards by both the government and private actors at all stages of PPP relation," it reads.
However, the government was faulted for maintaining the capitation grant of Shs 470,000 per student yet the economic circumstances in the country have changed in the past 9 years. Here, a call for revising the grant to cater for inflation was made.
For private actors, the report recommends that boarding facilities in these schools should not be compulsory as it breaches the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed between them and the government of Uganda, with their infrastructures having capacity to accommodate education for students with disabilities.
The members on the committee that carried out the research include Angella Nabwowe, Charles Ebunyu, Fiona Orikiriza, Bill Daniel Opio, JoojoCobibinah and SaphinaNakulima, all members of ISER. The executive director of ISER Salima Namusobya provided conceptual guidance for the research.