Millennium Development Goals

Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education

Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women

UGANDA: Free Secondary Education Plan Unveiled

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 World Vision/Jane Nandawula

Free secondary education will benefit thousands of children

KAMPALA, 8 Jan 2007 (IRIN) - Uganda has begun implementing a free universal secondary

education (USE) programme in 700 public and 280 private schools in the first phase of a scheme aimed at making education accessible to all, officials said on Monday.

Education Minister Namirembe Bitamazire said her ministry had released 7.3 billion Ugandan shillings (US $4.2 million) for public and private schools included in the programme.

"The ministry is in the final stages of releasing seven million shillings ($3,888) to each of the schools that are going to participate in USE," she said adding that rigorous accountability would be enforced to ensure the money was used correctly.

She said that because of budgetary constraints, vocational and technical training institutions have been excluded from the initial stage of the programme.

"Vocational and technical training will be incorporated in the system as funds become available," she explained.

Since 1997, Uganda has offered free education in all public primary schools. "Ours is a pro-poor intervention. Those who want to can still take their children to the so-called powerful schools that are [charging] a lot of money," said Bitamazire.

Only students who sat the Primary Leaving Examination in 2006 will be eligible. Boarding costs are not covered under the programme and parents were expected to pay for medical care.

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