CSOs concerned over gaps in Lower Secondary School Curriculum rollout

Kampala – Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are concerned over the gaps in the Lower Secondary School Curriculum rollout.

The New Lower Secondary School Curriculum (NLSC) was rolled out in a phased approach, starting with senior one in February 2020. It aims at improving the quality and relevance of secondary education and ensuring that post-primary students are armed with skills needed in the workforce.

According to the curriculum, 20% of the final Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) results will come from the continuous assessment done by the schools from the time the learners join Senior Three, while 80 percent will come from the final exam itself.

However, CSOs are concerned that in FY 2023/24, the Ministry of Education and Sports has a funding gap of UGX 24bn for printing 6.05 million copies of instruction materials for the Lower Secondary School curriculum.

They also expressed concern that the Education Ministry has a deficit of UGX 14.3 billion to retool 1,000 lower secondary school teachers. Only 150 secondary school teachers were targeted in FY 2023/24.

“We call upon the government to prioritize printing the instruction materials, teacher training and securing the necessary equipment to support for smooth implementation of the lower secondary curriculum,” urged Julius Mukunda, Executive Director Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) during the CSO Pre-Budget Dialogue held in Kampala on Thursday.

Other concerns raised in the dialogue include the Nonfunctionality of medical equipment in health facilities

“For example, in Nadunget Health Center III- Moroto district, an operating theatre was set up with no competent staff recruited to operate it,” Mukunda

With the upgrade of most HCIIs to HC IIIs, the CSOs want Ministry of Health to prioritize procurement of medical equipment that matches with recruitment of requisite technical staff.

They also noted that the issue of increased level of food insecurity in the country was not tackled in 2023/2024 FY budget.

“Despite the hike in Food insecurity in 2022 to date, there are projected budget cuts to votes/sub-programmes critical to food production and productivity. There is a need for strategic investments in water for production, agricultural extension services, post-harvest handling, improving standards and access to affordable credit by smallholder farmers. Finalize the National Irrigation Master Plan, and the National Agriculture Extension Strategy (NAES),”said Mukunda

On Tuesday, Parliament passed the Budget Framework Paper of 49.98 trillion Shillings for the next financial year 2023/2024.

The proposed 49.98 trillion national budget will be financed through domestic revenue equivalent to 28.83 trillion, budget support amounting to 2.491 trillion, domestic borrowing 1.585 trillion, external project support worth 8.04 trillion, domestic refinancing of 8.798 trillion, and local revenue for local government (AIA) of 238.5 billion Shillings.

Ali Tagore, Assistant Commissioner Budget Policy and Evaluation Department Ministry of Finance said government priorities in the 2023/24 financial year include Peace and Security under the Security and Governance Program, and maintenance of both tarmac and marram roads. The others are the construction of power substations, rehabilitation of meter gauge railway, and irrigation projects among others.

“To boost food production and productivity, the government’s priorities are; Provision of improved quality of inputs post-harvest handling and storage of agricultural products; Enhancing production, storage, agro-processing, and value addition,” said Tagore during the CSO Pre-Budget Dialogue

On the health sub-sector, he noted that government’s goal is to shift focus from curative to preventive health care and this will be done through addressing staffing gaps and ensuring timely supply of drugs to address stockouts among other interventions

On Education, Tagore said the key priorities for FY 2023/24 include among others improving the overall staffing levels, developing a complete national vocation qualification framework to address unemployment among graduates, enhancing the capacity of skilling institutions to cope with the growing demand of the working environment and increasing uptake of the digitalization.

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