By Okidi Patrick
Lira: The demand for private schools is rising even when the government offers free primary and secondary school education. Despite presence of Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE), privately owned schools continue to offer a competitive alternative.
But it is not a Ugandan case alone. private schools are also becoming more common around the world.
According to UN report, the portion of primary school students enrolled in non-government schools globally stood at 16 per cent in 2000. It had risen to 20 per cent by 2009.
In Lira, Schools like Light vocational SS, St. Gracious SS, St. Katherine Girls School, Lango College, Amuca SDA domiated top Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) 2022.
Mr. Fred Jalamaso the headteacher of Light vocational Senior Secondary School says, they performed so well with two students getting 19 points.
Government Aided St Katherine SS – Girls school Lira had a high level of performance in UACE 2022 with 45 candidates out of 47 getting at least a principal pass while 34 candidates attained at least two principle passed and above.
Nangwala Rose Nkwagala the headteacher St. Katherine said they performed well with their students such as Akello Deborah Holbright scooping 12 points, Amongi Dolly Diana with 13 points where as Adong Mildred and Awino Joan both got 13 points.
She says the Board of Governors (BoG) offer a full scholarship to best A level students who returns. “We are also giving 1.2 bursary to all who got first grade and returned,” she added.
St. Katherine has become a centre of girls empowerment in the region. Rabecca Kadaga former speaker of Parliament, Joan Pacoto former RDC Lira all studied in St.Katherine
Lango College, A bit Of Improvement expected
Meanwhile out of 87 candidates who sat UACE in 2022 at Lango college, a government aided school, 49 obtained 2 and 3 principal passes, 33 with one principal pass and subsidiary pass.
Akullo Judith one of the director of studies says there is a very great room for improvement this year.
She added that they are cooperating with the head teachers and candidates to complete the syllabus in time.
Amuca SDA Secondary School Lira.
20 candidates registered for 2022 UACE exams, out of which one did not sit and the 19 who sat got the following results, three had principal passes, four had one principal pass and one passed with a subsidiary pass according to Mr. Obonyo Alex, the director of studies.
According to Ismail Mulindwa, the assistant commissioner private schools in the Education ministry, despite mushrooming private schools, there must be an authority to control, regulate and coordinate their operations.
“The Education Act is clear about the Education ministry being responsible for coordinating, regulating and controlling education institutions in this country. We have specific guidelines, for example, on establishment of these schools but we have that big framework (the Act) which guides on how schools should be started, when where and by who and this is the framework that guides. However, it has got provisions,” he says.
He says they (ministry) are trying to come up with a specific policy on private schools because the Act is general (it looks at pre-primary, primary, secondary and universities both private and government).
“We have specific policies for specific areas or programmes such as licensing and registration. It is not the only thing we do with private schools. It is just one of the many things we do in there to guide the stakeholders on how to go about this. There are no specific frameworks for private schools per se. It is one general framework that caters for both private and government schools,” Mulindwa explains.
Private schools started operating as far back as the 1950s and the many government schools we see today such as Kisubi Secondary School, Mengo Senior School, Ndejje Secondary School, Kibuli Secondary School and Mt. St. Mary’s College, Namagunga, among others were originally private institutions.
These are also classified under faith-based schools such as Bugema Adventists Secondary School, Seroma Christian High School and Gombe Secondary School, among others and secular schools such as Old Kampala Secondary School, St Mark’s College, Namagoma among others.