The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Mrs. Janet Museveni has lauded the worthwhile work and programmes of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Uganda, specifically in the Education sector.
The First Lady was meeting a delegation from UNESCO led by the Director and Representative for the Eastern Africa Regional Office Ann Therese Ndong- Jatta who called on her at State House Nakasero on Friday. The Director was accompanied by Teeluck Bhuwanee and Charles Draecabo from the Kampala Project office.
They discussed issues to do with programmes done by UNESCO in the country and the future plans. UNESCO has supported the development of the National Teacher Policy, the Teacher Management Information System (TMIS), enhancing teachers’ performance and quality of teaching by use of ICT in Education and conflict sensitive education in refugee areas among others.
With support from the European Union, UNESCO now proposes to pilot some new programmes including the introduction of digital libraries to promote the culture of reading, mobile learning for Early Childhood and coding in schools to interest children in Information Technology programming.
Mrs. Museveni said that Uganda wants to make a difference and get back to its former position in the region regarding education and that she believes the country is on the right track. She applauded UNESCO’s enthusiasm and support for all that Uganda is trying to do to achieve the delivery of quality education for all. She however called for more transparency in the work being done in refugee areas so that programmes are streamlined and are easier to be followed up. The UNESCO Director and Representative for the Eastern Africa Regional Office Ann Therese Ndong- Jatta congratulated the Ministry of Education for rolling out the competence-based curriculum despite the many criticisms. She said the same thing happened in Kenya when despite the many comments and criticism, the Minister decided to go on and now people are beginning to understand that the curriculum
is not different from the objective-based, but focuses on whether the objectives have been attained and what the competences are.
She pointed out that comparing countries benefitting from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) funds, the one bottleneck for Uganda is the declining percentage of the budget allocated to the education sector, which she said needs to at least be increased so that it is at par with other countries in the sub region.
The UNESCO Director lauded Uganda as one of the few countries in Africa with a Teacher Policy and pledged to hold hands with the Education Ministry to cascade the teacher policy to reach all teachers in the country within four weeks’ time and ensure that they understand and own it. They will also dialogue with teachers in their respective districts to address the delays of getting all teachers registered on the TMIS which she described as another milestone for the sector.
She hailed Uganda as a model in championing the ‘leaving no one behind’ campaign by opening its doors to children who would have been captured as out of school. UNESCO is part of the consortium working with Education Cannot Wait to support Uganda’s Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities and their role is to support the Ministry of Education come up with a policy of certifying the Refugee teachers so that they are equated to the Ugandan standards.
She also requested Government to consider establishing a fixed budget line for the National Commission for UNESCO (UNATCOM), which is a service organization serving about nine Ministries in the country. Currently UNATCOM is hosted by the Education Ministry and it is the only Ministry that gives it the budget line.
Alex Kakooza, the Education Ministry Permanent Secretary emphasized the need for the UNESCO to involve the Ministry in all its activities for sustainability and ownership. He also agreed to the need to strengthen the UNATCOM office for it to become stronger and visible. The meeting was also attended by Rosie Agoi the Secretary General Uganda National Commission for UNESCO (UNATCOM), and the Commissioner Teacher/Tutor, Instructor Education and Training (TIET) Dr. Jane Egau Okou.