Private School Proprietors Petition Mpuuga Over Shs20Bn Presidential Pledge

Private school proprietors in Mpigi district have reached out to Mathias Mpuuga, the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Parliament, seeking his support in demanding the disbursement of the 20 billion Shillings presidential pledge.

The pledge, which was made by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni in 2020, aimed to provide financial assistance to private schools affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the peak of the pandemic, President Museveni directed the Ministry of Finance to release the 20 billion Shillings stimulus package to support private schools. The President was concerned about the financial challenges faced by privately aided secondary schools across the country, including the risk of loan default and salary non-payment for teachers.

Hajj Faisal Ssenono Zaake, the Chairperson of Private School Owners in Mpigi District and Secretary General of the National Private Teachers Association, expressed disappointment that three years have passed since the presidential pledge was made, but the funds have not been disbursed to the schools.

The closure of schools due to the pandemic left around 350,000 private school teachers struggling to make ends meet. The pledged funds were intended to help them cope with the difficult situation. However, the government has not released the money, and various groups have been advocating for its management. In April 2021, the Uganda Private Teacher’s Union petitioned the 10th Parliament to intervene and push for the release of the funds.

Despite their efforts, the funds remain undistributed. The government had proposed channeling the money through the Microfinance Support Centre (MSC), but the Ministry of Education opposed this idea based on past experiences with public school funds. Abubaker Sseruyange Kisule, the Head-teacher of Wamatovu Seed Muslim Secondary School in Kiringente Sub-County, also shared his concerns during Mpuuga’s visit to the area.

The school, established in 2012 by the community, is facing issues of overcrowding and understaffing. With a current student population of 1,209, the facility was designed to accommodate only 360 students. Additionally, the school has a shortage of teachers, with only 21 on the government payroll and 20 non-teaching staff members.

Mpuuga acknowledged the imbalances faced by teachers and students in Mpigi district and emphasized the negative impact on motivation and the learning environment. He pledged to raise the matter in parliament to urge the relevant ministries to take appropriate action.

Mpuuga has been conducting an oversight tour across several districts, including Buvuma, Entebbe, Buikwe, Namisindwa, Jinja, Kayunga, and Mukono.

During these visits, local leaders and residents have voiced concerns about land conflicts, human rights abuses by security operatives at lakes and landing sites, poor service delivery, and drug stockouts in government health facilities.

Mpuuga will continue his tour by visiting Butambala and Gomba districts to assess the state of service delivery and engage with local leaders and residents.

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