The Minister of Education and Sports Janet Kataha Museveni has reportedly halted the allocation of funds and distribution of physical items that have been donated by non-state organizations in an effort to facilitate the recovery of the education sector citing foul play from ministry officials.
In November last year when Uganda prepared for school reopening, the education ministry organised a symposium with the aim of bringing together key stakeholders from the private sector to support its recovery programmes.
During the conference, a total of 34 institutions agreed to contribute support totaling to 247.9 billion shillings, with representatives from the Global Partnership for Education promising to match every shilling provided by the private sector, bringing the total to 495.8 billion shillings. Others promised to provide physical items and services.
Uganda Radio Network has established that other organizations have been honoring their commitments from the beginning of the year. According to ministry sources, a significant sum of money as well as other physical assets, have already been gathered from ten institutions.
However, there have been suspicions that some officials were planning to take some of the funds and items. “They intended to distribute some of this cash to schools that had already overcome their challenges,” one of the sources pointed out.
Before the reopening, the government granted recovery funding to schools in need. Other schools, on the other hand got help from their local governments, communities, and non-governmental organisations. The ministry also recommended that schools with significant issues, such as a shortage of classrooms be helped through budget allocation which was done.
According to the source, months after reopening, schools with difficulties that had previously been helped were also on the list of schools that would be supported with private sector cash. This triggered the education minister to raise questions.
“At first, top management thought that the items could be given to schools as they come in. But, remember they have been several lines of funding recovery programme. The first lady was worried of duplication of work or even mis-allocation of resources and possibility of swindling the funds,” the source added.
Dr. Jane Egua-Okou, the director for higher technical vocational education and training in the Ministry of Education and Sports has confirmed the development noting that the Minister has since ordered that all the available resources from private sector be but in one pull at the moment.
Dr. Egua-Okou adds that Janet Kataha Museveni has also directed that a new assessment be carried out to establish schools to benefit from the funds collected from the private sector.
Although Dr. Egau-Okou ruled out corruption tendencies among the process, she says the move has been made to ensure that funds are not directed to schools whose problems are already solved yet there are others which are still in dire need of help.
She also disclosed that they have so far collected 1.5 billion shillings in cash from local private sector players and the money is currently in a given account in Bank of Uganda. She further adds that several education development partners like UNICEF have also met their pledges though their contributions are channeled in other well established avenues.