The Education Policy Review Commission has resumed public hearings and field visits following a period of inactivity due to a lack of funding.
In 2020, the Education Minister, Janet Kataha Museveni, established a 12-member commission, led by Col (Rtd) Nuwe Amanya Mushega, with the aim of investigating and examining various aspects of the education and sports sub-sectors. Their purpose was to provide recommendations on how to address challenges within the education sector.
Despite the initial anticipation and excitement from the public, the commission, originally scheduled to operate for one year, encountered various challenges that impeded its progress. These challenges included limited resources and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
At some point, the commission’s work completely ceased due to a lack of funding to support their activities. However, they have since been granted an extension to continue their work and have resumed public hearings.
“The commission is now actively engaged in the field, directly interacting with the public,” a member of the commission told said on condition of anonymity.
Agnes Asulo, the Communications Specialist at the commission, confirmed this development but emphasized that the commission had not ceased its operations due to funding gaps. She explains that they utilized that time to compile reports based on the various memoranda and public hearings they had previously conducted.
Asulo said that the commission has already been covering areas within the West Nile region and there are plans to visit the Acholi and Karamoja regions in the near future.
During numerous interactions, Amanya-Mushega, who is also a former Education Minister, consistently emphasized the importance of the commission meeting a wide range of individuals and reaching nearly all regions of the country.
Mushega noted that the intention is to gather diverse perspectives on what people believe the education system should entail. By doing so, they aim to ensure that the final report produced by the commission accurately represents the views and aspirations of the general population.
Prior to the disruption of public hearings, the commission had already conducted visits to Busoga and Kampala regions. During these visits, they had the opportunity to engage with teachers, parents, education institutions, and other establishments like cultural institutions.
The commission also met with individuals and organizations which had submitted written memoranda, providing valuable suggestions on how the education system in Uganda should be improved. The interactions primarily focused on various issues related to examinations and assessments.
A significant number of participants expressed their support for discontinuing the Primary Leaving Examination (PLE) and implementing continuous assessment throughout all levels of education.
Additionally, discussions also revolved around the structure of education, addressing concerns such as the possibility of reducing or extending the number of years spent at the primary and secondary levels. Other topics raised during the discussions encompassed policy, planning, funding, access, implementation, management, quality, institutional and staff capacity, as well as legislation related to the education system.
Since Uganda gained independence, there have been three commissions established to address educational matters. The first was the Castle Commission in 1963. Another commission was appointed in 1977 and worked on making recommendations; however, these recommendations were never disclosed to the public due to a change in regime and other factors that played out at the time.
There was also the renowned Kajubi Commission, active from 1987 to 1989, which extensively toured the country, gathering information and compiling a report. This report served as the foundation for the creation of the 1992 Education White Paper.