The Catholic Church submits 10 demands for education reform

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The Catholic Church demanded that the government increase both capitation grants and research funding, and make Christian Religious Education (CRE) compulsory in church-founded schools.

The church also wants the government to cap tuition fees, pay equal salaries, especially to secondary school teachers, standardize curricula and make pre-primary education compulsory.

He also suggested that in-service teachers, who gain additional qualifications, become eligible for automatic promotion.

The executive secretary for education of the Ugandan Bishops’ Conference, the supreme body of Catholic leadership in the country, in a presentation to the Education Policy Review Commission led by Amanya Mushega in Kampala yesterday, said the government should bear the teaching practice expenses of both public and private universities.

Reverend Father Ronald Reagan Okello argued that CRE education, which is compulsory in Senior One and Two and optional for Candidates and Semi-Candidates, is important in transmitting Christian values ​​and integrity and rehabilitating the morals of Ugandan.

Catholics followed by Anglicans are the majority in Uganda, according to the 2014 census, and both religious denominations have many leading educational and health facilities.

Data from the Catholic Secretariat shows that the church has 6,700 schools across Uganda, including 603 secondary schools.

These include Mt Saint Mary’s Namagunga, Namilyango College School, St Joseph’s Girls Secondary School Nsambya, St Joseph’s College Ombaci, Uganda Martyrs Secondary School Namugongo, St Henry’s College Kitovu and Immaculate Heart Girls’ School among others.

Reverend Father Okello argued that the teaching of CRE will help mold an individual’s conscience and character early and save the country from the pervasive challenges of homosexuality, drug addiction, alcoholism and teenage pregnancies.

“If our education is to provide a holistic formation of a human person to a large extent, we recommend that CRE be taught up to the fourth cycle and that certain exceptions be allowed in terms of the number of languages ​​studied,” he said. he declares.

He added, “The Catholic Church has 23 minor seminaries across the country. They are affected by [the threshold of] a maximum of eight subjects to be entered in the Uganda Certificate of Education (O-Level) examinations, which limits students to dropping either CRE or Latin [yet these] are crucial aspects of their formation and of the language of the Church”.

The chairman of the Education Review Commission, Mr Mushega, said he had compiled a range of views from various stakeholders, including Muslim and Anglican leaders.

Public presentations will be collated and synthesized to generate a ‘government white paper’ as a basis for discussion on what needs to change, and how, with formal education in Uganda.

Despite public outcry over substantial education sector reforms, including calls to reduce theoretical learning, the government has done little to improve the sector.

Critics say the changes made so far are not enough to put the country on a path of developing life skills through different levels of education.

Twaweza Uganda, a civil society group promoting citizen agency and government responsiveness, and which has conducted extensive research on education in East Africa, proposed that education primary school in Uganda be reduced from seven to six years.

The organization in a previous survey found that upper primary students could not read or develop assignments for lower grades, leading to a focus on quality and not just quantity as part of the curriculum. Universal Primary (UPE) introduced in 1997.

During yesterday’s interface at the Catholic Secretariat in Nsambya, Kampala, Reverend Father Okello said, “Universities in the country are characterized by high tuition fees, poor infrastructure, low levels of funding and staffing and low teacher salaries.

“This needs to be resolved by the government to allow our universities to be on par with those in the region,” he said.

The Bishop of Lira Diocese, Rt Rev Sanctus Lino Wanok has warned that most school owners are driven by profits rather than delivering holistic education and called on the government to curb greed and corruption. unlimited commercialization of education.

The negative impact of commercialized education has been described in previous government reports.

In a book titled Scholars in the Marketplace, Professor Mahmood Mamdani warned that the proliferation of courses and the openness, especially of Makerere University to fee-paying students, had diluted the quality of teaching and learning at higher levels.

The Education Review Commission was launched by Education Minister Janet Museveni in May last year.

The team was tasked with carrying out a rapid assessment of the current education system by interacting with citizens and undertaking an in-depth analysis of the 1992 education policy to make recommendations to inform a new “White Paper government’ on education for consideration by Cabinet.

PROPOSALS FROM THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

• Automatic promotion for in-service teachers who upgrade.

• Retrain and develop teachers at all levels.

• The government funds teaching practice in public and private universities.

• Make Christian Religious Education (CRE) compulsory at O ​​level.

• Standardize the curriculum for pre-primary education

• Make preschool education compulsory.

• Increase capitation grants

• Increase research funding.

• Offer equal pay, especially to all secondary school teachers.

• Limit tuition fees and curb commercialized education

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