With a 21.4% inflation rate in the last year, Uganda’s educational system has been forced to alter their fees accordingly. What does this mean for the students attending these schools?
As we’ve noticed in northern Uganda, many families already choose not to send their children to school, as the fees are just too expensive. Uganda is under the universal educational program but unfortunately, having the ‘universal’ title does not mean it is all inclusive. School fees still exist and this is due to lack of government funding, and privatization. Many families cannot afford to send their children to school and thus, thousands of students across Uganda are missing out.
In the past few months, we have also seen the threat of a teachers’ strike across Uganda. Teachers face risk of not getting paid monthly, not finding work, and have been continuously underpaid. We are waiting to see how the government will respond in assisting the people that will help mould the future citizens of Uganda.
In the last 20 years, education has reached more Ugandans than ever before, but with the additional increase in living expenses and educational fees, what does this mean for students now? Will more children be held back to help their family at home? Will more students have to drop out because of the increase in fees? Will families hesitate to send their children to classes? Will teachers continue to receive low pay or will they make change through striking?
All of these questions will be answered in the next year but it also brings to light that many things should be open to adjustment in the Ugandan educational system. If change does not happen, we will continue to see thousands of students lacking essential education. As the new term begins this month, I hope that the government takes time to sort through these issues and make the future of education a number one priority. We can only wait and see.