Parliament’s Education Committee has learnt that 23 billion Shillings that was recently recalled from the various districts has been earmarked for the procurement of more learning materials for pupils.
State Minister for Higher Education John Chrysostom Muyingo told the Committee today that the money in question was capitation that remained unutilized by schools across the country during the COVID-19 lockdown. It will now be used as additional funding on top of an earlier grant from the World Bank to support learning during the lockdown.
The World Bank, through the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), availed 20.6 billion Shillings as a grant under the COVID-19 response project, which partly facilitates a budget of 43.2 billion Shillings for the procurement of learning materials for learners. This implied that the Ministry remained with a funding gap of 22.6 billion Shillings.
The Minister says that they have now procured and distributed materials for Primary Five to Primary Seven and Senior One to Senior Four learners, based on the funds availed from the World Bank as of December 2020. The materials developed by the National Curriculum Development Centre were published and distributed by Baroque Publishers Ltd distributing in the Eastern region, Fountain Publishers Ltd in the Central region and MK Publishers in Northern and Western Uganda.
Muyingo told MPs that the World Bank funds did not provide for classes of Primary One to Primary Four and Senior Five to Senior Six and that this is the reason his Ministry and that of Finance agreed to cover the gap with resources meant for capitation that remained unutilized.
Alex Kakooza, the Education Ministry Permanent Secretary says that recalling this money from Local Governments will not affect the capitation grant that ordinarily goes to schools.
Stephen Kisa, the Luuka South MP demanded the record of material distribution in order for the committee to ascertain schools that have so far benefited from the reading materials. He reported that in his constituency, very schools have received the materials and that they are of poor quality.
Jacob Opolot, the Committee Chairperson directed that the Ministry avails the record of material distribution and details about procurement of the three distributing companies.
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