The Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda has commended the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit for the efforts it is taking to improve service delivery in the education sector.

He said the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit was created to support and enhance priority sectors to achieve their mandates thus improving service delivery in the country.

The Premier made the remarks while chairing a meeting on the Review of Progress in Service Delivery for 20 focus districts organized by the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (PMDU) at the office of the Prime Minister on Wednesday.

PM Rugunda in a group photo with key government officals and PMDU staff who attended the meeting on the Review of progress in service delivery for 20 focus districts at OPM on Wednesday(Photo by PMPU)

The PMDU report on attempts to reduce UPE teacher’s absenteeism in 20 focus districts was discussed during the meeting. The 20 focus districts include; Bukwo, Kween, Bududa, Bulambuli, Serere, Sironko, Buyende, Namutumba, Buvuma, Bugiri, Mbale, Kaliro, Kayunga, Mayuge, Soroti, Tororo, Manafwa, Paliisa, Luuka and Kapchorwa.

The Head of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, Prof. Ezra Suruma said PMDU’s intervention to curb teachers’ absenteeism in UPE schools was based on the President’s directive which was issued to Cabinet in June 2015 to improve service delivery in health and education ‘decisively.’

He said, the medium and long term objectives in improving the quality of education include; improving passing rates in literacy, improving passing rates in numeracy and improving UNEB primary results.

Prof. Suruma noted that some of the key barriers to quality education established by the surveys undertaken by PMDU include; low levels of teacher attendance and pupil presence, failure to meet deadlines on task strategies, poor quality of teachers, shortage of teachers and lack of teaching materials.

Teacher presence in schools was however identified by the taskforce as the most immediate means to improve the quality of education in UPE school.

It was on this basis, that the PMDU developed the Monitoring system that was deployed at all primary schools in the 20 focus districts with an aim of increasing UPE teacher attendance to 100% in those schools by January 2018.

Suruma said there has been a noticeable improvement and change in the levels of teacher absenteeism ever since the monitoring system was implemented in the 20 districts. He said progress registered indicate that teacher absenteeism had dropped from 7. 80% in August to 4.90% in November 2017.He also said PLE performance has slightly improved in the 20 focus districts.

Prof. Suruma also commended the actions taken by the districts to curb teacher absenteeism after PMDU’s intervention.

“184 warning letters have been issued, In Bugiri District, 5 ghost teachers have been removed from the payroll, 7 teachers have been deleted from the payroll, 5 Head teachers demoted and 4 warned while 94 teachers and 2 head teachers have been submitted to the District Service Commission for action. And for the rewards, 100 thank you letters have been given,” Suruma said.

Suruma however noted that some of the key challenges the Ministry of Education needs to resolve include; failure to retire critically ill teachers who are always absent, frequent transfer of teachers and head teachers, shortage of teachers, cultural and political wrangles and delay in data submission by head teachers among others.

The Minister of state for Primary Education, Rosemary Sseninde also noted that lack of a feeding program for pupils has contributed to absenteeism among the pupils leading to poor performance.

The Minister of Public Service, Wilson Muruli Mukasa applauded PMDU for its approach, noting that it is an innovative way of approaching issues faced in the education sector. He suggested the lab approach which enables people to come up with practical solutions to particular problems.

The Permanent Secretary of the Office of the Prime Minister, Christine Guwatudde Kintu called for joint efforts in improving service delivery and advised the Ministry of Education to endeavor to make specific targets every year.

Thursday, April 26, 2018