I prefer to call it an Educational loan scheme because a student loan scheme in the actual sense of it does not make sense in Uganda setting. You can not waste time and lend to students when the jobs are not there and where there is any employment, when the chances of defaulting are over 65%. When Government pushes for such a scheme, you know it has failed to heed to advice as well as learn from the obvious. It is sad that the badly conceived and poorly packaged educational loan scheme is not likely to take off even in the coming 2012/2013 financial year, coutsey poor priorities by the NRM Government.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
UP EDUCATION BUDGET OR LOSE GRANT, WORLD BANK TELLS GOVT.
By Patience Ahimbisibwe
Posted Friday, February 24 2012 at 00:00
The government stands to lose Shs240 billion if education budget is not increased to 20 per cent of the national budget.
Government must commit to fund budget priority areas such as education, or risk losing external support, the World Bank, one of the biggest lenders to the country, has warned.
Uganda stands to lose $100m (about Shs240b) World Bank grant to education, whose funding has declined to 14 per cent of the national budget instead of the 20 per cent committed by government as a step to achieving the Millennium Development Goals on Education by 2015.
Ms Sukhdeep Brar, an education specialist at the World Bank, on Tuesday, said while Uganda is eligible to apply for the Global Partnership for Education grant, the government has failed to meet the bank’s condition of allocating at least 20 per cent of the national budget towards education. The $100million grant is a catalytic fund to help countries meet the MDGs by 2015.
“This is something that the secretariat will examine. It is a serious issue. When government has continued to reduce funding from 17 per cent to 14 per cent creating a huge gap contrary to World Bank requirement and this will not be taken for granted,” Ms Brar said at the Ministry of Education 2012/2013 budget workshop in Kampala.
The 14 per cent (Shs1.4t) allocation to education is three percent below the 17 per cent projected in the National Development Plan, government’s working document approved in 2010.
The head of education development partners, Mr Marc Gedopt said while the Ministry of Education had indicated that the budget would increase in nominal terms, they had noted a contraction in real terms.
“If we take into account the high rate of inflation at 28.1 per cent, the size of the budget is worse than stagnant and this can have far reaching impact on the ground and serious constraints on our aspirations,” Mr Gedopt said.
He said Shs25b could be saved yearly by eliminating ghost schools, pupils and teachers.
Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka said the budget strategy for FY 2012/13 would prioritise interventions for addressing high interests and inflation, infrastructure constraints and inefficiency in service delivery.
“Our fiscal policy should aim at addressing challenges threatening to reverse the country’s economic growth and long standing record of macroeconomic stability,” Ms Kiwanuka said.
Although education took the largest share of national budget (Shs1.4 trillion), Mr Francis Lubanga, Ministry of Education Permanent Secretary yesterday said the overall deficit in FY 2012/13 budget amounts to Shs314.25 billion from the available resource of Shs1,501.66 billion compared to the total requirement of Shs1815.785 billion.