The Minister of State for Primary Education, Rosemary Seninde, has said that the on-going mass registration of school children aged 5-16 years. is strictly for children who are schooling. “Those who are not in schools have to wait for their programme which is coming soon. One of the reasons that we are handling this first, is because we want to eradicate the vice of ghost pupils/ students from our education system.”
She said the Registration of Learners’ Project 2017, came as a Government decision which was made during the retreat of ministers and permanent secretaries of 6th-16th February, 2014. “The major issue of this project was to improve the Education Sector through strengthening, monitoring and supervision mechanism in order to fight ghost students, general laxity and indiscipline in the sector. This is the most imperative aim of achieving quality education,” the minister added.
It is also aimed at the elimination of the need to conduct annual national head count exercise, as statistics will be generated promptly from Education Management Information System (EMIS), linked to the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) register. This will facilitate the tracking of transfer of learners, drop-out and fresh enrolment rates and ensure effective implementation of capitation grants.
Given to ministry of Education and NIRA, the project aims to register over 10 million learners in Primary, Secondary schools and post-Primary technical institution in the country. So far over one million learners have been registered. The project is expected to end on 30th August, 2017.
While addressing the media, Seninde clarified that the project affects all schools in Uganda. “This registration is not only for public, but also private schools. Even those schools which have not been registered by the Ministry of Education and Sports will have to register their children,” she added.
To the owners of schools which have not been licensed by Ministry of Education and Sports, she said; “This is not the time to close unlicensed schools, but we are registering children so long as is the school term,” she said, however advising those owners to register their schools to avoid problems.
The NIRA Director Operations and Registrations, Brig. Gen. Stephen Kwiringira, warned school teachers and NIRA officers not ask money from parents or guardians. “Everything is for free, all forms are given free of cost, no money is required to do any registration, be it for school children, or adults registering for national identity cards. It is illegal and punishable to ask for money for any of these two activities.” Seninde also warned head-teachers not to use this activity to pin parents who have school fees balances. She said that the exercise had no connections with school fees, “and if anybody is reported she/he will be handled seriously.”
Since the start of the project, 13, 479 schools have so far received the registration forms, out of 15,479. The first stage covered eight regions including; Kampala, Arua, Gulu, Moroto, Soroti, Mbarara, Hoima and Kabarole. Four sub-regions: Jinja, Mbale, Masaka and Luweero have not yet received the forms; they will receive their forms before the end of the week.