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Day July 6, 2019

Govt should allow sugarcane export


By Allan Mwase

Recently, farmers petitioned the Speaker of Parliament seeking to be allowed to export the surplus sugarcane to the Kenya. As a farmer in Busoga who has sugarcane that is due for harvest, but has no local favourable market, I second the proposal as a short-term measure to protect the farmer.

I hope Parliament fast-tracks this matter. Allowing export to Kenya will expand the cane market in the true spirit of the East African Community common market. This will enable farmers to earn meaningfully from their hard work, hence increasing household incomes, especially in Busoga Sub-region. It will also show that Parliament stands with hard working Ugandans and will not sit and watch them lose income after 18 months of hard work.

Currently, many farmers in Busoga risk registering losses after they invested heavily in sugarcane growing. While the transport cost has been increased due to high demand for sugarcane, the cost is made higher by the delay at the factory before a truck is offloaded.

It takes about seven days before sugarcane is offloaded at the factory. On Monday, one of the factory owners in the region sent an SMS to farmers about a drop-in price from Shs128,000 per tonne to Shs120,000 per tonne.

Besides, the cost to farmers is compounded by the fact that the factory owner can adjust prices at their own pleasure. Therefore, it would be good to allow farmers to export surplus canes to Kenya.

Allan Mwase,
Sugarcane farmer

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Murder is getting out of control in Uganda


By Daniel Bwanika via UAH forum

Every person who has killed another person where there is proof, including diehard NRM supporters and tribal men and women (you know cases in court or that have been thrown out) should face death
by firing squad where they committed the crime.That will assure the country of another 13–20 years of peace depending on other issues that are making people so terribly worried being resolved .

Modern criminal law, can’t solve what we are experiencing in Uganda.In fact the raising prisoner population is another future concern. And if we insist, I can assure what we have seen so far where he justice system is part of these sort things will overwhelm every body. That is one.

Uganda police petitioned over rampant kidnaps and murder of women


Second, although some of these crimes appear to be random as the one
in Mutukula Lyantonde over the weekend where a police and UPDF officer were involved, crime is taking on a dangerous momentum – people are thinking of big money. In this case a rich man hired the police and updf officer , see?!

Where there is big money, the entire criminal and justice system is
dead.This is our country no one should be ashamed of firing squad for killers of women and children.

I have lived long enough on this earth to understand the nature of
certain things. Crime develops like cancer and if you do not act
faster, we are moving to Italy. The police are also human beings.

Third – Uganda is in a phase where people earn little but needs are
exploding beyond their means (car, mansions, smart phone, grocery
store, startime , flat screens).

The economy can’t move faster- unless the state instill a sense of
purpose among the citizen – many of us are dead. Those young people
you represent are coming for us to get the money, the car, the flat
screen, you name.From Friday 28 June to Saturday 29 June (24 hours) more than 15 people just in a radius of 150 kilometers have been murdered!What else can the police and Ochola do? For the past one year all murderers have been caught but the situation is not getting better!

Two weeks ago, a person a women killed 7 family members.
https://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Horrific-scenes–Mbarara-murder-of-seven-family-members/688334-5150502-5qiy5gz/index.html

Had Idi Amin not shocked Ugandans with executions – the seventies
would have been hell.There are three levels that should be considered now

1. National Security is at stake – The Army must come in to rescue the situation. That implies they go in and open a war against state
aggressors. That means implies do whatever is possible to terminating
these kinds before they do more damage.

2. Local Security is at stake- The police can no longer help the
situation since they are infiltrated by criminals operating with
military skills. The police can’t operate outside the its mandate of
provide law and order in local national frame work. We are left with
option one

3. Local defense security is at stake – the local defense working with the community have no ability whatsoever to fight people with military weapons that has failed in point two.

To note; if the state fails to apply military order by publicly
executing armed criminals, what has been going on from the past two
years has boomeranged into full scale national war that is far worse
than all wars we have had in this country.

This people kill anybody; children, old, women

On the World Bank’s Wrong Advice to Uganda to Scrap the PLE


by

Mukwanason A. Hyuha
Professor of Economics
Centre for Critical Thinking and Alternative Analysis
hyuhama@gmail.com
June 12, 2019.

Introduction

According to the 13th Uganda Economic Update, released on June 7, 2019, the World Bank has advised Uganda, inter alia, to:

1.Scrap Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) and rely heavily on continuous assessment.

2.Eliminate class repetition so as to reduce on wastes and encourage the learners to complete.

3.Stop constructing teachers’ houses, libraries and laboratories in secondary schools.

4.Expand pre-primary education so as to improve the reading and numeracy of its citizens.

5.Privatise poorly performing schools.

Recommendation 2 (automatic promotion) is effectively being implemented in the primary section of Uganda’s education system. In my opinion, there are more cons than pros on this policy; hence, one hopes that it will not be extended to post-primary sections.

The World Bank gives two reasons to justify the first recommendation. First, because $82million is lost in ‘unproductive education’ as many children leave in the middle of primary education when they are still illiterate. Second, one “way to improve the issue of low transition to lower secondary could be abolishing examinations in the final grade of primary. The rationale for this policy is that most countries now consider primary and secondary education as part of the same foundational education, which they are making compulsory. …”.

The ‘advice’ to stop building teachers’ houses, libraries and laboratories in secondary schools is justified because this activity is, allegedly, not only costly but also unsustainable. In addition, the last two recommendations are justified because they are supposed to improve the country’s reading and numeracy levels and result in cost reductions and efficiency.

Besigye offered to pay fees for Deogloria Virtue Ejang, best PLE girl in northern Uganda who had failed to join secondary.


In this short paper, I critically evaluate some of these ‘advices’—with great emphasis on the first three. I believe that the ‘advices’ are not only misplaced and inappropriate but also imprudent and likely to result in a further deterioration in academic standards, and, eventually, lead to unintended results. Implementation of the advices is bound to increase ignorance—lowering of academic standards across the board—and yet ‘ignorance is more expensive than education’. Besides, in a corruption-ridden country like Uganda, is a continuous assessment system likely to operate optimally? Given the society-embedded corruption, with the profit motive being the basic guiding light for private schools, are many schools not likely to distort or inflate continuous assessment grades for their students so as to outcompete others?

High Dropout (Attrition) Rates in Uganda

It is true that attrition rates are very high, thereby contributing to the lower transition from primary to lower secondary education sections. As the following table shows, in 2009, pupil enrollment in P.1 was 1,943,552, and in 2013, the enrollment was 1,883,803, while the enrollment in the same years in P.7 were 544,531 and 579,431, respectively. Assuming that these are typical years, this gives attrition (drop-out) rates of 72.0% and 69.2% for the two years, respectively.

What explains the high attrition rates in the primary section? As I stated in an earlier (published) article (see the New Vision, April 3, 2019), since there is automatic promotion of pupils at the primary school level, the attrition cannot be due to examination bottlenecks. Instead, research has shown that factors that lead to this significant attrition include, inter alia, the following:

1. High poverty levels that lead to poor provision to students by parents and guardians of the required tuition fees, reading materials, school meal charges, uniforms, and other scholastic materials. This is more pronounced in rural than urban areas. A parent under abject poverty is in great pain and stress to provide his family with a decent meal; hence, he/she should not be expected to afford scholastic materials or cater for his/her child’s feeding at school.

2. In view of the extreme poverty, there exist several other families that ‘force’ their children to get employed in sugarcane estates, tea plantations or rudimentary mines—even if the families have a high value for education. The fact is that the harsh socio-economic conditions under which they live compel them to put their personal economies ahead of education.

3. Bad parenting, whereby children are left on their own. In such a situation, children may abandon their homes and become ‘street kids’.

4. Excessive alcoholism in a family, a situation that leaves very little income for spending on education and other necessities. This may also result in children becoming ‘street kids’.

5. Violence and/or severe misunderstandings among parents in a home. This situation may also lead to children running away from their homes to become ‘street kids’.

6. Negative societal attitudes towards the girl-child in the face of biting poverty, that often lead to parents and guardians marrying off their daughters early so as to get bride price.

7. Lack of necessities, such as sanitary pads, as far as girls in the upper sections of the primary school level are concerned.

8. A poor teaching and learning environment, mostly in rural schools. This includes poor physical and academic infrastructures, poor teaching and high teacher absenteeism rates, poor motivation for both teachers and students (e.g., poor teacher remuneration and lack of career guidance for pupils), etc. For instance, various studies have shown that pupils’ learning environment and conditions are quite harsh and unconducive; hence, most primary school graduates can neither read nor write, nor do basic mathematics. This has led to the low quality of education, yet the strength of a structure or system depends on its foundation or pillars.

9. Availability of factors that attract pupils away from school—such as local ‘cinema halls’, gambling and other distractions. Besides, many parents in rice-growing areas, like Doho in Butaleja District, often engage their children in tending rice gardens during school time—leading to high pupil absenteeism. In fact, even teachers in such areas pay more attention to their rice gardens than to teaching; some report to school as late as 11.00a.m. daily.

10. Other explanatory factors include the exorbitant fees charged by private and other schools, in addition to poverty and the high cost of living. A parent will often erroneously appear not to prioritise education, yet deep down he/she would have loved to see his/her child in school.

Note that, as evident from the above table, attrition rates at the secondary school levels (Senior 1 to Senior 4) are also high, although far lower than those at the primary school level.

Extremely Low Academic Standards at All Education Levels

I and various other researchers and writers on the education system in Uganda have argued and shown that academic standards in the country are very low, across the board. This is due, among other things, to poor physical infrastructure at all levels, poor academic facilities, a poor teaching and learning environment, poor supervision or oversight, poor staffing, poor or insufficient consumables in institutions (chemicals for laboratories, computers, other laboratory equipment/requirements, etc.), inadequate teaching, poor remuneration of instructors across the board, adverse effects of the corruption scourge, and issues of inappropriate governance.

In fact, the World Bank itself is in agreement with this issue of low standards—yet it makes the above bizarre recommendations. A report of a study, commissioned in 2018 by the World Bank and other partners, showed that children in Sub-Saharan Africa learn very little in education systems with millions of them lacking basic literacy and numeracy skills even after spending many years in school. The report explains that schooling is not the same as learning, and that in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, when Primary 3 pupils were asked during the study to read a sentence such as “The name of the dog is Puppy”, three-quarters did not understand what it said.

Further, according to the report, at least 80% of pupils in Primary 2 in Uganda cannot perform a two-digit subtraction, whereas 61% cannot read a single word of a short sentence. For example, in rural areas, the report says, nearly 75% of pupils in Primary 3 could not solve a two-digit subtraction, such as “46 – 17”, and by Primary 5, half still could not do so.

Analysis and Conclusion

It is obvious that the World Bank bases its recommendations mainly on the need to reduce attrition (dropout) rates, need to boost transition from primary to lower secondary school levels, and need to cut costs. That is why even mind-boggling recommendations like stopping “constructing teachers’ houses, libraries and laboratories in secondary schools as this is costly and not sustainable” and “privatising poorly performing schools” are made—without taking into account their likely impacts on academic standards.

Garbage in, garbage out; in the face of very low academic standards, automatic promotion and abolition of the PLE would lead to forcefully pushing children with extremely low numeracy and literacy levels from Primary 1 to Senior 4; and these are the majority of learners during the 12 formative years of education. Isn’t this more costly than if automatic promotion is abolished and PLE is retained? Should emphasis be placed on avoiding high attrition rates and improving transition to lower secondary, rather than on measures aimed at bettering working conditions for teachers, revamping physical infrastructure at all school levels, improving academic facilities and teaching and learning environment, fighting the corruption scourge, and so on?

The problem with the Uganda education system is not the high attrition rates and the existence of (the PLE, UCE and UACE) examination ‘bottlenecks’ per se, but existence of factors that militate against lowering dropout rates and improving academic standards across the board.

Thus, to improve education across the board, I strongly believe, the factors that lead to high attrition rates and low standards—some of which have been enumerated above—should be tackled head-on. Automatic promotion, abolishing PLE or UCE or UACE, stopping constructing houses for teachers and other measures recommended by the World Bank are, to say the least, misplaced and inappropriate priorities. If one does a comparative analysis of the situation now and the situation that obtained in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, one is bound to draw the same conclusion as I have done. Otherwise, how could a child, like me, from a poor family and a rural school (Busolwe Primary School), along with many others, have joined a good school like Ntare School? What went wrong? This is the question that needs focus, rather than prioritising the ‘advices’.

Poor people still can’t afford electricity in Uganda


Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited awarded multiple power projects, worth sh126b, to a ghost firm.


By Dan Bwanika via UAH forum

Electricity is still very expensive for low income earners in Uganda!If you use a fridge, deep freezer, cooker, TV, fan, security lights or has family you will spend between UGX 250000 and UGX 400000 shillings a month.Very few people in Uganda in income UGX 700000 shs income black per month can afford that above electricity cost. Even five star hotels in Kampala switch off power at night.

Electricity in Uganda in the 21st century.


My observation from different homes shows people no longer leave on fridges, deep freezers and do not use cookers, electric kettles etc,Such smart meters are extremely useful.

——————–
By George Okello in London
I got my quarterly electricity bill ( 3 months) and it was for only £41 pounds. This is a huge saving because just one year ago, I was paying nearly £80 for the same consumption. The very big change I have made is in my consumption of electricity. I only use what I need. My policy now is switch on and switch off, whenever I enter and leave any room in my house. The beauty of the smart metre is that it gives you red, yellow, orange and green signals. Red means you must check all your equipment and decide whether you need them all on. It may be heating in an empty bedroom, a cooker is left on, a radio left playing in another room etc. It prompts you to take action- once you have set what your consumption level should be, then smart metre will keep you alert- it becomes your big brother.. The other big difference is that the smart metre gives you the consumption in both kilowatts as well as its cost in money terms. So you can tell exactly how much you have spent every single minute of the day, every hour, every day, every week, you know how much you are spending. This wakes people up and makes them alert- for eg why should you sit in your house for an hour leaving your lights and heater on in rooms you are not using at a cost of $1 when you could have switched them off?.

But the one drawback of the smart metre is the huge loss in jobs it has caused. The Energy Companies used to employ at least 50,000 metre readers allover the country- they were a familiar sight moving from house to house reading metres. Most of them have lost their jobs,now replaced by smart metres. That is the downside of new technology, and especially of Artificial Intelligence which is destroying most industries that used to depend on manual labour., replacing human beings with robots.

Human Trafficking is a serious business in Uganda!


By Hon.Beti Nambooze

The Air Dubai plane that touched down at Entebbe airport yesterday evening brought into Uganda more misery than the anticipated happiness. Dozens of girls who were trafficked to the Arab world as slaves were being returned to meet their relatives after a protracted battle which we started about two Weeks ago.

Parents wept on seeing their girls as some had to be wheeled off the plane in wheelchairs. The girls have broken limbs,bruised faces,scars …they are so skinny and sick. Yet these are the lucky ones as some of their colleagues are dead and or cant be traced.

Doreen Magezi one of the victims is the one who put through a distress call to me as her area MP. She was promised work by Marpie International company of Kigowa Ntinda. Marphie advertises its self as a labour agency. Its owned by One Karungi wife to commissioner of Police Henry Tukahirwa.

Hon.Beti Nambooze


On reaching Jordan, Doreen was placed on a stall and sold to the highest bidder at $ 3000 and later handed over to a family that has been treating her as a sub- human. I raised this matter in Parliament and through this effort,Karungi was forced to return the girl,sick and shattered. My involvement saved some other girls who were in Jordan under the same arrangement. Interestingly these slave traders had attempted to force the family to pay back the $3000 before returning the girl…I told the family to leave the matter in my hands.

To display the highest level of impunity Karungi most probably through her husband ordered the airport Police to arrest Doreen on arrival and indeed they arrested her. On gun point a Police lady at entebbe Airport made this girl to record a statement stating why she contacted me! It took my team up to after midnight to get the girl released and taken to hospital since she is in a bad state. These girls have been placed in various health centers amidst fear that they can be harmed by the traffickers since they don’t want them to live and tell the story.
By this post am calling on us all to fight slave trade….we cant be so evil a Country,a country that in this 21st century sell off its energetic,educated young people into slavery.

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