BY ARTHUR ARNOLD WADERO
Private school owners in Uganda have asked the government to provide each school under their umbrella body at least Shs100 million as relief fund ahead of the official re-opening of schools expected in January next year.
In their plea made through the Parliament’s Education Committee, the proprietors under their fraternity-National Private Educational Institutions Association Uganda (NPEIA-UG), reasoned that the money once advanced will be used to among others to resuscitate from Covid effects and ably open up.
The Education Committee is currently scrutinizing a motion tabled by some MPs seeking Parliament to urge the Government to establish a Covid recovery fund to cushion private schools from the impact of the pandemic.
According to the Executive Director (ED) of the NPEIA-UG, Mr Didas Orikiriza said there are 28,000 private Educational institutions under their umbrella body and this means that it will cost the government at least Shs Shs2 Trillion to meet teacher’s call. Mr Orikiriza also claimed that there are over 9 million learners absorbed in privately owned schools in the country.
In an interview with the Daily Monitor, the Executive Director (ED) Mr Didas Orikiriza reasoned that the money will among others be used to finance the reopening process of schools early next year and pay teachers for the opening months of the first term.
Mr Didas Orikiriza also said that the money will partly cushion the school assets that had initially been used to secure loans in various commercial banks.
Mr Stephen Waako, the National Secretary-General of the NPEIA-UG, justified the request for the money saying that the private education sector saves the Government a big budget to finance the construction and operationalization of public educational facilities accessible to all and at all levels of training.
“We hereby propose that a secured Private Educational Institutions Recovery Fund of Shs100m be granted per school as a stimulus package to enable re-starting or jump-starting functional operations of the sector on health, safety, and infrastructure requirements on SOPs. The Recovery Fund of Shs100m per school to be payable in a period of not less than 5years, secured by the school at not more than 5 percent interest per annum,” Mr Waako said.
The numerous calls pressed on the government from stakeholders in the private schools are yet to yield. On Wednesday, the Uganda Bankers Association asked the government to establish a medium-term recovery of $300 Million (approximately Shs 1.08 Trillion) to enable private schools in the country to adequately prepare for the reopening scheduled for January next year.