Museveni wants to close UPE now that Ugandans are financially better

File photo: UPE pupils in a dilapidated classroom structures at a school on Buvuma Islands
File photo: UPE pupils in a dilapidated classroom structures at a school on Buvuma Islands
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President Museveni has hinted on scraping the Universal Primary Education (UPE), a free education program that government introduced in 1997 to cater for the children of the poor.
Appearing on Radio Open Gate FM in Mbale on Tuesday, President Museveni said UPE was introduced to benefit children from poor families, but that now many Ugandans have become rich, there is no need free education.

“I was in Tororo on Monday and some people told me they can afford to eat pork in clubs and this implies they have the money,” the president who is on countrywide tour sensitise people on the proposed Land Amendment Bill said.
Mr. Museveni said government will scrap off UPE programme if local leaders and other stakeholders established that the general standards of living in the country have improved and many people can afford to pay for their children’s education.
Two latest reports-the Uganda National Household Survey (UNHS) 2016/17 report released by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) and another report by audit firm, Pricewaterhousecoopers (PWC) reveal Ugandans becoming poorer.

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Speaking at release of UNHS report in Kampala, James Muwonge, the UBOS director of Social Economic Surveys said: All regions registered an increase in the number of poor persons with the exception of the northern region where the number of poor persons decreased from 3.1 to 2.4 million.
The eastern region registered the biggest increase from 2.4 million in 2012/13 to more than 4.2 million in 2016/17. Surprisingly, the number of poor persons in the sub-region increased in both rural and urban areas.
The PWC’s economic outlook covering July to September 2017 reveals that over the last five years Ugandans have become poorer.

The PWC’s assessment confirms the March 2017 Oxfam Uganda titled: Who is Growing, Ending inequality In Uganda showed poor Ugandans grew poorer while the rich grew richer. The Oxfam report notes that Uganda has seen ‘growth with exclusion’, where relatively few have benefited from economic gains.

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