The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Mrs. Janet Museveni and the Irish Ambassador to Uganda H.E William Carlos have met and discussed issues pertaining to improving the quality of education in Uganda.
This was during a courtesy call made by Ambassador Carlos on Wednesday at State House Nakasero. The Ambassador was accompanied by Naome Atako Muhwezi, the Education Advisor and the meeting was attended by senior officers from the Education Ministry led by the Under Secretary Aggrey Kibenge.
Mrs. Janet Museveni hailed the rich background Uganda has had with the Irish Government and specifically pointed out the beautiful schools constructed by Irish Aid in the Karamoja region and have enabled Karimojong children to also access education.
She requested the Irish Embassy to consider partnering with the Ministry of Education in its bid to improve the quality of teachers, which she said is crucial in ensuring quality education. “We are looking for partners to invest in the re-training of our teachers so that they can also pass on better quality education to the students”, she said.
She emphasized the need of first analyzing what is missing in the current teacher training programmes, saying this is what would give direction of what to focus on while designing the teacher re-training programmes.
Mrs. Museveni appreciated the investment by the Irish Government in Uganda and the Irish people’s warm working relationships in the education sector over the years.
Ambassador William Carlos said that Education is a strategic and priority sector for Ireland at home and abroad and is seen as a key driver of economic growth. He said Ireland has invested in education in Uganda since 1994 both financially and technically and it continues to support basic and vocational education guided by the Education Sector Strategic Plan and the National Development Plan II.
He said that Ireland would like to strengthen its relations with the Education Ministry and to support delivery of the Education strategy. He pledged to table the request to partner in the re-training of teachers for consideration during the planning process for the coming years’ strategy.
The Ambassador, together with the Education Advisor at the Irish Embassy, also talked about the Irish Government’s major investments in the education sector which include improving the quality of basic education in 283 primary and 28 secondary schools through the UNICEF programme with a focus on addressing gender barriers and reducing violence in schools. It also supports Skilling Uganda working with Belgium (ENABEL) programme. They also run a bursary programme in Karamoja which supports access and transition from primary to secondary school for over 200 vulnerable pupils.
They also talked about the Teachers making a difference awards programme that they are running in partnership with New Vision, Simba Travel and an Irish NGO Trocaire. This initiative acknowledges and rewards the contribution of teachers who make an outstanding contribution to education and facilitates exchange and learning between Irish and Ugandan teachers. Ireland is also a contributor to the Global Partnership for Education and supports school feeding in Karamoja.
The Irish Ambassador also conveyed sympathies to Ugandans and the Education Ministry for the loss of students in the recent inferno at St. Bernard’s Mannya Secondary and Vocational School in Rakai District.