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Nakaseke, Luwero withhold capitation grants for 56 Schools over wrong data

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LC 5 Chairman Erastus Kibirango and MP Brenda Nabukenya say the move will help to weed out ghost learners. PHOTO URN

Nakaseke, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Nakaseke and Luwero districts have withheld capitation grants for 56 schools due to inconsistencies in the enrollment data of pupils under Universal Primary Education. In April last year, the Ministry of Education and Sports introduced the re-developed Education Management Information System (EMIS) in both public and private institutions at all levels of learning.

This system was implemented to capture learner data, facilitating performance tracking and enhancing data management in the education sector. The EMIS replaced headcounts in public schools, and since then, head teachers have been instructed to ensure that all learners are registered on the portal.

However, by the end of 2023, the number of learners registered on the EMIS portal in 30 UPE schools in Luwero and 26 schools in Nakaseke district was fewer than the figures reported to the Ministry of Education and Sports. Consequently, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Sports has directed Chief Administrative Officers to withhold capitation grants to these schools until they provide explanations for the inconsistencies.

Some of the affected UPE schools in Luwero district include Kisaze, Kibanyi, Wobulenzi Public, Kasana UMEA, Buyuki RC, and Bwaziba Primary School, among others. Erastus Kibirango, the LC 5 Chairman of Luwero district, stated that the Chief Administrative Officer has already communicated with the headteachers of the affected schools, instructing them to clarify the enrollment data inconsistencies before the funds are released.

Kibirango added that if the headteachers fail to provide satisfactory explanations, the district will only release capitation grants for pupils registered in the system.

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In response to the situation, Hajji Yusuf Kamulegeya, the Luwero District Inspector of Schools, reported that he has met with the headteachers of the affected schools, where they defended themselves regarding the data inconsistencies. Some attributed the discrepancies to internet network failures, frustrations by private service providers, and a lack of computer knowledge required to upload all learners to the EMIS portal.

“Others blamed the problem on parents who failed to produce their National Identification Numbers (NINs), which are necessary for uploading pupil particulars. Some parents claimed they didn’t have National IDs, making it impossible for the schools to register the learners,” Kamulegeya said. Kamulegeya also mentioned that the district extended the deadline for uploading learner data to the EMIS portal before releasing the capitation grant.

However, Ignatius Koomu, the LC 5 Chairman of Nakaseke district, insisted that headteachers of the affected schools must explain whether they inflated earlier enrollment data to fraudulently obtain capitation grants from the government. Koomu highlighted the issue of ghost learners contributing to the listed dropout rates, emphasizing the need to determine whether the missing learners on the EMIS portal existed.

Brenda Nabukenya, the Luwero District Woman Member of Parliament, supported the district’s actions, stating that it would help identify ghost learners who might be included in the schools’ records to obtain capitation grants.

During a recent talk show, Dr. Dennis Mugimba, the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Education and Sports, explained that EMIS was adopted after concerns were raised by the Ministry of Finance regarding the number of learners in UPE and USE programs.

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Mugimba clarified that EMIS aims to verify the existence of learners amidst fears of inflated figures, which could account for a 33% completion rate over five constant years. He noted that headcounts were ineffective in determining this due to the practice of some schools transporting learners from other institutions to UPE schools for the count.

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URN

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