BY SAMUEL NABWIISO
KAMPALA, Uganda–Save the Children has called upon the government of Uganda and international development partners to invest more in children.
The children advocacy agency wants more resources to be allocated in education, health and child protection.
Save the children said the government of Uganda should increase public expenditure on primary education to reflect at least 20% of state spending in the coming financial year 2019/2020. This Save the Children says, will lead the country towards achieving the sustainable development goals especially those focusing on children.
Save the children in their 2018 Global End of Child Index report, found out that although the government introduced Universal Primary Education, the enrollment is still poor especially in rural areas and in the districts that are hosting refuges due to limited resources the government is allocating to the Programme.
According to findings from the report, shortage of funding has led to children with special needs and those in refugee camps to miss on education thus the need for development partners to come up with a special funding targeting education for refugee children.
The report highlights that one in five children are still out of primary school and enrollment for other stages of education is even lower . Only 28% of children get to attend secondary education and only 13% are enrolled in vital pre-primary education, children with disability are particularly at risk of missing out in learning with only 9% able to attend primary school.
Addressing Journalist at the Save the Children Country Head Office in Muyenga a Kampala suburb, the Country Director Saves the Children in Uganda, Brechtje Van Lith says the most affected children are those from poor families across the country.
“These children are increasingly concentrated among the poorest communities and in parts of the country where poverty is highest; this makes access to services very minimal. Children are denied a fair start in life just because of where they are born. A prosperous future for Uganda will only be possible by investing in every child’s development and ensuring no child is left behind,“She explained.
She added that although there are a great number of pupils getting free education under the Universal Primary Education (UPE), the school going children are still faced with the challenge of the quality of education they get under the programme.
“ Even for those children who are in school , the quality of education remains low , particularly in rural areas especially in the north and east of the country . Only 20% of children in primary level 3 can achieve primary level 2 proficiency in English reading and comprehension and just 30% in numeracy and basic addition and subtraction “ She added.