By Kampala Post Reporter
The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Mrs. Janet Museveni on Thursday chaired a meeting where a team from the United Kingdom shared findings from a fact-finding mission on Uganda’s school inspection system and how effective school inspection can be used to drive school improvement. The meeting at Nakasero State House was attended by senior officials from the Ministry of Education and Sports, the Head of DFID in Uganda Jennie Barugh and DFID’s Education Adviser and Head of Human Development, Ed Barnett.
The team from UK comprised Richard Brooks an Inspection and Accountability expert who is also a former Director of Strategy from England’s School Inspectorate and James O’Donoghue, Ark Education Partnership Group’s programme leader in Uganda.
Richard Brooks was in the country on the invitation of Mrs. Janet Museveni to study Uganda’s inspection system and give advice on how it can be strengthened to improve the quality of education. This follows their interaction earlier on in London in January on the sidelines of the Education World Forum.
During their time in Uganda the Inspection and Accountability experts engaged with the Directorate of Education Standards and with the support of DFID visited 8 schools in the Districts of Kampala, Jinja and Mayuge where they interacted with a cross section of people including District Inspector of Schools, head teachers, teachers, students and pupils.
In the findings Richard Brooks pointed out two challenges facing Uganda’s Education system including teachers’ presence in classes teaching the children and the quality of education being given to the students. He said currently school inspectors over concentrate on paper work instead of observing what is actually taking place in the schools for example whether the children are in school and are actually being taught. He advised the Inspectors to focus on things which the schools have control over like the learners’ achievement level, teachers’ presence and the quality of teaching, and also ask strategic questions. He added that the inspection reports should be disseminated and action taken.
Mrs. Janet Museveni agreed that school inspectors have been over concentrating on files instead of focusing on children and improving what is in the schools. She said the fact finding mission was timely and will enable the inspection team to stop attributing poor inspection to inadequate resources and also know what strategic question to ask. “If we have a strong inspection team who know what to look for, then our education standards will improve”, she said.
The Education Ministry Under-Secretary Finance and Administration Aggrey Kibenge welcomed the visit by the UK experts saying it was empowering the Education Sector Inspectorate processes and demystifying school inspection to lay emphasis on the children learning and offering quality teaching. He recommended capacity building for the head teachers as first line inspectors, designing a mechanism for central storage of data from inspections for quick access and reference and the increased interface with the Ministry of Local Government and District Service Commissions to address noncompliance of teachers.
The Head of DFID in Uganda Jennie Barugh said DFID is ready to work with the Ministry of Education and Sports to strengthen Uganda’s approach to effective school inspection.
The Director Education Standards in the Ministry of Education and Sports Dr. Kedrace Turyagenda pointed out that head teachers are the chief inspectors at the school level and have to be held accountable to issues raised about their schools. She also observed that the current appraisal system is so generic and does not focus on the teaching and learning process, which calls for a review.
It was observed that teachers fail to do their work because there is no punitive measure for noncompliance. To address this, the meeting recommended action being taken against head teachers who fail to supervise their teachers and holding accountable all head teachers in schools where children do not perform well.