By Kampala Post Reporter
The Policy Committee for the Registration of Learners’ project 2017 has decided to extend the ongoing mass biometric registration of school-going children in all Government aided and licensed Private schools up to the end of December 2017. This is to enable completion of the national registration of all pupils and students aged 5-16 in the country that the Ministry of Education and Sports in collaboration with the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) has undertaken.
The Policy Committee chaired by the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Mrs. Janet Museveni convened on Tuesday at State House Nakasero to discuss the way forward for the Registrations of Learners’ Project 2017 that started in June and was supposed to be completed by the end of August 2017.
The Policy Committee was attended by Ministers of Internal Affairs General Jeje Odongo, ICT and National Guidance Frank Tumwebaze and State Ministers of Finance for Planning David Bahati, Rosemary Seninde for Primary Education and Charles Bakkabulindi for Sports. Other members included Permanent Secretaries for Internal Affairs Dr. Benon Mutambi and ICT and National Guidance’s Vincent Bagiire Waiswa, the Executive Director of NIRA Judy Obitre Gama, the Director of Education Standards in the Ministry of Education Dr. Kedrace Turyagyenda and other senior officials from the Ministry of Education and Sports, Internal Affairs, Local Government and NIRA.
Mrs. Janet Museveni said that successful implementation of this project will enable her Ministry to weed out the ghosts and have authentic data on the number of schools and students in the country. “Therefore, it is very important that none of the targeted institutions is left out and the exercise comes to a fruitful completion”, she said urging the Project Steering Committee to endeavour to stick to the timeline of 31st December 2017 as the completion date for this first phase of the registration of school-going children in all the Government and Licensed Private primary, post-primary, secondary and post-secondary institutions.
The National Coordinator for the Registration of Learners’ Project who is also State Minister for Primary Education Rosemary Seninde informed the committee that a total of 7,927,711 learners had been registered as of 9th October 2017 against the overall target of 10 million. This represents 79.3%. She emphasized the need for the continuation of the project so as to fully achieve the target.
The project seeks to ensure registration of learners and assign them with National Identification Numbers (NINs) while those who are 16 years and older will be issued with national identity cards, which the Ministry of Education and Sports will use as the primary identifier of pupils and students in schools.
This will enable establishment of a credible functional register for learners by the Ministry of Education and Sports.
Mrs. Seninde reported that registration of learners had been completed in 9 NIRA regions of Kampala, Mbale, Kabarole, Mbarara, Soroti, Arua, Gulu, Moroto, Soroti and Hoima regions, while the exercise is on-going in Jinja, Masaka and Luwero which started recently in August 2017.
She highlighted some challenges that led to the delayed completion of the project which include the increase in the number of schools that were not in the planned target, slow production of the registration forms, equipment failure and slow response of some headteachers among others.
The Executive Director NIRA Judy Obitre Gama said they anticipate completing the registration of learners in the remaining NIRA regions of Jinja, Masaka, and Luwero by the end of 90 days and thereafter carrying out a countrywide mop exercise. The final list of registered learners will be submitted to the Ministry of Education and Sports on the 31st March 2018. She said that all this will require an additional 4.5 billion shillings.
The Registration of Learners’ Project 2017 followed a directive from a Cabinet meeting of 28th September 2016 instructing the Ministers of Internal Affairs and of Education and Sports to hold discussions and agree on how to fast-track registration of pupils and students in order to weed out ghosts. The statistics generated will be linked to the Education Management Information System (EMIS) and will facilitate easy tracking of transfer of learners, drop-out and fresh enrolment rates and ensure effective implementation of capitation grants. The registered children will form part of the National Identification Register.