The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) on Tuesday extended its Education Intervention Project to improve the learning conditions in government-aided primary schools upcountry.
The Fund will cumulatively have spent Shs600 million on the project, contributed by NSSF and other funding partners, the Managing Director Richard Byarugaba revealed.
While addressing journalists at Pioneer Primary School, Byarugaba said that the Fund’s intervention is informed by reports that learning conditions in most public primary schools are below standard and could be a health hazard to the learners and their teachers due to the increase in enrollment in public schools.
“Government has done well extending free primary education to every corner of Uganda. However, with this expansion, the high enrolment numbers have led to overcrowding and pressure on available structures. Our intervention supports government efforts, by refurbishing existing structures as well as improving sanitation in our public schools,” he said.
Byarugaba said that in 2016 the Fund was approached by the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to support it education services directorate to refurbish old buildings and replace asbestos roofing common in Kampala schools that is a health hazard.
The Fund has since last year expanded its intervention to other schools across the country.
“We started at public primary level, where learners are most vulnerable, So far, 9 schools have benefited from this initiative to the tune of Shs600m contributed by the Fund and our other partners. The 9 include St. Ponsiano Kyamula P/S, Nakivubo settlement P/S, Makerere Primary School, Kampala School for the Physically Handicapped, and Mbuya C/O P/S– all under KCCA.
Others are Pioneer P/S- Soroti, Mutolere P/S – Kisoro, Adwari P/S – Otuke, and St. Paul P/S – Nsambya, that have been earmarked to benefit this year.
Byarugaba added that as a good corporate citizen the Fund is committed to supporting government efforts to improve learning conditions in public schools through its Education CSR initiative.
He appreciated companies that contributed to the funding through participation in the annual NSSF Kampala 7 Hills Run, a charity mini-marathon across the 7 historical hills of Kampala.
The funding partners include Equity Bank, Stanbic Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Umeme Limited, MultiChoice Uganda, Clarkson Insurance.
Others are ICEA, Kakira Sugar, CMA, URBRA, Nation Media Uganda, Vision Group, Simba FM, Galaxy FM, UBC, and NBSTV.
Alfred Enyidu, the headteacher at Pioneer Primary School - Soroti, one of the beneficiary schools, said that said the NSSF intervention will go a long way in enhancing quality education in upcountry schools which have for a long time been left behind.
“School buildings have previously been seen only as places where school is 'kept’ and have only recently been considered as places that can directly support or inhibit learning. Learning conditions in schools have often been overlooked, yet also influence schools’ performance. NSSF has found the right area to intervene,” he added.
The event was also attended by the Mayor, Soroti Municipality and other Soroti municipality and district leaders.