The Minister of Education and Sports, Ms Janet Museveni, was yesterday summoned to appear before Parliament’s Education and Sports Committee to address issues in the Education sector.
The issues include the school fees that have shot up due to the high cost of living crisis and the salary disparities between Science and Arts teachers.
A section of the legislators emphasised that having her appear before the committee would enable crucial matters in the Education ministry to be resolved quickly.
“We need to put our feet down. We have never met the senior minister of Education or had her appear before this committee. When she calls us to Kololo, that is when we go but when we call her here, she never appears here,” Mr Jonathan Ebwalu (Soroti West Division) said.
“There is a total disconnect between the senior minister of Education and the people on ground in the Ministry of Education. The minister of Education is very exotic. Finding her is very difficult,” Mr Ebwalu added.
Ms Museveni, who is also the First Lady, occasionally addresses MPs at Kololo Independence Grounds on matters regarding education.
Before such meetings, the MPs have often been required to undertake Covid-19 tests, a procedure that has irked some and forced them to snub the gatherings.
In November 2021, a section of MPs from the Opposition did not attend a scheduled meeting on reopening of schools at Kololo after demanding that the minister should instead meet them at Parliament.
Mr Matia Kasaija, the Minister of Finance had also been expected to interface with the committee yesterday but did not show up.
The Education Committee chairperson, Mr John Twesigye (Bunyaruguru County), said the presence of Mr Kasaija would be crucial so that he clearly explains the Finance ministry’s role over the exorbitant tuition and non-tuition fees charged by government-aided schools.
“That is why we wanted the presence of the minister of Finance so that we are able to help the parents and children in these schools where fees are increased ambiguously and at the end of the day, in some cases, our children drop out of the school,” Mr Twesigye said.
Mr Kasaija’s response was required in line with a previous motion for resolution of Parliament made on February 9 over the exorbitant tuition and non-tuition fees charged by government-aided schools.
Mr Geofrey Macho (Busia Municipality) said the issue of high cost of fees was important and there was a need to have someone senior from the Finance ministry to address the matter.
“Hon Kasaija might not come to this meeting. This trend must stop because whenever the Committee of Education invites senior ministers here, they send State ministers and whenever they invite commissioners, they send assistant commissioners. It has become habitual that minister Kasaija has never come before this committee. It is on record and bet when he comes today, I will say, praise God,” Mr Macho said.
The legislators resolved to adjourn the meeting briefly after some claims came up that Mr Kasaija was on his way to the committee.
The brief adjournment was for 15 minutes. After failing to appear, Mr Twesige resolved to take up the matter with the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Anita Among, since Mr Kasaija had on many occasions failed to show up and provide the required information relevant for use in the committee.