REMARKS BY THE DEPUTY REPRESENTATIVE, UNICEF UGANDA Dr. Karen B.

Allen Meeting with the Minister of State for Primary Education UNICEF Support to the Education Sector UNICEF Mbuya Warehouse, Kampala / 29 March 2010, 11.00AM The Minister of State for Primary Education, Honourable Kamanda Bataringaya. The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Sports. The Director of Basic and Secondary Education. The Director of Higher, Technical, Vocational Education and Training. The Commissioner for Teacher Instructor Education and Training. The Commissioner for Education Planning. The Commissioner for Basic Education. Distinguished guests in your respective capacities. Ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of the United Nations Children’s Fund in Uganda, I would like to welcome you all to this morning’s special ceremony. We are delighted to witness the official handover of 39 motorcycles, purchased with UNICEF support, by the Ministry of Education and Sports, to the Primary Teachers Colleges of Gulu, Loro, Soroti and Moroto. Let me thank, in particular, the Minister of State for Primary Education, and all the dedicated staff of the Ministry, for this opportunity to share with you my remarks. The education system in Uganda has made laudable achievements in recent years, particularly in greatly increasing access and enrolment. There are still challenges, especially in quality and completion. We fully support the Ministry and the District Governments in their efforts to increase timely enrollment, ensure that boys and girls, once enrolled, go on to complete school and that while they are in school, their classrooms and teachers meet all national standards. We will know we are succeeding when literacy and numeracy proficiency improves everywhere in the country. Currently the national Literacy proficiency for Primary 3 students is just under 56 percent, and for P6, 48 percent. For P3, the national numeracy rate is 71 percent, and for P6, just above 53%. That is at the national level. When we start looking at regional disparities – for example, the northeastern region with a Net Intake Rate as low as 20 percent, and 7 percent completion rate – the situation is serious. Honourable Minister of State. Ladies and gentlemen. Simply put, the task at hand for all of us is to focus on increasing timely access, quality and completion. And we have no better ally in the effort than primary school teachers. In this regard, these motorcycles are intended to strengthen the capacity of the PTCs to provide outreach support to primary schools. Through outreach, PTC staff can improve

training, tutoring and mentoring of primary school teachers – what we call facilitative, supportive supervision. The current motorbikes being used by these PTCs are 16 years old – way beyond primary school age! – and so, this addition will rejuvenate the fleet. It is UNICEF’s wish, that the Coordinating Centre Tutors from the four core PTCs use these motorcycles to increase the frequency of their visits to primary schools. Workshops and other training events are fine, but the best refresher is on-the-ground, on-site mentoring. Furthermore, the insights one gains from such visits will help the Tutors to hone and refine their skills. Teachers must not be sent out to rural schools and then left alone. They need and deserve continuous contact with fellow professionals, to continuously improve their performance in the classroom setting, as well to ensure that learning environments are friendly to all girls and boys. Therefore UNICEF is proud to partner with the Government of Uganda for the betterment of learning. Our vision is to keep all children in Uganda alive, safe and learning. Honourable Minister of State. Ladies and gentlemen. Permit me to conclude my brief remarks by quoting the words of Gabriela Mistral, a Nobel Prize-winning poet and educator. She wrote: “Many of the things we need can wait. The child cannot. Right now is the time his bones are being formed, his blood is being made, and his senses are being developed. To him we cannot answer 'Tomorrow.' His name is 'Today.'”
Let us all be inspired in the collective effort today, for a brighter future for the children of Uganda. Thank you.

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For more information, please contact: Margo O’Sullivan, Chief of Basic Education, UNICEF Uganda, 0717 171 500,

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mosullivan@unicef.org Chulho Hyun, Chief of Communication, UNICEF Uganda, 0717 171 110, chyun@unicef.org

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