In 2016, more than 460,000 students – or 28%of all secondary students – were enrolled in USE private schools. This indicates that PPP schools have been playing a big role in meeting the demands for secondary education in Uganda. It also suggests that there are many parents and schools awaiting for news on what new policy might replace the USE PPP to govern engagement between the ministry and the country’s large, private secondary education sector.
Uganda’s Universal Secondary Education policy is aimed at opening access and creating
opportunities for poor students to attend secondary schools (MOES, 2007). In 2007, one school in every sub-county was chosen to become a USE school, thus creating a parallel system of
government schools in which one was free and all other government schools remained under a fee-based structure. As the official focus of the policy is on extending educational access for students, comparatively little planning attention was paid to how this policy might impact teachers within USE schools.
In follow-up to Universal Primary Education (UPE), the Government of Uganda introduced in 2007 its Universal Secondary Education (USE) policy in order to increase access to quality secondary education for economically vulnerable families.
USE plays a primarily political role, because of which the actual improvement of service delivery is secondary. This leads to a situation in which congested classrooms and reduced teacher compensation are key-elements, all negatively affecting motivation of the key-actors involved, and ultimately influencing educational performance.
Although the USE program was designed with co-responsibility of parents, schools and government in mind , it was implemented without sufficient attention to local school realities. Consequently, the intention of increasing access to quality education through USE has not been achieved to date.
In January 2018, the Ministry of Education and Sports announced the phase-out of the Universal Secondary Education (USE) Public-Private Partnership (PPP) programme, which had supported students with a Shs47,000 subsidy per term for their fees for more than 10 years.
The government of Uganda is phasing out the Universal Secondary Education (USE) program in private schools starting this year. From this year no government sponsored student will be admitted in a private school for senior one and senior five. Continuing senior two, three, four and six will continue under the program until it phases out.
The Ministry of Education Permanent Secretary, Alex Kakooza while speaking at the selection of senior-one students at Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) grounds in Kampala, said that at the start of the program, government engaged private schools because it did not have enough secondary schools in many areas.