The education ministry says it is making headway towards eliminating bottlenecks obstructing the transfer of thousands of primary school-leavers to secondary schools.
According to the latest statistics released by the ministry, 130,000 of the primary school pupils who passed their examinations last week will be unable to enter government-owned secondary schools due to capacity shortfalls.
Primary school results published by the government on 23 January show that some 323,982 pupils are competing for 188,500 places in the government secondary schools, if all who are qualified to enrol are to continue their schooling.
"We are doing our best with the resources we have. We have been constructing new secondary schools. We are also offering aid grants and hiring 1,200 new teachers for next term," Secondary Education Minister Beatrice Wabudeya told IRIN.
She went on to note that concerns over the shortfall might be exaggerated, because the country had many private schools. Although statistics on these were unreliable, she added, they were expected to absorb some of the excess numbers. "Our hope is that private schools will be able to absorb some of the excess. We certainly think this will cut down the size of the problem," the minister said.
She added, however, that the government was "still concerned" over a possible shortage of teachers in the secondary schools. "As of now, we are certain that there simply aren’t enough teachers to go round. That must be addressed, and we will soon be releasing funds in an effort to plug the gap," Wabudeya said.
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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions