The Ministry of Education and Sports in collaboration with the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) have undertaken a national exercise to register all learners aged 5-16 in the country.
The registration exercise commenced on 29th May and will run until 30th August 2017 (School Term II).
“Through this project, we aim at registering a projected 10 million learners in primary and secondary schools as well as post primary technical institutions in the country,” said Hon. Rosemary Seninde State Minister of Education/National Coordinator, Registration of Learners’ project.
Seninde said the registration of Learners’ Project 2017 follows the decision of government made during the retreat of Ministers and Permanent Secretaries at Kyankwanzi of 6th-16th February 2014 to operationalise the idea.
The meeting determined that the Education and Sports sector, works towards strengthening of Monitoring and Supervision mechanisms to fight the phenomenon of ghost pupils and students.
It was on these grounds that H.E. the President directed that the biometric registration of all pupils and students be undertaken as a way of strengthening supervision of schools, and rationalizing spending so as to save resources that could then be functionalized in other activities in line with the strategic guidelines and directives of the President.
The benefits that registration of learners seeks to yield can only be emphasized as; Authoritative identification of students and pupils, Ensure effective implementation of capitation grants etc.
Seninde said in the future the NINs will be used as index numbers during national examinations.
Consequently the exercise rolled out on 5th June 2017, with the distribution of registration forms, equipment and materials in the farthest regions of the and subsequently spread out to the rest of the regions countrywide.
To date, delivery of forms, equipment and other materials has so far been done in eight (8) regions including Kampala, Arua, Gulu, Moroto, Soroti, Mbarara, Hoima and Kabarole.
To date a total of 8,737,874 forms have been delivered out of the expected 11.0million (79.4%). A total of 13,479 schools have received forms out of 15,479 schools in districts where forms have been sent.
The last stages have been reached to roll out in the few remaining regions of Masaka, Jinja, Mbale and Luwero.
The required human resource has also been established with a total of 12,000 Enrollment Officers (EOs) and 200 data processing officers recruited at districts to handle the enrolment and data processing processes respectively.
Training of the relevant staff was done using the training of trainers (TOT) approach to ensure speedy skilling and deployment. I wish to update the country that as of 30th of June 1million Learners had been enrolled against an approximated number of 2.9m in month one.
This is attributable to the fact that enrolment has not commenced in some parts of the country. The rate of enrolment is however expected to accelerate in July as the distribution of forms covers the rest of the country.
“I however wish to note that achieving such a noble cause has got to come with some challenges, including slow response on the part of some parents towards the exercise and reluctance in supporting their children register by filling the forms and providing a copy of their National IDs,” she told press.
“We expect this to be solved as we intensify our sensitization and grass roots mobilisation efforts in the districts through the combined actions of the District Coordination Committees (DCCs) and Regional Supervisors to compliment on-going awareness initiatives.”
NIRA’s IT team has also moved fast to resolve the isolated technological challenges by providing ready replacement spares and upgrading the system.
“As you may be aware that it takes a little more time capturing a child’s bio-metrics than that of adults, fortunately it’s working within our projections and we expect to improve since the enrolment teams have gained more experience with the new software and the data capture processes.”