Kampala, Uganda, 29 June – The Ugandan Ministry of Education and Sports and the Uganda Bureau of Statistics are finalizing today a report on the country’s first national education account (NEA), which is designed to help ensure that resources are allocated equitably and efficiently within the country’s education system. Key national education stakeholders from government, education development partners, NGOs and the private sector are gathering for a one-day workshop to validate the NEA report.
“For the last five years Uganda has spent more than 10 per cent of its overall budget on education, yet educational achievement remains low,” said Janet Kataha Museveni, Uganda’s Honorable Minister of Education and Sports. “This underpins the need to develop NEAs, which can serve as a basis for annual reporting and budget requests.”
An NEA is a comprehensive information system that helps produce reliable and transparent data on education spending from all sources – government, household, international and private across all education levels. This can help countries better understand how education is funded and aid in the design of national policies that correspond to current education needs.
Launched in 2013, the NEA project is a collaborative effort of the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP-UNESCO), the IIEP-Pôle de Dakar, and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) to develop a sustainable model for the development of an NEA that could be replicated worldwide. With the financial support of the Global Partnership for Education, Uganda was selected as one of eight countries to take part in the three-year project.
The NEA provides unprecedented insight into the financial health of Uganda’s education system and helps put in place a sustainable system for reporting, processing and analysing education finance data. This will help facilitate the financing and monitoring of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Uganda’s second National Development Plan (NDP II) and its Vision 2040.
“As we work towards achieving a middle class income economy by 2020, the implementation of comprehensive and comparable education finance data is crucial,” said permanent secretary in the MoES, Rose Nassali Lukwago. “The financing of education has become a key issue in national and international efforts to achieving quality education outcomes, as well as for better educational planning, management and resource mobilization.”
The financing of education has become a key issue in national and international efforts to achieve quality education. However, many countries face challenges in accurately tracking financial flows to education. The annual education sector reviews often provide only brief overviews of public expenditure, leaving out contributions from donors, parents and communities. There is also often a lack of details about where the money goes and whether it is being used effectively.
IIEP Director Suzanne Grant Lewis added that transparent and comprehensive data can help policy-makers ensure that government and external spending and resources are going where they are most needed. “The important role of an NEA in both education policy design and implementation will have an impact far beyond 2016 and towards the achievement of the Education 2030 agenda. The eight countries involved have helped create a methodology for the development of an NEA from which all countries seeking to create high quality and equitable education systems will be able to benefit. The Ugandan government should be proud of its valuable contribution to this global public good.”
“NEAs serve as a gateway to good-quality data on financial flows, which can help governments understand how funds are disbursed, which groups are disadvantaged in terms of access to funding, and what can be done to improve cost efficiency and effectiveness,” said UNESCO Institute for Statistics Director Silvia Montoya. “With accurate data, governments, donors and communities can track the flows and ensure that the investments are well-spent. In many cases, the data show that countries tend to spend more on education than is typically assumed.”
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