Uganda’s Minister of Education welcomes Finn Church Aid support for education policy review
Uganda’s First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Mrs. Janet K. Museveni, has welcomed an offer made by Finn Church Aid (FCA) to have Finnish Education Technical Experts support the on-going work of the Education Policy Review Commission in Uganda.
FINN CHURCH AID will second two Finnish education experts; an Education Management Consultant recruited by FinCEED, who will work with the Commission from March up to the end of May 2023 and another Specialist recruited by the Teachers without Borders Network in Finland, who will work from June up to the end of the year.
The First Lady, Mrs. Janet K. Museveni on Thursday (February 23rd, 2023), hosted Finn Church Aid Uganda Country Director and the Finn Church Aid Global Advocacy team from Helsinki, who were in Uganda, to among others, follow up on the proposed actions from the benchmarking visit made by some members of the Education Policy Review Commission to Finland in September last year.
The meeting was at State House Nakasero and it was also attended by representatives from the Education Policy Review Commission led by the Chairperson Hon. Amanya Mushega, and technical officers from the Education and Sports Ministry.
Mrs. Museveni acknowledged that Finland’s education system and success is recognized globally and so, there is much that Uganda can learn from them.
“We are very grateful for your selfless support and your willingness to hold hands with us on this journey to improve our education system”, she said.
She added that learning from Finland’s experience will possibly help the Education Policy Review Commission to be deliberate in its investigations of the several issues in the education and sports sector and enable it generate the best recommendations that will reposition Uganda’s education and sports system to meet the needs and challenges of the 21st century.
Mrs. Museveni thanked Finn Church Aid Uganda for organizing the benchmarking visit for the Education Policy Review Commission and for its continued partnership with the Education Sector in the implementation of various sector programmes, especially the Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities.
In a brief on the benchmarking visit to Finland, the Education Policy Review Commission Chairperson; Hon. Amanya Mushega, described the trip to have been extremely educative.
He pointed out that the teaching profession is highly revered and that the minimum standard for a basic (primary school) teacher in Finland is a Degree, a Master Degree. In addition, one must have a pedagogical subject.
Among the things they noted in Finland, is the central role of a teacher in the education system and the importance of early childhood care and education, which is compulsory for all children in Finland at the age of 6 years so that by the age they join basic education they are all balanced. They also observed that basic education is very important and is accompanied by learning and lifelong education and that a child can continue with basic education until the age of 14, 16 or even 18 years before breaking off for his specialization.
In the Finnish Education system there are no inspectors of schools, no sudden examinations to determine the children’s future, and instead continuous assessment of students’ performance is what is done. Another thing is that children with special needs do not have separate schools but are assisted to study together with other children.
Finn Church Aid Global Director for Stakeholder Relations, Katri Suomi, said education is at the heart of Finn Church Aid, which currently works in 12 countries around the world. She explained that Finland became what it is now today because it invested in education.
While in Uganda, the members of the Global Advocacy team also visited Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Isingiro District and Kyaka II Refugee Settlement in Kyegegwa District. The team also paid courtesy calls to the UN Refugee Agency and European Union Uganda office.
In Uganda, Finn Church Aid is UNHCR’s implementing partner for Education and co-lead for the Education Sector Working group together with the Ministry of Education and Sports and UNHCR coordinating the countrywide Education Response for refugees and host populations.
Text: Linda Kabuzire