The 2017/8 GEM Report showed that national education monitoring reports are a vital tool for transparency and accountability in education yet only 21 out of 48 countries in the sub-Saharan region published an education monitoring report at least once since 2010 and fewer than 10% did so regularly. One of them is the Annual Performance Report of the Ministry of Education and Sports in Uganda, which the Undersecretary at the Ugandan Ministry of Education and Sports, Mr Aggrey Kibenge, talks about in this blog.
The 2017/8 GEM Report showed that the basis of governments’ accountability to Parliament and to the public is a credible education plan with clear targets that allocates resources through transparent, trackable budgets.
Uganda is into its second decade of producing its Education and Sports Sector Annual Performance Report (ESSAPR), which is compiled by the Education Planning and Policy Analysis Department in collaboration with other Ministry of Education and Sports departments. The overall goal of the ESSAPR is to present an analysis of sector performance and feedback to key stakeholders, including the general public, on government efforts to educate its citizenry.
Findings from the ESSAPR are integrated into a comprehensive Government Annual Performance Report submitted to cabinet, which form part of a whole governmental approach to strengthen accountability.
As per GEM Report recommendations, the ESSAPR assesses performance from early childhood through to tertiary education against policies and objectives to inform the next sector review, which seeks to identify priority areas for the coming year. It gives an account of ministry actions and their results at the input, process and outcome levels. It offers some analysis of challenges, discusses factors affecting the achievement of goals and contains budget performance information.
Uganda’s education system faces important challenges. Only 61% of 20-24 year olds had completed primary school in 2016 and in 2015 the pupil-teacher ratio in primary education was 46:1. Added to this are one million people who have crossed borders into the country seeking refuge.
To better learn from and understand the Ugandan experience we spoke to Mr Aggrey Kibenge, Undersecretary at the Ugandan Ministry of Education and Sports.
How does the current system of annual performance reporting allow you to improve the quality of education for all?
The ESSAPR has a chapter dedicated to the quality of education that examines the progress towards achieving quality targets which puts in focus inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes. The reported information in each of these areas guides the interventions that the sector undertakes in the next financial year to improve quality of education for all.
What has your Ministry learned from the experience of compiling previous reports since 2003?
Every year, there are new emerging issues, which have not been covered in previous reports. For this reason the reporting format has to be continuously updated to accommodate new information.
How do you ensure that more education stakeholders are involved in the ESSAPR preparation process?
This is achieved through the Sector Wide Approach (SWAP), which involves representatives of all stakeholders in planning, decision-making, implementation and monitoring and accountability of educational developments in the sector. The SWAP is designed to facilitate the participation of all stakeholders in the ESSAPR preparation process via smaller departmental working groups, which feed into the larger report.
A consultative approach is therefore used during the process of writing the ESSAPR and the key stages include:
- Constitution of core writing team (Secretariat) based on the broad thematic areas of access and equity, quality, efficiency and effectiveness to collect and collate performance information on agreed thematic areas for consolidation into the ESSAPR mainly from members of the Education Planning Policy Analysis department;
- Review by Department working groups;
- Review by the Monitoring and Evaluation Working Group, which is attended by education development partners;
- Review by the Education Sector Consultative Committee (ESCC), which is also attended by education development partners; and
- Review and approval by the top management.
From your point of view, in what ways can the current report preparation be strengthened and introduced in other contexts?
The current preparation can be strengthened by bringing more participants on board. For example, a lot of information among the non-state education providers still remains unreported. We therefore need to bring in the private providers who have vital information that we are not able to access.
We can also involve the local government officials who are the actual implementers on the ground. What happens now is that we visit the local governments and education institutions to validate the information in the ESSAPR.
In April 2018 the GEM Report launched its #MakeitPublic campaign calling on governments and regional organisations to report on education progress to their citizens via a regular education monitoring report, and to use those reports as key sources for the education section of their SDG national voluntary reviews
To date over twenty international organizations and Ministries of Education have signed up to the campaign including the Governments of Switzerland and Qatar. You can view additional information on the campaign via our website.