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stronParliament- stronThe government yesterday struggled to explain the delayed release of capitation Grants to public schools.

The delay denied millions of children access to education in the Second Term that opened late May and ends in three weeks’ time. Two junior Finance ministers (Matia Kasaija and Aston Kajara) faced tough time on the floor as they tried to explain government failure to release the money on time, and at some point, they were forced to beg for the protection of the Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah, who chaired the House yesterday.

stronActionstronDebating a statement from Ministry of Finance on the delayed schools cash, a host of enraged legislators from both sides of the House demanded for “convincing explanation” as to why the government “let down” the children and their parents.

“For three months, children have not studied and what’s the pointing of release funds when schools are closing?… Teaching is a process, if you deny children chalk and facilitation and you have let them down,” Ms Alice Alaso (Serere Woman) said.

The minister tried to explain that before the policy on harmonisation of releases with school terms, the Capitation grants were being released in four (4) equal tranches, with each tranche released in the first month of a given quarter.

“This meant that releases to schools would be effected in July, October, January and April in each financial year,” Mr Kasaija said. He added: “This modality had a difficulty that schools would receive the funds towards the end of the school terms or during holidays. The above mismatch necessitated a change in policy…”

Although Parliament had recommended that the money for schools should be released 15 days to the start of the term, Ms Alaso and other legislators said the government had resorted to sending the money 15 days to the close of the term.

Mr Kasaija further explained that the new policy requires that funds should be released in January for 1st term, in April for second term and in August for 3rd term.

“This has caused an apparent shortfall of funds released in July 2013 to cater for the second term which had started in May under the previous financial year.

As a result the FY 201314 allocation was exhausted in January 2014 arising from the differences in timing for the School calendar (January to December) and the financial year which ends on June 30th,” he said.

mmugerwa@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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