Supporting The Public Sector of Uganda
Public spending on education was 3.3 per cent of GDP in 2012. There are seven years of primary education starting at the age of six, followed by six years of secondary. The government phased in free primary schooling from 1997 and free secondary from 2007. Some 25 per cent of pupils complete primary school (2010).
Makerere University (1922) and Mbarara University of Science and Technology (1989) are the longest-established public universities. Literacy among people aged 15–24 is 87 per cent (2010). Since the decision to liberalise the education sector in 1993, thousands of schools and institutions have been set up by private investors. There are roughly 4,000 private secondary schools in the country – more than double the number of government-funded schools.
The Private Schools and Institutions Department was inaugurated in 2008, following the restructuring of the Ministry of Education and Sports, to cater for the vibrant and ever-expanding private investment in education. It is charged with the overall coordination, regulation, policy formulation and guidance on all
matters regarding private schools and institutions. The department identifies private schools to partner with for the implementation of universal secondary education and gives government grant aid where appropriate. Since its inception, the department has increased public–private partnerships in private schools, with 879 private schools now implementing universal secondary education.
Public spending on health was two per cent of GDP in 2010. Trained medical assistants, many of whom practise privately, make up (to some extent) for the lack of doctors. Formal health facilities, which are adequate everywhere except in the north of the country, are mostly provided by non-governmental organisations. Health services in Uganda are provided by a mix of public and non-governmental organisations, and private providers. Notable private hospitals include International Hospital Kampala and Kololo Hospital, also in Kampala. The Public Private Partnership in Health is an element of Uganda’s Health Sector Strategic Plan II, which was implemented in 2010 to encourage and support private-sector participation in all aspects of the National Health Policy.
Seven out of ten Ugandans use an improved drinking water source and 34 per cent have adequate sanitation facilities (2010). Infant mortality was 58 per 1,000 live births in 2011 (133 in 1960). Uganda was the first African country to confront openly the menace of AIDS – the government runs a comprehensive information campaign directed at the general public. In 2011, 7.2 per cent of people aged 15–49 were HIV positive.
Some 70,750 km of roads radiate from Kampala, 23 per cent of which are paved. Roads are the most dominant mode of transport in Uganda, used by 90 per cent of the country’s passenger and freight transport. Entebbe International Airport is 35 km southwest of Kampala. The railway network extends over 260 km. At the end of 1993, passenger services between Kampala and Kenya were resumed after a break of 15 years. The line, colloquially known as the lunatic express, is run as a concession by Rift Valley Rail in a deal signed with both governments in 2006. The parastatal Uganda Railways Corporation operates a large cargo haulage service. The company also operates three wagon ferries on Lake Victoria, as well as overseeing Uganda’s passenger rail services and the country’s rail infrastructure.