Head teacher’s role in the utilization of universal primary education funds: a case of Bigandu primary school in Uganda


Moses Nsamba

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Simon Karuku

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Peter Kajoro


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


In 1997 universal primary education (UPE) was introduced in Uganda in response to a series of international conferences and summits of 1990s that resulted into the adoption of the United Nations Millennium Declaration of 2000. To operationalize the declaration the UN secretariat put in place a list of eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) to be achieved by 2015, each of them accompanied by specific targets and indicators. The second MDG is “to achieve universal primary education”. Target 2A of this goal is to ensure that, by 2015 children everywhere, boys and girls alike will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling. The UPE program contributed to an increase in enrollment in public primary schools. Unfortunately, this rapid increase in enrollment made it difficult for the government to keep up with corresponding demand for such educational facilities as instructional materials and as a result the quality of UPE products was less than satisfactory. This study therefore, sought to explore the head teacher’s role in the utilization of UPE funds in a public primary school. This is because ineffective utilization of UPE funds negatively affects the education system and if the UPE funds are well utilized they can enhance academic improvement in school. The study also sought to find out the challenges faced by the head teacher during the process of utilizing the UPE funds. The study adopted a qualitative approach and the research participants were head teacher, deputy head teacher, five members of finance committee and five teachers purposively selected from a public primary school. Data were gathered through interviews, focus group discussion and document analysis. Findings of the study revealed that UPE funds released in the sampled primary school were not enough to cater for school budgeted activities and school needs. The findings also indicate that UPE funds were not released to the school in a timely and regular manner which had an impact on the inflation rates of planned cost of school activities and accumulated debts. The head teacher resorted to borrowing elsewhere to implement the budgeted school items because of the delay of UPE funds to be disbursed in schools. The findings indicate that the money was released on a quarterly basis and it delayed which negatively affected the teaching and learning activities in school hence delay of accountabilities and update of school financial records. It was also noted that although the head teacher tried to mobilize and borrow funds elsewhere, little could be done for the iv school due to accumulated debts and unwillingness of some business people to offer scholastic materials on credit hence created negative impact on the smooth running of school. Teachers had little knowledge about special needs education and there was lack of regular school based sensitization workshops for proper utilization of UPE funds. The managerial and administrative implication of the findings is that the current status of the utilization of UPE funds in a public primary school may not be effective for the development of education activities and pupils might not achieve at their highest levels. This is because of the following factors: delay of UPE funds releases, inadequate UPE funds, lack of access of some UPE policy documents by stakeholders, negative attitude of parents to contribute towards pupils’ meals, and school development. Regular school based sensitization workshops may yield into proper financial records management hence increases on the quality of teaching and learning. A country like Uganda aiming at numeracy skills and putting emphasis on science subjects to achieve industrialization by 2040, it is unlikely that this will be attained if the government does not release the UPE funds to public primary schools in time, increase on tuition fees per child and regular sensitization workshops for public primary school stakeholders on the proper utilization of UPE funds for the efficiency and effectiveness of management of public primary schools. It is imperative that head teachers transform their behavior of management of UPE funds for the smooth running of public primary schools, so as to implement school budget items, proper financial records management and to enhance pupils’ development of numeracy, reading and writing competences the core target of UPE program.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library