Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has appointed First Lady Janet Museveni as the new Minister of Education and Sports, in a cabinet with 81 members. Janet inherits a key ministry and she takes over from educator, Jessica Alupo, who has held the portfolio since 2011.

Museveni was sworn in for his fifth term as president on May 12, 2016, following controversial elections marred by political violence and alleged vote rigging.

Ugandan First Lady Janet Museveni delivers one of the keynote speeches to the International Christian Conference On HIV/AIDS 20 February 2002 at the Washington Hotel. Photo: ANP/AFP/Paul J. Richards
Ugandan First Lady Janet Museveni
The First Lady’s appointment has strongly divided opinion on social media, with questions raised over the merits of President Museveni’s choice and whether the First Lady can transform the education ministry and bring positive change.

Uganda spends a huge percentage of its budget allocation on education, but despite such heavy investment, the quality of education remains a major concern.

The high number of dropouts and poor quality of education in parts of the country, particularly in rural areas remain a major concern.
Considering these challenges, there is need to improve access to quality education, equity, and improve efficiency of education service delivery in the country.

The First Lady has extensive experience working in different capacities in organisations and projects advocating for social justice, protection of the rights of children and women, and has been active in campaigns fighting poverty and HIV/Aids. She founded  Uganda Women’s Effort to Save Orphans (UWESO), a private relief agency, committed to providing relief aid to needy children orphaned by the civil tensions of the early mid-1980s, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. She has served as a member of parliament and more recently, she was Minister for Karamoja Affairs.

While there are sentiments on social media that Uganda’s First Lady possesses the much needed aptitude and experience to push for major changes in the education sector, there are opposing views and many who remain cynical of the appointment.

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