The National Identification and Registration Authority –NIRA has started a drive to re-submit learners’ National Identification Numbers to schools around the country –NINs.
The authority conducted a Registration exercise in 2017to help the Ministry of Education identify learners in schools and eliminate irregularities in enrolment among other benefits. A recent report by NIRA on the registration of learner’s project indicated that a total of 10,208,116 learners were registered and, according to records 7,113,537 learners were assigned National Identification Numbers-NINs.
Records indicate that of those allocated NINs, 489,556 learners were aged 16 and above, while 6,623,981 were 15 years and below. During the programme, which cost the taxpayer 53.9 billion shillings, learners of 16 years and above were supposed to get their national identification cards.
Although NIRA says that they distributed the NINs to the schools through the District Education Officers, many parents and learners have continuously noted that they are oblivious of their NIN status to date. Alex Muguluma, a parent, says she has been wondering what could have happened to the project.
“They registered our learners but never gave them cards (or NIN) numbers. The schools say they have never received any information from NIRA ever since the exercise was finished,” Muguluma told Uganda Radio Network.
Wakiso District Education OfficerFredrick Kiyingi Kinobe faulted headteachers mostly those in private schools for failing to pick the NINs, saying many of them are lazy and ignorant of developments in the education sector”.
Kinobe who is also the chairperson of the District EducationOfficers’ Association, notes that NIRA started issuing NINs long before the COVID-19 induced school closures and that the department has been advising school owners to take interest in this issue given the fact that schools change headteachers.
Now, a circular signed by Director Registration and Operations Brig Stephen Kwiringira, indicates that NIRA has decided to resubmit the information to their respective schools in a bid to ensure that all registered and eligible learners get their NINs.
“…it has come to the attention of NIRA that to date, some learners are unaware of their NINs as assigned to them by NIRA. Therefore, in a bid to avail all registered learners their NINs, NIRA is re-submitting to your school, NINs of learners who were successfully registered from your school for onward transmission to them or their parents,” Brig Kwiringira noted.
The director also advised schools that the said NINs can also be accessed through mobile USSD code *216# or printed off the NIRA website.
Although NIRA is calling schools to collect the NINs, there are a total of 3,094,579 learners whose applications were rejected. Of the rejected learners, 2,326,981 were 15 years and below and 768,005 were aged 16-years and above.
While appearing before parliament in October last year, Rosemary Kisembo, the NIRA Executive director, noted the rejected application had anomalies ranging from wrong information, incomplete details, a mismatch in particulars presented to NIRA, and system failure by NIRA.
Kisembo said that some learners filled in the wrong NINs of their parents and yet to qualify to be registered as a citizen, one of your parents must be a Ugandan. She added that in some instances, one teacher would use his NIN instead of the parents’ to fill in forms for numerous learners.
However, children whose NINs were not generated have been advised to visit the nearby NIRA offices, “with copies of their parent’s national identification cards and an LC 1 letter stamped by either GISO or DISO,”
Furthermore, Kwiringira notes that learners with NINs who are now 16 years and above are eligible to acquire National Identification Cards and therefore are advised to visit the nearby NIRA office to update their information in the National Identification Register for their cards to be processed and printed.
Earlier, Parliament adopted a report by the Defence and Internal Affairs Committee recommending a forensic audit of the national identification registration of learners undertaken by NIRA, including the procurement processes, method of recruitment and level of facilitation and mode of payment to the field staff.
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