Uganda’s Education Crisis

For decades in Uganda, children’s economic backgrounds have determined their educational outcomes and prospects in life. Poor and majority of Uganda’s children are 7 times more likely to drop out before completing primary school than their wealthier counterparts. Even when great teaching and mentorship have the power to bridge the gap between poverty and educational success, today brilliant and young Ugandan graduates rarely go into teaching as their first choice. This is due to decades of stigma associated with teaching as a low-paying profession, and one that lacks any professional development. As a result, rural and poor communities continue to attract under qualified teachers, little private and public resources, leading to the alarming 70% dropout rates of all enrolled pupils before secondary school. To fundamentally change this trend in the short, medium and long term, TFU equips a new breed of graduates and young professionals with the mindsets and skills to teach for 2 years in underserved communities and classrooms. TFU fellows work hand in hand with the school leadership and existing teachers, to dramatically transform the learning outcomes of all children in poor schools, while developing the experience and leadership skills to become long life advocates for education excellence and equity.

In a bid to increase access to primary education, the government of Uganda passed the Universal Primary Education (UPE) Act of 1997. Consequently, enrolment increased from 3.1 million in 1996 to over 8.7 million children in primary school today. However, the increased enrolment numbers were not matched with the number of qualified teachers and schools. This led to a dramatic drop in the quality of teaching and learning nationally. According to a 2016 Twaweza East Africa report, nationally 7 out of 10 (70%) children in primary three to primary seven cannot do primary two work. In primary three, 8 out of 10 ( 80%) cannot read or comprehend a primary two English story, and 4 out of ten (40%) cannot read a single English word. In numeracy, only 3 out 10 (30%) in primary 3 can solve a class two arithmetic problem. The poor quality education problem severely affects the learning outcomes of poor children and entrenches the already marginalized families and communities in a cycle of poverty.


80% grade 3 pupils can’t read and understand a grade 2 English story

70% of children who enroll in primary school drop out before primary school completion

7 out of 10 grade 3-7 students can’t read a grade 2 English story and can’t do a grade 2 division

7 out of 10 grade 3 students can’t do a grade 2 division

65% of grade 3-7 students in rural areas are not able to read and understand a grade 2 level English story

50 out of 100 grade 3-7 students in rural areas are unable to pass a grade 2 level division

2 out 10 grade 7 students can’t read and understand a grade 2 English story

Our Partners & Supporters
We are deeply grateful to our early stage partners and supporters with whom this vision is possible.