Uganda’s Education Crisis

 

For decades in Uganda, families’ economic backgrounds have determined their children’s educational outcomes and prospects in life. Uganda’s poor 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, young, brilliant 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 as well as little private and public resources. In a bid to increase access to primary education, the government of Uganda passed the Universal Primary Education (UPE) Act of 1997. Consequently, enrollment increased from 3.1 million in 1996 to over 8.7 million children in primary school today. However, the increased enrollment 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 UWEZO report titled “Are our children learning?”7 out of 10 of the Ugandan children enrolled in primary school drop out before completing P.7. Of those who stay in school, majority are lagging behind. By P.3, 8 out of 10 students cannot read and understand a P.2 English story, and 7 out of 10 cannot do a P.2 math division problem. By P.7, 2 out of 10 students still cannot read and understand a P.2 English story, and 2 out of 10 still cannot do a P.2 math division problem.

Uganda’s education crisis severely affects the learning outcomes of poor children, and entrenches already marginalized families and communities in a cycle of poverty.

 

8 out of 10 P.3 pupils cannot read and understand a P.2 English story

7 out of 10 children who enroll in primary school drop out before completing P.7

7 out of 10 P.3-7 students cannot read a P.2 English story and cannot do a P.2 math division problem

7 out of 10 P.3 students cannot do a P.2 math division problem

6.5 out of 10 P.3-7 students in rural areas cannot read and understand a P.2 English story

50 out of 100 P.3-7 students in rural areas cannot pass a P.2 math division problem

2 out 10 P.7 students cannot read and understand a P.2 English story

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