Uganda’s Education Challenge

Many children receive low quality or no education, and are unprepared to be Uganda’s future leaders

Root Causes

Deficit of change agents who understand contextual challenges and are equipped to drive solutions

Current educational content and technique does not prepare students to become practical problem-solvers and adaptable leaders

~2.5% GDP spent on education (versus >5% target); ~11% of national budget in 2018 (versus >20% target)

Particularly poor access to quality education for some populations (i.e. rural), given insecurity rate (>60%10) and inequality coefficient (0.4511)

Health and human development

  • Women in Sub-Saharan Africa without primary education are up to ~42% less likely to seek prenatal care

  • Children in Sub-Saharan Africa are 20% less likely to attend school, if their mothers are uneducated

  • Probability of household poverty nearly 2x as high, if the adults do not have primary education

Social cohesion and resilience

  • Probability of conflict doubles with education inequality

  • Adults in Sub-Saharan Africa without primary education are ~1.5x less likely to support democracy

Economic development

  • One fewer year of education can reduce a country’s potential GDP per capita by ~13-35%

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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 though 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 in 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 80% 80%
  • 7 out of 10 children who enroll in primary school drop out before completing P.7 70% 70%
  • 7 out of 10 P.3-7 students cannot read a P.2 English story and cannot do a P.2 math division problem 70% 70%
  • 7 out of 10 P.3 students cannot do a P.2 math division problem 70% 70%
  • 6.5 out of 10 P.3-7 students in rural areas cannot read and understand a P.2 English story 65% 65%
  • 5 out of 10 P.3-7 students in rural areas cannot pass a P.2 math division problem 50% 50%
  • 2 out 10 P.7 students cannot read and understand a P.2 English story 20% 20%

Our Innovative Solution 

At Teach For Uganda (TFU), we believe that every child in Uganda, regardless of their socio-economic background, deserves an opportunity of an excellent education. Our innovative approach is designed to help improve the quality of education for all children in Uganda.

We are developing a movement of leaders to address education inequity inside and outside of the education sector, with a common vision of providing every child with an opportunity to attain an excellent education. We recruit, train and place top university graduates and young professionals in high-need UPE schools across Uganda to serve as full-time teachers committed to transforming the education outcomes of less-privileged children. Through this 2-year fellowship program, participants (fellows) significantly improve the achievements and aspirations of their students, thereby interrupting the cycle of poverty that affects many Ugandans.

Our 67 fellows are already working full-time in 25 UPE schools in Luweero and Mayuge districts, and are impacting the learning and life outcomes of over 20,000 students.  We are looking to grow to 500 fellows impacting over 250,000 students over the next 5 years, with the plan that 60% of alumni will continue to work to expand opportunities for children and/or to improve the quality of life in under-served communities.

training hours given to school teachers

communities impacted by TFU

Students impacted by 35 fellows

projects launched by alumni impacting 2000+ people

The TFU Fellowship program

We recruit Uganda’s top and most promising university graduates and young professionals from varied disciplines to teach in low-income communities and schools in a two-year fellowship. The Teach For Uganda fellowship is a leadership development program that equips fellows with hands-on leadership and pedagogical skills to become effective teachers and lifelong leaders who are deeply rooted in the communities they serve. Fellows transform their classrooms by setting high expectations for their students, and maintaining a culture of high academic achievement to increase learning outcomes thus helping students fulfill their potential.

As they serve in these communities, fellows gain a deeper understanding of educational inequity and how it perpetuates poverty. They start to develop knowledge, skills and relationships necessary for them to advance into leadership in order to effect real, sustainable change in the education system. Long-term, with our continued support, our alumni will bench-mark on their fellowship experience to drive systemic change within and without Uganda’s education sector as policy makers, educational leaders, teachers, non-profit leaders, civil society leaders, corporate leaders, health experts and entrepreneurs; all working together to advocate for education equity.


We recruit outstanding recent graduates and professionals from all disciplines with strong academic backgrounds and leadership experience to commit to teach in a rural UPE school for 2 years.

Our fellows are recruited from top universities in Uganda, but we also encourage and welcome Ugandans living abroad to apply.

Candidates undergo a rigorous selection process where we assess them on key competencies required for them to be eligible for the fellowship. These include: perseverance and resilience, critical thinking, mission alignment, leadership potential, and persuasive communication skills.


Successful fellows start their fellowship journey with an initial 6-week intensive residential training in pedagogy and leadership. Here, they are introduced to teaching and leadership practices for the classroom such as lesson planning and delivery, classroom management, and community mobilization. Fellows then get the chance to practice their new-found skills in a 3-month Teaching Practice program in rural UPE schools. The training is designed to equip fellows with the knowledge, skills and mindsets necessary for them to become exceptional leaders to drive change in the schools and communities where they will be placed. 

Once in the classrooms, fellows continue to receive individual and team coaching and support from their dedicated leadership coach to grow in their role as teachers and as leaders throughout the 2-year fellowship. They also have access to professional development through in-service training and online resources.


Fully empowered fellows are placed in rural, low income government-aided primary schools (rural UPE schools) as full time teaching staff for 2 years. We place in poor, rural government schools because that’s where there is greatest need and great opportunity for change. Fellows will work with the existing teachers to increase student learning outcomes, and also mobilize the community to engage in school activities.

In their second year, fellows will have the opportunity to plan and implement initiatives aimed at addressing challenges affecting the children and the communities they serve.

The Alumni Movement

Our fellowship is designed to give young leaders meaningful and impactful experience at the heart of Uganda’s education crisis. Informed by their experience, alumni of the program (and, over time, their students) will work from inside and outside the education system to affect the fundamental changes necessary to ensure excellent and equitable education for all children in Uganda.

Post fellowship, our alumni will join a network of like-minded leaders committed to the collective mission of ending education inequity in Uganda. We will also support our alumni to build their leadership capacity in whatever career path they choose.

Our hope is to see our alumni take on roles in both public and private sectors as policy makers, education leaders, teachers, social entrepreneurs, charity workers, corporate leaders and more, all working together to provide excellent education to all children in Uganda.