FULL REPORT: Uwezo Exposes Rot in Uganda Schools, Proposes Empowerement of ECD Training

Uwezo Uganda’s new report suggests that the government should embrace and support Early Childhood Development (ECD) training to prepare chidren to enter school at the rightful age.

This is based on the research findings from the 28 sampled districts which indicated that children who had attended ECD were more likely to enter primary education at the correct age of six years compared to those who had not.

“60 per cent of those aged six who had attended ECD were in primary one but the percentage was 12 points lower (51%) for those who had not attended.”

The report which was launched on Wednesday May 1st was compiled after thorough research from 28 districts from across the country. Uganda’s 112 districts as of 2014 were divided into 10 regional sampling sections based on similarities in cultural and geographical characteristics, more about which may affect basic learning.

The research was based on five Key stories about Education including Early Child Development (ECD), information pills Access to Primary Education, adult Literacy and life long learning, Inequalities in education and Learning Outcomes.

30 enumeration areas were randomly selected in each district using probability proportional to size sampling procedure, with the exception of Kampala city where 60 enumeration areas were selected. The second stage involved randomly selecting 20 households from each enumeration area and one government school in which most students were enrolled.

Children and parents were subjected to a Primary two literacy and numeracy test where they were given a passage to read and a simple calculation which were used to assess them.

The report revealed that Primary three pupils who had attended ECD were almost three times (25%) more likely to read a primary two level story than those who did not (8%), something which they attributed to the limited involvement of government in the provision of ECD.

Another revelation was that “ECDs are packed in urban centres compared to the rural areas. 53% of high level (Rich) children were found to have attended ECDs while only 6% of the lower wealth had attended ECD.

Uwezo recommended that the government should partner with existing Private ECD providers to help resolve the issue but that they should enact a policy to regulate them.

In the other key area that the research was based on, Access to Primary Education, it was discovered that Uganda has almost attained Universial Primary Education for all with 96% enrollment despite some regional disparities.

Northern districts of Kotido, Nakapiripirit, Moroto and Kaabong however still have high numbers of children aged between 9-16 who have never enrolled to Primary School with the rates at 61%, 35%, 27% and 18% although the general national rate is at 4%.

Uwezo in their report challenged civil society organisations to advocate for children going to school at the right age especially in the indicated districts.

The other area included in the report was Adult literacy and life long learning. Parents (mothers) were subjected to the same Primary two level tests in numeracy and literacy as their children.

It was discovered that 50% of children whose mothers were able to read the story were also able to read the same story compared to only 36% of children whose mothers couldn’t read the passage. The study also discovered that 73% of adults were literate.

Adult education is currently under the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development. The report recommends that the subsection (adult education) be transferred to the ministry of Education if it is to get a boost.

It also calls upon the government and corporate companies to emulate other African Countries like South Africa where companies that invest in adult education are given a tax incentive.

About the inequalities in Education, Uwezo report revealed that out of the 182,000 students in Primary and secondary schools who are formally recorded as having disabilities, only 3% of them get a government subsidy to support them.

The report recommends that government intervenes with equipment to detect any kind of disability so as to enable teachers to provide special attention to children with special needs.

While speaking at the launch, Dr. Mary Goretti Nakabugo, the Country Lead Manager, Uwezo called upon parents to stay focused and follow up on their children’s learning outcomes instead of continually ranting about the facilities at school when students are not achieveing anything.

She called upon the government to improve the state of government schools and make them look even better than Private schools since majority of children in the country are enrolled in the same.

The report was officially launched by Hajji Mutazindwa Hzyfa, the Director Education Standards who was representing the Parmanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Sports Dr. Rose Nassali Lukwago.

Hajji Mutazindwa lauded Uwezo Uganda for “being the proverbial mirror at the wall that helps the education sector to determine how fair and how well we are doing.”

He noted that the education sector has phenomenally expandedover the past two decades saying that enrollment is currently beyond 8 million children although the expansion has not been matched with the requisite resources needed.

Mutazindwa promised that the ministry would study the report critically, have proceedings from the forum and develop a paper that will be discussed for necessary meetings.

He also asked the other stakeholders to internalize the report and take the necessary action.


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