Learners in Northern, Eastern Regions Register Highest Illiteracy – Report

Learners attending a class im one of the Universal Primary Education (UPE) schools in Uganda

A new household survey has revealed glaring disparities in basic learning competencies between the different regions, cost social classes and localities in Uganda. The Northern and Eastern regions have the most illiterate learners in primary school while Western and Central regions showed better performance in basic literacy and numeracy.

The report which was released by Twaweza, website a non-profit organization on Friday indicates that outcomes in English language within the Western and Central regions of Uganda are 2.5 times higher than in Northern and Eastern regions. In numeracy, stuff Karamoja was assessed at 42% while Kampala attained 63%.

Regional inequalities still reflect in the teacher to pupil ratio, teacher presence as well as pupil to class room ratio.

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While the national average teacher to pupil ratio is 46:1, in Northern Uganda it is 58:1 while in the Eastern region, it is 56:1. According to the findings, teacher presence in the West and Central regions is better.

On a national scale, the report says; “Writing materials are sufficient but there was extreme shortage of textbooks. In half of the local languages, a third of the mathematics and a quarter of the English classrooms, there were either no textbooks or only one for the teacher.”

In addition, only 3 out of 10 pupils in Primary Three to Primary Seven can do class 3 work. In Primary Three, 4 out 10 pupils cannot read an English word. By the time children reach Primary Seven, 15% of them cannot solve class 2 division.

During the launch held at Nakasero Primary School, the Manager of Uwezo at Twaweza Dr. Mary Goretti said; “Learning outcomes must become the policy priority and the most important yard stick by which we measure success in education.”

She called on stakeholders in the education sector to give extra attention to marginalized groups and areas especially the shortage of teachers in Northern and Eastern regions.

Robinson Nsumba Lyazi, the Director Basic and Secondary Education in the Ministry of Education who presided over at the event challenged teachers and parents to do more in ensuring that children benefit from learning.

“Government is not the sole stakeholder in the process of education. Some parents have neglected their responsibilities and want government to provide everything including food,” he said.

While he admitted the shortfalls, Lyazi said that government has honored its pledge to increase teachers’ salary and thus they must deliver on their mandate of educating learners.

Twaweza recommends among other interventions; revisting the policy on automatic promotion and class repetition, as well as availing adequate textbooks.


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