Leave No Child Behind: Promoting Access & Learning In Marginalized Areas
The overall objective of this project is contribute towards increased access, teaching and learning especially for girls in selected and most affected regions of Uganda.
Objective 1. To contribute towards school re-enrolment and recovery in marginalised areas of Uganda (Northern, North Eastern and Western – Rwenzori region).
Objective 2. To advocate for recovery and improvements in the quality of teaching and learning in schools in educationally disadvantaged areas (Northern, North Eastern and Western – Rwenzori region).
Objective 3. To empower FENU membership, foster collaborations and learning that will enhance engagements for the provision of quality education.
Objective 4. To campaign for increased public financing of education.
Legal, Policy and Institutional Framework Uganda has a very conducive legal, policy and Institutional framework that define the education aspirations for Uganda whilst regulating the actions of the Government and other stakeholders in the delivery of the service. The Constitution of the Republic Uganda (1995), the Education (Pre-Primary, Primary and Post primary) Act (2008), are part of legislations that contribute to a set of laws that govern and give a conducive framework for education.
The current Education Policy Framework stems from the Government White Paper on Education (Ministry of Education and Sports, 1992) gives a basis for the sub-sector (Basic Education, Gender in education, Educationally Disadvantaged children, Physical education and sports, etc.,) policies that set the direction and provide the basis for the formulation of the various sector and sub sector investment plans.
Uganda’s education system is characterised by three major problems:
- Heightened dropout rate due to COVID-19 exacerbating low access to education Uganda’s education has been characterised by a high drop out rate and COVID-19 pandemic has probably pushed the drop out rate to its highest levels. From a study conducted by FENU in 2020, 8% of the lower secondary and higher secondary finalists were not able to return to school after schools partially reopened. Between March 2020 and June 2021 for instance, there was a 22.5 per cent increase in pregnancy among school age going girls.( UNICEF ”The Situation of, and Impact of COVID 19 on School going Girls and Young Women in Uganda”)
- Low Learning Achievement exacerbated by covid-19 pandemic Uganda has suffered from a low learning achievement by the learners at both primary and secondary education levels. Learning achievement as measured by competency in numeracy or literacy has been on the decline over the years with the proportion of girls in 3rd grade rated proficient in Numeracy at 56.1% and 54.3% for boys. Similarly, 52.5% of Grade 3 girls were rated proficient in Literacy in English and that of boys stood at 47.4%. (NAPE 2018). Heightened Teacher Attrition rate due to COVID-19 Teacher shortage among the factors causing the low learning achievement such as teacher absenteeism, low support supervision, learner absenteeism, teaching and learning materials shortage, low teacher morale, etc., has now been more heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic induced school closure that has spowned nearly 2 years. In a recent study it was reported that 32% of teachers who found an alternative to teaching as a source of income, the income from the alternative sources was better than the teaching salary (FENU 2021). The study further showed that 23% of the teachers interviwed would take teaching only as a parttime job, 3% had left the profession altogether while 10% were undecided.
- Low Public Expenditure on Education Historically Uganda’s Public spending on education as a percent of GDP has remained minimal. Data from 1971 to 2018 shows that on average, Uganda spent 2.7% of GDP. Between 2012 and 2014 Uganda was spending at the same levels of 1983 despite an exponential population growth of about 3% per annum. Uganda’s expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP compares poorly with her neighbours – Kenya and Tanzania who spent an average of 5.62% of GDP and 11.27% of GDP respectively.
From a historical perspective it appears that Uganda has always invested less than other countries in the region in education. This could be explained by the fact the colonial government and the successive post independence governments have played only a supportive role through grants and subventions to non state schools.
Education in its very early days in Uganda was generally but not strictly for the priviledged few and christian converts since education as we know it today was founded by the church missionaries. Education was a priviledge not a right and the demand for it was at least not routed in education as a passage to social, economic and political liberation.
For this and many other reasons not enough pressure was ever exerted upon the successive post colonial governments for education envestment.