KAMPALA, Uganda — Like many other sub-Saharan African countries, Uganda faces many economic challenges that translate into children’s education. Many children do not complete their schooling, and hence, do not have the resources to successfully enter the workforce. In fact, only one in four children who start primary school makes it to secondary school, and only about 40% of students are literate by the time they finish primary school. This shows that the lack of education in Uganda is affecting many children.
Access to Education
Secondary education in Uganda is generally inaccessible to most students. Issues such as early marriage, teenage pregnancy, abuse and school fees disproportionately affect girls and prevent them from continuing their education. Sadly, close to a quarter of Ugandan children experienced sexual abuse in schools.
Despite an official ban on corporal punishment, the lack of enforcement causes caning and sexual abuse to happen too often in schools. As a result, Ugandan schools are not perceived as safe, especially for the female population. This only worsens the cycle by continuously excluding females from the education system. Although females account for 46% of students in primary school, that figure drops to 39% in secondary school.
A lack of resources also prevents those with disabilities from pursuing more advanced education in Uganda. Without trained teachers and special facilities, some students cannot learn in a specialized format. A paucity of sanitation also keeps children out of schools due to a lack of adequate toilets and washing areas. If students do not have a healthy space to learn and do not believe that education will help their life, students are disincentivized to attend.
Organizations Helping The Cause
However, international aid organizations are helping to alleviate educational pressures. To accommodate for the lack of Ugandan children participating in secondary education, the World Bank provided $150 million to increase access and completion in school. The funding will help equip safer and better learning environments, especially in support of girls’ education. The International Development Association and the Window on Host Communities and Refugees financed the project.
Education Uganda is a British registered charity whose aim is to improve primary education. It provided individual blackboards that promote interactive teaching for roughly 200,000 pupils in Uganda. Helping Uganda Schools (HUGS) also helps pay for children’s education in rural areas. It also constructed two secondary schools. In addition, it funded a school for children with learning disabilities to alleviate the lack of special needs resources in Uganda. Uganda Humanist Schools Trust provides alternative education in Uganda by building schools and preparing students for public exams. It does not discriminate against religion, social, or ethnic background.
Obviously, more work needs to be done in order to fix the Ugandan education system. However, these organizations are taking a step in the right direction to educate the children of Uganda in safe and healthy learning environments.
– Elizabeth Qiao