The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Mrs. Janet Museveni has said that the achievements so far made by the Uganda Teacher and School Effectiveness Project (UTSEP) funded by the Global Partnership for Education are commendable.
She particularly appreciated the Early Grade Reading, which she said will help improve quality of reading and understanding in primary education. She argued that when children begin to learn in their mother tongues, it helps them to understand very quickly and as they go up in higher classes, they learn foreign languages as subjects. “We are very happy with Early Grade Reading and Government will ensure that it is mainstreamed and implemented across the country”, she said.
She pointed out that the teachers who have been trained under UTSEP will definitely improve on the quality of teaching and the learning outcomes and also said the supply of hearing aids to children with special needs is really good and a necessary addition to the education system.
Mrs. Janet Museveni, who was together with senior officials from the Ministry of Education and Sports, was meeting with the World Bank UTSEP Mission Team at State House Nakasero on Friday to receive feedback on the findings from their recent assessment of the progress of the project.
She noted that the Uganda Teacher and School Effectiveness Project has helped the Education Sector improve on some of the things it was doing before like the inspection of schools, training of teachers and the construction of classrooms among others. “There are a number of things that have been added to our normal system of education that is really going to help and we will make sure that what we started in this project will be sustained”, she said.
She was thankful for the nine months extension accorded to the Project that was initially scheduled to end in June 2019, saying this will allow the pending activities to be concluded properly.
The World Bank UTSEP Mission Task Team Leader Kirill Vasiliev reported that most of the main indicators in the project have been achieved, while some are even over achieved. He cited the Early Grade Learning which has been achieved by 27% against the target of 20% of children who can read 20 words or more per minute in their local languages. The number of pupils per textbook has also improved to two children per textbook, he said and hoped that soon each child will have a textbook to himself or herself. He also noted positive improvement in teacher presence in class and teaching, the percentage of children in P.2 or P.3 who can recognize 4 out of 5 words increasing from 47% to 59% in the project supported schools in 29 Districts and that the construction of new schools is on track though with a bit of delay in the procurement of furniture.
He called for close attention towards the contract management and the need to ensure that the contractors quickly fix the defects identified in the constructed schools.
The Education Ministry Permanent Secretary Alex Kakooza appreciated the World Bank UTSEP Mission Team assessments that make the project implementors get back in line and improve. He requested that since the Project has achieved most of the indicators, World Bank should consider paying back funds that the project didn’t get when we failed to agree on the procurement of furniture guidelines.
Aggrey Kibenge, the Education Ministry’s Undersecretary reiterated commitment to sustainability in terms of good lessons that have been generated in the process of implementing the UTSEP. He cited lesson such as teacher effectiveness, time on task, integrated inspection and online submission of reports among others.
The World Bank Team and the Education Ministry officials also discussed the findings in the Uganda Economic Update report that was launched on 27th May 2019.
Moarad Ezzine the World Bank Advisor in the Global Education Practice and Mission Co-Task team leader said the report calls for more investment in the human capital for Uganda’s high economic growth to be sustained. He said, this calls for Uganda to gradually increase funding for the education sector for the next six years up to 16% of the National Budget to enable the sector improve the quality of education and persistence of children at the primary level and increased enrollment for secondary education.
Among what the World Bank report recommends to improve quality of learning and persistence at primary level is Early Childhood education and automatic promotion. While in order to increase enrollment for secondary education, they recommend the creation of one million new places in the next six years, building more economical schools without some facilities like teachers’ houses and ‘fancy’ laboratories and the reviewing of the curriculum to reduce the subjects to ten or less.
The First Lady and Education Minister disagreed with the recommendation of stopping the building of teachers’ housing and also elaborated that the Early Childhood Development is surely coming, but it will come as the country gets a critical mass of educated people who can then participate in the provision of ECD education.
About $2 billion in additional funding is required through 2025 to ensure that all children complete primary school with basic literacy and numeracy skills and are accommodated in secondary schools.
Source: Janet Museveni
This is part of the activities being undertaken by Uganda Teacher and School Effectiveness Project- UTSEP aimed at training teachers at both early childhood development and lower primary levels on how to read in their mother tongue with the aim of improving literacy levels among Ugandan learners that has for long been found lacking.
According to the Education Ministry, teachers from 29 districts benefited from the training including Eastern Uganda, which has time and again had the worst performance in national examinations. 2,500 of those trained are head teachers, 3809 primary one teachers, 3,809 primary two teachers, 3470 primary three teachers and 3,618 primary four teachers.
The teachers were trained over a period of four years starting 2015 at an estimated cost of shillings 370 billion. Dr. Tony Mukasa Lusmabu, the Commissioner in-charge of Basic Education, says they expect better results than what was targeted because they trained more teachers than what they planned for.
“When the project was starting we targeted a total of 12,100 teachers at different levels. But when the project begun we found out that more teachers needed the training and we are happy that we had the funds available to carry out the training,” Dr. Lusambu said in Kampala recently.
According to Dr. Lusambu, the quality of education among learners in lower primary has improved due to the high numbers of teaches retrained.
The 2019 TWAWEZA-Are Our Children Learning report showed an improvement in the number of children who couldn’t read or carry out simple arithmetic. The report shows that number reduced from 6.8 percent in 2015 to 6.2 in 2019. Rosemary Seninde, the Education State Minister, says with the training of teachers, learners will know how to read with guidance from their teachers.
A 2011 assessment carried out by Uganda National Examinations Board on the competence of teachers revealed that half of those tested didn’t the meet the expected standard in oral vocabulary especially when it came to pronunciation of words. It also revealed that three quarters had difficulty in numeracy.
In addition to training teachers, 185 motorcycles were bought to enable school inspection and 896 class room blocks built for 140 schools in 29 districts. Dr. Kedrace Turyagenda, the Director Education Standards in the Health Ministry, says the grant enabled them come close to providing quality education for learners that has for long been a challenge.
Source: The Independent
Tired of complaints about poor learning outcomes at P7, the education ministry has been making moves to end the problem as MOSES TALEMWA found out, on talking to sector officials.
This past week nearly 4,000 P1 teachers were put through their paces, in a bid to improve their teaching of literacy studies, through a seven-day refresher training, sponsored by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).
The training, at 15 institutions across the country, drew in 3,893 teachers, and was held under the Early Grade Reading Achievement (EGRA) framework, intended to improve the reading abilities of pupils from P1 to P3.
According to the assistant coordinator for GPE, Ambrose Ruyooka, the trainings are targeted at the 27 districts, adjudged by the Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) to be the poorest-performing in the country.
“We are following a cohort system,” Ruyooka explained. “This year we are starting with P1 teachers in the affected 27 districts, then in December 2016, we shall train P2 teachers, so that those benefitting this year will be able to join when they are promoted to the next class. In December 2017, we shall then move on to P3 teachers and so on.”
Some of the training institutions hosting the training include Tororo Core PTC (primary teachers’ college), (for Bugiri district teachers), Kamurasi core PTC (for Kyankwanzi district teachers) and St Noa Mawaggali Core PTC in Busuubizi (for Mubende district teachers).
For instance, 250 participants showed up at Tororo Core PTC, with 18 facilitators for a training session starting January 3 and ending January 10. At Busuubizi, 280 teachers and 13 facilitators showed up for the training.
The training has seen the teachers get teaching guidebooks to support teaching of the thematic curriculum. It is expected that the model will roll out as each teacher and pupil will get a reading book, when the teaching resumes later this year.
The training is looking at improving on teaching methods for reading lessons and handwriting; and preparing simple instructional materials for instance bottle tops, straws, and boxes. The main thrust of the training is on fluency, vocabulary, phonetic awareness, alphabetic principles and comprehension.
EMPHASIS ON LITERACY
According to the principal at St Noa Mawaggali core PTC Busuubizi, Rose Akaki, the training was intended to address the challenge in teaching of literacy studies among pupils due to repeated poor performances at P7.
“Research has found that the problem is not in the lack of knowledge, but in the failure by pupils to read and comprehend; so, we are emphasizing that pupils learn to read in their local language, before they transition to English,” Akaki said. “We hope that with these interventions, a P1 pupil will be able to read by the end of the first term.”
Akaki’s colleague at Tororo Core PTC, Tino Consolate Oriada agrees. She says the teachers are getting a good deal, which they will then pass on to their pupils.
“In most cases, we are revitalizing what they already know; we are only emphasizing multisensory teaching, so that the teachers are able to help their pupils grasp quickly,” she say. “In this way, teachers are being encouraged to prepare teaching aides, such as charts and objects that the pupils can see, touch and feel to appreciate faster.”
The teaching aides are being developed using simple materials such as used straws, boxes, bottles, strings and, where possible, the real object. According to Akaki, the teachers are being taught that the literacy lessons should be engaging for the pupils.
“We have what is called a literacy hour – 30 minutes of reading and 30 minutes of writing, which are connected by a short interval of singing and dancing,” Akaki explains.
RESISTANCE TO ENGLISH
However, according to Gerald Bukenya, a language specialist at the National Curriculum Development Centre, the training is moving ahead amidst challenges.
“Many parents are reluctant to allow their children to benefit from the thematic curriculum as practiced in public schools,” she says. They argue that thematic curriculum is simply teaching the children in the local language, yet it is more than that.”
She explains that for some time the NCDC has been concerned about the way learning is conducted in schools, where schools teach in a language that pupils have only crammed but don’t really understand. “The thematic curriculum, coupled with the new methodologies, is intended to address these challenges,” she explains.
“Pupils start learning the normal curriculum in their local language, a medium they understand well, then by P4 they can safely transit to English.”
Charles Ouma Musumba, a centre coordinating tutor based in Kisoko, agrees, before adding that they have noted that the biggest challenge comes with pupils who join P1 after a stint in nursery schools.
“Those who start learning under the thematic curriculum in P1 seem to cope better with local language than their colleagues who come from nursery schools, where they are first given a dose of training in English. Musumba argues that parents ought to support the thematic curriculum, since it is not true that pupils with an initial background in their local language perform poorly in school in the long run.
Bukenya jumps to his defence, citing studies by the NCDC that show pupils excelling in their appreciation of English, among other studies.
“Studies show that pupils understand most of the material taught to them better, once they first learn in the local language,” she says. She also wants the government to make learning in the local language mandatory, where possible.
“You know they made an allowance for urban-based schools, since there are many nationalities there and it is hard to frame a proper local language,” she explains. “Some parents are taking advantage of this to rush the children to urban schools, in the hope that learning in English is superior to [studying] in the local language.”
Bukenya says pupils are being made to learn in English in nursery schools even when it is not the local language spoken in the area, but this could end soon.
“The government recently came up with a new Early Childhood Development framework for nursery schools; so, we hope that it will create a bridge in the teaching of the thematic curriculum between nursery schools and P1,” she says.
However, she is concerned that the enforcement of this framework may be the challenge over time. This is a hope shared by Harriet Muwaganya, a head teacher at Iwemba PS in Bugiri.
“The challenge is with the attitudes of the caregivers in the nursery schools and the parents, who despise the learning of the local language. But we hope that this will change over time,” she said.
Mercy Sharon Nsubuga, an ECD tutor at Shimoni Core PTC, has some advice for teachers dealing with pupils who come through the nursery school system.
“The teachers may need to separate pupils coming from nursery schools and those coming straight from home to P1, as they have different needs – especially relating to their appreciation of the local language,” she said.
When asked about the training, Julius Musenero, a P1 teacher at Busanzi PS in Bugiri, was one of many who were welcoming.
“We love the fact that the training is emphasizing reading, which skills have been missing. Reading and interpretation have been a problem, all the way to P7,” Musenero said.
Scovia Nabirye, a P1 teacher at Nambo PS, also in Bugiri, added that she was happy with the new literature. “We have been using mixed Lusoga, but now with the new literature that we are getting – the pronunciation, and spellings are clear for us,” she said.
However, for Sifa Mukebezi of Muyimu PS, also in Bugiri, there is the added burden that they were educated in English and are now struggling to train the pupils in the local language.
“We have been using the English alphabet of 26 characters to teach in the local language, yet the Lusoga one has 34 characters. The lack of instructional materials had made life very difficult, but now things are better,” she said.
However, there are challenges. Musenero admitted that he was one of many teachers struggling with preparing learning aides for his pupils due to a high enrolment, amid a policy that dictates one teacher per class.
“For me, I had a class of 157 last year, and making instructional materials can be tiresome.
His colleague Ivan Kabandize at Ssaka PS in Mubende agrees.
“For me I would tell the children a story, but now we are realising that there are ways of preparing instructional materials,” he said.
But for Sarah Namukasa, a P1 teacher at Kasasa PS, preparing the instructional materials is only worth the effort, if the school can improve security on the campus.
“Some of us operate in classrooms without doors and windows; so, if you prepare these materials after a long struggle, anyone can come in from outside, after the classes, and tear our learning aides,” she said.
But both Rose Akaki, the principal at Busuubizi, and her colleague at Tororo, Tino Consolate Oriada, believe that teachers need to be encouraged to make do with what is available.
“The teachers need to be innovative; in preparing the instructional materials. They need to look at what they can get from the environment around them,” Akaki says.
“If they maintain an attitude of never wasting anything, then they will surprise themselves by what they find. In addition, they can ask their colleague teachers or the older pupils to help out.”
The training also introduced the continuous assessment aspect to the teachers. According to Musumba, one of the facilitators at Tororo, the teachers are required to assess pupils regularly.
“You can assess five to eight pupils a day, so that by the end of the week, you have addressed most of the class,” he explains.
The education ministry is establishing a personal identification number system, where the progress of every pupil joining P1 this year can be tracked, even if they leave to another school. His counterpart at Busuubizi, Michael Edward Ochom, told us the teachers were also required to do more as role models for the pupils.
“You are supposed to make your lessons very engaging, through song and dance,” Ochom said, much to the amusement of the teacher. “You are also required to chair class meetings with pupils, and address their concerns … some of you will be surprised that they also have views.”
He also asked the teachers to take an active role in budgeting for their classes, and sharing their plans with the school management committee. This matter caught the particular attention of Namukasa and Kabandize.
“We will be requesting for an increase in the number of teachers in lower primary – as the pressure and need at that level is too high,” Kabandize said, before Namukasa chipped in. “For instance, the whole of first term we never make any progress. In the first month some come, and just as you are settling to move to another topic, more pupils come in and you have to address their needs as well.”
In Tororo, Sifa Mukebezi of Muyimu PS, was quick to add, ”We want more teachers to be recruited … many times, you are the only one in the class, and after a few hours the pupils get fed up of looking at you”.
Mukebezi is also hopeful the EGRA will address the challenges of inclusive learning, by providing braille materials for pupils with special needs and training teachers on how to handle such children. Scovia Nabirye is also emphatic about this matter.
“We are urging schools to reprioritize lower primary education and give more to the lower levels. For instance, if a child’s handwriting is spoilt at lower levels, it is hard to correct it.”
According to Akaki, the training will change the way teachers conduct their lessons. We are incorporating a daily reflection in the lesson preparation process. In teachers would only evaluate the lesson after the fact – now we want them to prepare before hand, then learn to look at the critical behaviour of a child, during the lesson. Ultimately the reflection will be continuous.”
However, Akaki is also concerned that teachers are not very keen on reading, yet they will be required to read more in lesson preparation. Benedict Wadelo, a centre coordinating tutor from Mubende, was one of the facilitators in Busuubizi and adds that the training is breaking ground.
“We are telling the teachers that spellings of words at the beginning are not very important – what we need more is sounds and correct phonetic expression. It would be good to bring on board the caregivers to join this scheme to improve at length.”
As the week ended, most of the participants were happy with the training. However, there were a few niggling comments. For instance, NCDC’s Bukenya is unhappy that EGRA is not considering a sensitisation programme for parents, leaving it to school head teachers.
“Funds permitting, the training should have brought on board the parents, since they are critical to how schools work,” she said. “The teachers and some head teachers say they are under pressure from parents, to do some of the things that they should not be doing.”
Hajji Abdul Sekabira Lukooya , the inspector of schools for Mubende, believes the training should have incorporated private schools.
“To keep them out is not helpful, since they also provide the same service as the public schools. Also in some areas, they are the majority. For instance here in Mubende, I have 416 schools, yet only 218 are government-aided schools.”
Source: The Observer
The ministry of education has registered progress in the World Bank sponsored project that was intended to improve children’s learning achievements and increase the number of school going children.
The Uganda Teacher and School Effectiveness Project (UTSEP) has improved teachers’ competence, learning environment among others.
The sector had challenges with inadequate teaching in lower primary where some teachers were not helping children to learn, text books were very few, teaching and learning environment was not conducive enough for learning among other challenges.
The project started with addressing the most pressing issues and the over 2,727 selected primary schools in the 29 districts of Nwaya, Maracha, Oyam, Kaliro and Iganga among others.
While addressing the media, the state minister for Education ( Higher Education John Chrysostom Muyingo noted that teachers in lower primary now have the ability to deliver with confidence and competence.
Reports show that 27% of the learners in UTSEP beneficiary schools can now read.
Under the project more Classrooms, Latrines and textbooks and the pupil to book ratio improved.
The project also provided hearing aids equipment to 1,554 pupils from 296 schools across 79 districts.
Source: Nile Post
KAMPALA, February 7, 2020 – When Tracy Nafula was born eight years ago, her family was delighted to have a beautiful, healthy baby girl with sky blue eyes. But as she grew, her parents noticed that she was having trouble hearing.
“They realized the baby had a hearing impairment and all of a sudden there was stigma from people who were claiming that the baby had been cursed,” said Flavia Anyango, Tracy’s aunt.
Anyango never believed in the curse, and as the years went by and communication grew more difficult for Tracy, she convinced her parents to let her go to school. She joined 1,000 students at the Seeta Church of Uganda primary school, 20 kilometers east of Kampala, the capital city. Although the school was founded by the Anglican church, it receives government aid.
In July 2018, Tracy and 28 other students with hearing impairments were screened and assessed. A month later, a team of officials from Uganda’s Ministry of Education and Sports and the Minnesota-based Starkey Hearing Foundation fitted all of them with hearing devices.
“Until last year, I could not hear well,” said Tracy. “After I was fitted with the hearing aid, my hearing is much better, and now I enjoy coming to school.”
The hearing aids distributed to Tracy and her schoolmates were procured through the Uganda Teacher and School Effectiveness Project (UTSEP) financed by a $100 million grant from the Global Partnership for Education and supervised by the World Bank.
With the help of UNICEF, the government successfully entered into a partnership with the Starkey Foundation to carry out a countrywide assessment of learners with hearing impairments and was able to supply hearing devices to 1,554 students from 296 primary schools in 79 districts across Uganda.
The Foundation also trained 24 facilitators to be able to identify and fit people with audible hearing loss to hear better, as well as teachers and parents. The facilitators also received testing equipment, including the hearing aid screening kit and hearing aid fitting kit. The kits include Diagnostic Audiometers, Tympanometry, and Autodynamics, with accessories to be placed in referral hospitals to cater to more patients.
Approximately 2.5 million children in Uganda live with some form of disability, according to a 2014 assessment by UNICEF. However, there is no data on the number of deaf children in Uganda or their literacy levels.
Uganda is one of the pioneers in Sub-Saharan Africa in terms of setting the goal to achieve universal access to basic education. After introducing the Universal Primary Education (UPE) project in 1997, primary school enrollment increased at a rapid pace, growing from 2.5 million learners in 1996 to 8.3 million in 2015. But while the expansion of primary education has been pro-poor and has greatly improved access to primary education for children of underserved families, children with disabilities are yet to fully benefit from the campaign. These include children with muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Down syndrome, autism, dyslexia, processing disorders, bi-polar, oppositional defiance disorder, blind, visually impaired and deaf, among others.
Children with special needs access education in three types of schools in Uganda: special schools, units attached to mainstream schools and all-inclusive schools that allow access to children with or without disabilities. There are currently 17 special schools, 84 attached units, and 27 all-inclusive schools at primary. Secondary level has five special schools, 10 mainstream units and 26 are all-inclusive schools.
Monica Kisambira, head of the Seeta Church of Uganda Primary School department of special needs, said she had difficulty communicating with the children with hearing impairments. Although her specialty was in visual impairment, she had to learn sign language to cater to the high numbers of deaf children at the school. Under-funding of the special needs departments in many schools means they do not have enough trained teachers or scholastic materials and teaching aids to be effective.
“Our children here are very brilliant but have some pressing needs,” said Kisambira. “The department only has four teachers and some parents who come to volunteer. I would urge the general public to go and learn sign language, because disability is not inability.”
While the UPE policy resulted in considerable gains in terms of access to primary education, this has not been matched by progress in learning outcomes. Only 6% of students in Uganda can read a paragraph at the end of the fourth grade (P4), which is well below other countries in the region. Numeracy skills are equally poor – only 2% of students in Uganda can solve a simple, age-appropriate mathematics problem by the end of P4. This is much below peers in Kenya and Tanzania, who achieve 10% and 9%, respectively.
The special needs and inclusive education policy in Uganda is currently undergoing review. Negris Onen, the Special Needs and Inclusive Education commissioner, noted there are several challenges when it comes to special needs and inclusive education.
““We are building capacities through trainings, procurement of assistive devices, though we should admit that the numbers are big,” Onen told the Daily Monitor in June.
“The Uganda Constitution stipulates that public financing for special needs and inclusive education should account for 10 percent of the education budget,” said Diana Sekaggya-Bagarukayo, World Bank Education Specialist in Uganda. “But it currently stands at 0.1%, an indication that more needs to be done to resource the teaching and learning of learners with disability.”
The World Bank’s latest Uganda Economic Update recommends increasing government spending on education to improve enrollment and the quality of learning in Ugandan schools, raising the human capital necessary to sustain productivity and economic growth.
The report, says the government needs to raise its expenditure on education from the current 10% to match the Sub-Saharan average of 16% to reap the full benefits of developing its human potential, which is essential for countries to increase productivity to grow their economies and improve the well-being of their citizens.
According to the World Bank’s Human Capital Index, a child born in Uganda today will be only 38% as productive when she grows up as she could be if she enjoyed complete education and full health. A child in Uganda completes seven years of education by age 18, compared to 8.1 for their regional counterparts. However, actual years of learning are only 4.5, with 2.5 years considered ‘wasted’ due to poor quality of education. Children with special needs like Tracy are more likely to waste their learning years if they do not receive the ‘special’ attention they deserve to have a fair chance to succeed.
Source: The World Bank
The government of Uganda considers education a basic human right. Participating in education is also viewed as part of the solution to reducing poverty. The government is dedicated to providing equitable access to quality and affordable education to all Ugandans.
The education sector in Uganda is constrained by many challenges. These include a high level of teacher and student absenteeism, weak school level management structures, inadequate availability of learning materials, and large class sizes. A major issue is also the availability of teachers in disadvantaged areas and a lack of accommodation for teachers in rural, hard to reach areas.
The Education Sector Strategic Plan 2010-2015 (ESSP) is aimed at addressing three critical concerns:
- The failure of primary schools to provide literacy, numeracy, and basic life skills to all children.
- Inadequate preparation in secondary schools for the workforce or tertiary education.
- Students from disadvantaged backgrounds did not have access to tertiary education.
The overall objective of the updated ESSP is to achieve universal primary and secondary education, while enhancing equitable access to tertiary education. The ESSP outlines 8 specific policy objectives to achieve this goal:
- Increase and improve equitable access and completion rates in primary and secondary education, while ensuring gender equity.
- Improve the quality and relevance of primary and secondary education.
- Enhance equitable access to business, technical, vocational, training, and tertiary education.
- Improve relevance and quality of business, technical, vocational, training and tertiary education.
- Improve effectiveness and efficiency in delivery of education services at all levels.
- Improve access and quality of education at post primary level.
- Enhance equitable access at higher/tertiary education.
- Enhance the capacity to plan, manage, and monitor the performance of education sector as a whole.
The ESSP also includes objectives focused on the crosscutting issues of HIV/AIDs, reproductive health, and gender. These are:
- Increase the participation, performance, and progress of women and girls in the education system.
- Reduce the vulnerability of all education personnel and learners to HIV and AIDS.
Strategies to achieve the objectives involve supporting programs targeting disadvantaged children and youth, expanding and improving school facilities, improving instructional processes leading to student achievement, and strengthening the teaching force.
P1-P3 learners in the UTSEP beneficiary schools easily blend sounds to produce words and sentences. They create poems and stories and take readings in churches.
Uganda Teacher and School Effectiveness Project (UTSEP) has become a prominent name in the education sector in recent times. This project has brought about noticeable changes in the quality of Primary Education in Uganda. The country is realizing a new class of capable and confident teachers who are able to teach young learners to read and write at an early age. The revised primary education curriculum has been reinforced through provision of instructional materials to pupils in public primary schools, improving the textbook to pupil ratio for English, Mathematics and local languages from 14:1 to 1:1.
Through this project, for the first time in a long while, educationist at the local government level including district inspectors, district education officials, Primary teacher trainers, head teachers and their deputies’ as well as primary school teachers have had their capacities enhanced to perform their roles better. They have also been given the appropriate platforms to articulate and channel their challenges for redress. Community nursery schools in 50 districts have better-trained caregivers. Over 50,000 Primary school going children now have clean, healthier and better learning environments to learn from. School inspection has been modernized and close to 3000 primary schools have better leadership and accountability systems.
In nutshell, close to 8 million school going primary school children will have a better education due to UTSEP’s interventions in the past four years in Uganda’s primary education sector!
WHY DID THE GOVERNMENT INITIATE UTSEP?
The Government of Uganda recognizes education as a basic human right. Through the Ministry of Education and Sports, the government is dedicated to providing equitable access to quality and affordable education and Sports to all Ugandans.
Primary Education is the core basis of the education system; it absorbs the greatest number of school age going children compared to other levels. This level, therefore, is the foundation of human capital development for the country. For this reason, the government has injected considerable effort and investment so as to realize tangible benefits at this level.
Five years ago, assessments conducted by the Ministry of Education and Sports and the World Bank at the primary education level revealed that although the government was making significant progress towards expanding primary education, thereby realizing some national as well as global goals on education, completion rates at the primary education level remained low. Many learners who remained in primary education were not achieving the minimum levels of literacy and numeracy. There were systemic, school level and teacher related challenges that were constraining performance in Primary Education.
At the teacher level, the challenges included; inadequate teacher competencies, low time on task and absenteeism, limited teacher supervision and insufficient teaching and learning materials among others. In 2011, an assessment on teachers by the Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB) showed that about half of the tested teachers did not meet the expected standard in oral vocabulary. Three quarters did not have the expected competency in numeracy. At the school level, there was a need to strengthen accountability channels, reinforce school governance and support systems, strengthen parental involvement in school management and improve school facilities so as to strengthen pupil learning outcomes.
To curb this situation, the Government of Uganda, through the Ministry of Education and Sports initiated the Uganda Teacher and School Effectiveness Project (UTSEP). UTSEP is a $100m (more than sh360b) project, funded by Global Partnership for Education (GPE) through World Bank, as the Grant Agent. The project was developed to support the Government in the implementation of the Education Sector Strategic Plan, by improving teacher and school effectiveness in the Public Primary education system in the country. The project centers on improving education service delivery at the classroom level, so as to realize meaningful gains in overall pupil performance in primary education.
Source: New Vision